British War Medal 1914-20 : Private A W Campbell, 15 Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL30869.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1920
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

British War Medal 1914-20. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Alec William Campbell was born in Launceston, Tasmania, in February 1899. Aged just 16, with reluctant parental approval (and lying about his age) he enlisted in the AIF in July 1915, claiming to be an 18 year old clerk, and despite his small size and obvious youth, sailed on the 'Kyarra' in August 1915 as No 2731 with the 8th Reinforcements to 15 Infantry Battalion. Landing at Gallipoli on 2 November, Campbell served as a water carrier for the remainder of the campaign at Anzac. While at Gallipoli, he suffered from a bout of influenza, and was also injured when accidentally struck in the face by a comrade's rifle. He, and the rest of the battalion, were evacuated from the peninsula as part of the general withdrawal on 13 December. On 1 January 1916, he was admitted to 2 Australian General Hospital in Egypt, and over the next six months suffered from jaundice, mumps and Bells Palsy, a form of facial paralysis caused by the facial injury he had suffered at Anzac. Although occasionally allowed to return to his unit, Campbell's health during this period was never good, and he was eventually repatriated to Australia medically unfit in June 1916, aboard the A.15 'Port Sydney', and discharged from the Army. After the war, Campbell worked in the construction of railway carriages and houses, before joining the Public Service, where he eventually became a research economist. The Bells Palsy which developed as a result of his Gallipoli injury eventually caused the loss of his right eye. When Roy Longmore died in June 2001, Alec Campbell was left as the only surviving Australian veteran of the Gallipoli campaign. He died on 16 May 2002 in Hobart.