Alexander George (Alec) CAMPBELL DSO, MID

CAMPBELL, Alexander George

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 22 February 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bourke, Victoria, 4 February 1889
Home Town: Brighton, Bayside, Victoria
Schooling: Haileybury College, Brighton
Occupation: Surveyor/Mining Engineer
Died: Aircraft crash, Melton, Victoria, 5 July 1936, aged 47 years
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Cremated and buried at Springvale Botanical Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

22 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Melbourne, Victoria
1 Jun 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant
29 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion, RMS Osterley, Melbourne
29 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 24th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
7 Apr 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
24 Jul 1916: Wounded Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , Shell wounds (lower limbs)
27 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion
22 Apr 1917: Wounded Lieutenant, 8th Infantry Battalion, 2nd occasion - GSW (abdomen)
6 Oct 1917: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion
11 Aug 1918: Wounded Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days", 3rd occasion
18 Aug 1918: Honoured Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Recommendation for DSO 18 Aug 1918 "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack North of ROSIERES on 9 August 1918. Capt. Campbell was in charge of the left line company in that attack and throughout the operation displayed great gallantry and leadership. His Company were up against a very hard proposition, having to advance against a very strong German position in CREPY WOOD and meeting fierce opposition the whole way. Captain Campbell handled the situation magnificently and set a splendid example to his men, always being in the hardest pressed part of the line, directing and encouraging his men. He spared himself in no way and earned the undying admiration and confidence of his company. When the advance was held up through the battalion on the left flank not being able to advance, Capt. Campbell himself led a platoon forward, swung around and outflanked the enemy holding up his flank battalion. He engaged them hotly, cleaning out several pockets of Huns with the bayonet and forcing them to retire in disorder. His initiative and courage enabled the other battalion to advance with ease. He then pressed forward with his company and carried his objective. He directed the consolidation personally and then led a sally forward to oust some hostile machine guns that were hampering movement in our lines. He mopped them up and then established his position in a sound tactical line. During the attack on LIHONS on the 11 August 1918 this gallant officer again led the left line company and showed the greatest tactical skill and courage in the advance. When leading his men against a strong enemy machine gun position he was shot in the thigh and though badly wounded continued to lead his men until he collapsed. His bravery and dash throughout the operations caused him to be idolised by his men, on whom his example had a wonderful effect. Throughout the operations he sent full and concise reports of the situation to the rear. - Reference: AWM 28, Honours and Awards to the AIF, 1st Division 5-12/8/1918 Collection 1.
21 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 8th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

As Captain Campbell had a distinct Scottish acent which impacted his pronounciation of "R's" and "W's" and was affectionately known as "wear wanks" by his comrades.  

See Cobbers in Khaki by Ron Austin for full story.


Although Mr Campbell had flown many miles on mining business, including flights in Fiji and New Guinea.  Mrs Campbell did not like his flying but tried to disuade him.

He had long been interested in gold mining, and was the director of a number of companies including North Broken Hill Ltd, and the Emperor and Karoere Gold Mining Company of Fiji.  Mr Campbell gained his first mining education at the Ballarat School of Mines, after having attended Haileybury College, Brighton.  After experience at Broken Hill and Mt Morgan, he acted as surveyor and mining engineer  to the Burma Corporation in Burma.  Since 1923, he had been consulting mining engineer and a director of mining companies.

Mr Campbell enlisted with the AIF in 1915, and, in a most distinguished career, rose to the rank of captain.  He was serverely wounded three times, was mentioned in despatches and gained the Distinguished Service Order.  After the war he commanded the 50th Battalion, AMF, served with the 5th Battalion, AMF (the Victorian Scottish Regiment), and was lieutenant-colonel comanding the 39th Battalion (Hawthorn Kew Regiment).  He retired from Military life in 1928.

Mr Campbell was married, and is survived by his widow (Amy Adeline Campbell nee Jacques) and three sons and two daughters, the eldest of whom is about seven years and the youngest is still a baby." - from Sydney Morning Herald, 06 Jul 1936 (