Hilton McLean CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL, Hilton McLean

Service Number: 1163
Enlisted: 24 April 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Bussleton, WA, 24 August 1893
Home Town: Dumbleyung, Dumbleyung Shire, Western Australia
Schooling: Wedgecarrup School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: At home, Mokup Springs, Moodiarrup, WA, 11 September 1947, aged 54 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Darkan Cemetery
Protestant 92
Memorials: Wedgecarrup School Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

24 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1163, 10th Light Horse Regiment
2 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1163, 10th Light Horse Regiment
2 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1163, 10th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Anchises, Fremantle

Australians take Damascus by William Campbell

Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885-1954), Thursday 15 September 1932, page 47
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37763178
A DIGGER'S DIARY
.. ., ._(Continued from Inside Prout Cover.)
THE LAST CRUSADE,
AUSTRALIANS TAKE DAMASCUS
A Vivid Description.
From the Diary of "Emma Gee,"
Duranillan.
Tlie road from the Sea oí Gallilee to
Damascus safely cleared of the enemy and
the bridge over the Jordan River sufficiently
repaired (the enemy had blown
it iu halves to assist their retreat) to
allow our horse artillery to cross, we made
for Damascus with all haste. Our army
consisted of two divisions of Light Horse,
or cavalry, as they are now termed, and
included an Indian brigade, with artillery
and machine guns complete. As we came
up over the great plain approaching Damascus
we looked and felt invincible.
Spread out in a great half-moon formation,
the eix long columns of fast-moving horsemen
looked capable of anything. In the
centre ofHhe plain was a good metal
road along which the artillery moved for
each brigade. Holding the approach to
Damascus some nine miles in front of the
city were about twenty thousand Germans
and Turks in three ancient forts or blockhouses,
situated some distance apart and
connected up with trenches and redoubts.
The ground behind the enemy's position
was covered here and there with patches
of olive trees and away to the left and
in the rear of the left blockhouse was a
date palm plantation. Some four thousand
yards in front of the central blockhouse
a small knoll afforded us some protection,
and' behind this our artillery took up
their position and immediately opened up,
with salvo after salvo on the blockhouses
and main redoubts. From our position,
looking down on Damascus, the sight was
refreshing, a brilliant jewel in a bad setting,
surrounded on all sides by great
barren, hills, brown in colouring, with
with
here and there streaks of white chalk show:
ing clear. The city's spires, domes end
minarets could be seen showing
'
out
amongst .the dark green of the oljye planta
tiona and date palm gloves. From oui
view the plains of Damascus seemed tc
form a huge saucer.
Immediately the artillery opened up, the
5th Brigade shot out to the. left at i
fair trot, traversing the outer rim of thal
giant saucer, as it were, while the Indiai
Lancers took the right wing, leaving th«
3rd Brigade the centre position with thi
4th standing by with the artillery. Prc
sently the 3rd changed their direction hal
left and followed in thc Crain of the 5th
The horns of our crescent formation were
now well rushed forward. The guns were
«still pounding away at the redoubts and
blockhouses. 3d any direct hits were registered
with H.E., and the sbapnel buibte
were thick along the trenches. In places
the Turks could be seen leaving them and
making down to the big palm-hod on the
left of the defences. Suddenly from round
the back of the knoll, the 4th Brigade
galloped out. and charged with drawn
swords straight at the blockhouse in throe
lines, one taking the blockhouse, the remaining
two lines galloping straight ou
¡to the plantation and through it to the
outskirts of the suburbs of Damascus. The
enemy everywhere surrendered a6 soon ats
they were at close quarters. By this time
the whole of the defending army was in
full retreat, but still maintained a stubborn
j
rearguard action, which probably would
have broken down- under a fresh cavalry j
charge. However, the city itself was now
being neared, and orders had previously
been issued to the effect that no otiicer
'
or man was to enter Damascus.
The task set for the 5th Brigade was to
cut the Bierut-Damascus line, while the
3rd was to capture and hold the great,
metal road from Damascus to Alleppo on
the opposite side of the city, some 20
miles distant hy the only route open to
mounted men This route lay at the foothills.,'
describing a. semi-circle on the nort)
side of the city. Half the distance covered
we had to traverse some, very difficult
ground, high rocky hills with mere goat
tracks leading over them and down into
deep wadys. In many places the men had
to dismount and lead their horses. This
made travelling very slow, and finally »ve
came upon the 5th Brigade, already in
action, dismounted. The enemy was holding
the Bierut railway and their army was
passing through the village of Burmah
with all haste. The 9th regiment and two
troops of the 3rd Machine Gun Squadron
were sent to the assistance of 'he 5th
Brigade. The remainder of the 3rd Brigade
for the moment was held in reserve.
On our. left were the great rocky ridges
overlooking the village of Burmah. These
hills were considered impassable for c »valry
.by the-Turks: however Lieutenant Foulkés
Taylor (Charlie), attached to the staff for
the day and .almost 'a spare part, decided
to have a look over them. The sight that
greeted him made him lose some of his
staff dignity. He came back, not breathless,
but positively bawling, "Are there any
machiue gunners about-" There were!
The Turks were soon to learn that
trained horses can go almost anywhere a
man can. Over the top, and there, 1.1)00
yards below, was the road to Bierut running
directly away from us for a distan-c
of about three hundred yards, when it
was then lost to view amongst thc trees of
the village. The road was boumied on
one side by a strenni of water, and un the
other by a high wall. The road itself
was full of the retreating enemy, carah ;\
artillery, transport and infantry.
Thc moment our guns opened fire, chaos
reigned" supreme on that road. So great
were the shock and confusion that there
was practically no reply. Easing up now
and then to let the dust clear from the
road, heart-rending sights could be clearly
seen through our glasses, wounded .mell
trying to crawl from the road, and horses
thrashing about in dying agony. It was
certain death to enter that 300-yard strip
of road; yet the Turks would not_ höhst
the white flag, and within a few minutes
bf the guns ceasing fire, a fresh batch
would dash round the corner and try to
get through, always with the same result.
Sometimes a motor van would travel perhaps
a hundred yards, then zig-zag, crash
haps a hundred yards, then zig-zag, crash
into the wall or turn over into the stream.
Twenty-four thousand rounds went through
the two Vickers pms before nightfall, by
which time the remainder of the brigade
was in possession of the road, getting up
under cover of our fire with practically
no casualties.
As night drew on, a considerable bombardment
appeared to be taking place
back in Damascus itself. Becoming curious,
half-a-dozen of us decided to climb the
hills and see what was going on. To call
the sight that greeted us "magnificent"
would be but a poor term; it was au
artist's «lory. Had an artist placed such
a scene on canvas in pre-war days, critics
would have questioned his sanity. The
enemy, when they found their defence
hopeless, had fired their ammunition
dumps and petrol and supplies. A column
of fire, a chain in diameter, burst into the
air almost to the clouds themselves, and
appeared to hang there suspended, lighting
up the,country for miles around. This
was accompanied by eár-rending expío
sion s. Great drums -of petrol were hurled
into the air, where they would explode,
throwing splashes of fire in all directions.
Many-coloured lights reflected from the
fresh water canals running through the
city added to the beauty of this colossal
fountain of fire. So large were the dumps
that these explosions continued well on
into the night, sounding like some terrific
artillery bombardment.
With the break of day the 10th Light
Horse proceeded to clear the road through
Burmah. It would be as well, perhaps, not
to dwell on the details of such a sordid
scene; suffice it to say that it took a
regiment of men two hours to clear sufficient
room in the centre of the road for
the brigade to pass through. Both sides
of the street were lined with vehicles of
all descriptions, artillery and machine
guns, the dead horses of the cavalry, and
I dead and dying men. Inside the houses
and courtyards big batches of Germans and
Turks could be seen standing about waiting
to be marched off to the main body
of prisoners.
From this we passed to the street runwe
running
direct to Damascus. This was fairly
clear of traffic, a long white avenue with
ornamental trees on either side. Along
this we travelled at a fast trot for a dis-'
tance of. about two miles, when we came
to the city proper. Here a novel reception
awaited us. The street was lined
on either side with crowds of civilians;
and what crowds-cosmopolitan to the
core, costumes of all kinds and colours
met the eye. Typical Egyptians of the
upper class in European dress with the
exception of the little red fez in place of
a hat, Greeks, Italians, Jews, and gaudily
dressed Arabs, all clapping their hands
i
and cheering in their own particular!
fashion. Little knots of French and Armenian
girls, with smiling faces and hands,
clasped, calling "Vive La English" at the
top of their voices. Every doorway and
window framed faces-closeJy-veiled Turkish
women would peer at us through their
yashmaks, nothing but their great dark
luminous eyes being visible. Here and
there girls, bolder than the rest, would
come close to the side of the column, and
hand up Turkish cigarettes, grapes, etc.,
always with a smile, and say, "English
ver' good."
The city itself .was perhaps one of the
most eastern cities of the East, for the
most part like the "Mousky" of Cairo, enlarged.
Here and there were blocks of
buildings of the more modern type, flats
with little balconies projecting from them,
all occupied by girls and women calling
down greetings in every language under
the sun. The blue uniforms of the Turkish
civilian police were well in" evidence, carrying
on with their duties controlling the
traffic and keeping the crowd back from
under the feet, of the horses. As we
moved along little children would run
alongside, keeping pace with us, all anxious
to air their scanty knowledge of our
language, crying out, "'Me spic Engleesh,
gooday," "How are you?" and so on.
Bauds, of dark-fikinned women, their nationality
anything from an Armenian Jew
to an Israelite, formed little glee parties
and sang some kind of greeting which
sounded to us like a Christmas carol horribly
out of tune..
To us the whole affair was better than
us was
a pantomime, and along the column every
face bore a broad smile. At first we were
inclined to believe the greetings were
£als,e, but before we had passed through
the city even the most sceptical Aussie
was convinced they were genuine-and
why should they not be pleased? For
them the war was over. Under British
rule these cosmopolitan crowds r would
settle down to business immediately the
front line was pushed on a few miles, and
proceed to reap a harvest from the sol
diere, forgetting there was such a thing
as a world war.
Once more in the outskirts we came to
the main route to Aleppo. 'flue is a good
metal road leading through big olive plantations,
and vineyards loaded with grapes.
Along this we travelled at .1 good swinging
trot, the city soon left far behind, for
our entry was au unofficial affair which
happened in the course of duty. About
10 o'clock in the morning we came in
touch with the enemy, and kept him busy
until nightfall, by which time the rest «£
our division had circled mound and cut
eff his retreat, when a.11 hands surrendered.
Practically the whole of the Turkish
army in Asia was then .in our hands.
Aleppo was our next step, and there could
be but little, if
any resistance.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Mr. H. Maclean-Campbell
The sudden and unexpected death of Mr. Hilton Maclean—Campbell, which occurred at his home, Mokup Springs, Moodiarrup, on September 11th, came as a great shock to his many friends.
The late Mr. Campbell, who was 53 years of age, was a member of the 1914-1918 A.I.F., serving with the 10th Light Horse and later, a gun squadron.
He leaves a widow and four daughters to mourn his passing.
The funeral took place at Darkan on September 14th, a Union Jack and a Digger's Hat covering the coffin on its arrival at the cemetery. The inspect in which the deceased gentleman was held was amply evidenced by the large crowd which had gathered at the graveside to pay its last respects.

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