February 1st 1915

Percy Campbell

2nd Lieut. Percy Campbell (Wiltshire Reg) 

Last term we were unwilling to mention, as there was still some hope that he might be a prisoner, the death of Percy Campbell in action; but from what has been gathered from eye-witnesses, there seems to be now no doubt that he was killed in the trenches in the neighbourhood of Armentieres in October. His loss is a great grief to us.

He was reported missing about the middle of November, soon after the virtual annihilation of his battalion on October 21-24 had become known through letters from the front. A slowly fading hope that he might be a prisoner in Germany was finally ended by the story of his death, told by a Pte Laws, who was in his platoon.

It appears that, after his battalion had been shelled out of their trenches, Percy Campbell was almost the only officer left unwounded and uncaptured. With a few of his men, he made his way to a place of safety in the rear and then went to report to Headquarters. There is some confusion in the accounts of what followed, but one thing seems clear, viz, that Percy himself, though urged not to, did actually return to seek some wounded of whom he had just heard. It was when on this errand that he was killed.  Pte Laws found Percy’s body – he had been struck in the chest by a shell – and assisted in his burial in the garden of a nearby house.

Though by all his instincts Percy was one who hated war, he had volunteered for the Special Reserve as soon as the war broke out. Gazetted to the Wiltshire Regiment, he went to the front at the beginning of October and was the second of my Old Boys to fall, near Ypres, on 24th October 1914, at the age of 20.

His parents have recently received this communication from the War Office: Campbell telegramTo JE Campbell, Hertford College, Oxford.    O.C Battalion now reports 2nd Lieut. WP Campbell Wiltshire Regiment as missing believed to have been killed 24th Oct   Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.                                            

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