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Gordon Campbell
Born (1886-01-06)January 6, 1886
Died July 3, 1953(1953-07-03) (aged 67)
Place of birth Croydon, Surrey
Place of death Isleworth, Middlesex
Buried at All Saints Churchyard, Crondall
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1900 - 1929
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held HMS Farnborough (Q.5)
HMS Dunraven
HMS Tiger
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Distinguished Service Order & Two Bars
Croix de Guerre (France)
Légion d'honneur
Relations Sir Edward Campbell, 1st Baronet (brother)
Brigadier Lorne MacLaine Campbell VC (nephew)
Other work Member of Parliament

Vice Admiral Gordon Campbell  VC DSO** (6 January 1886 – 3 July 1953) was an English naval officer, later a writer and politician, who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre and appointed a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.[1]

Early life and career

Born on 6 July 1886, he was educated at Dulwich College, which he attended between 1898 and 1900. He then joined the Royal Navy. In 1917, by the age of 31, he had reached the rank of Commander during First World War when the act for which he was awarded the VC took place. On 17 February 1917 in the north Atlantic, Commander Campbell, commanding HMS Farnborough (Q.5) (one of the "mystery" Q ships) sighted a torpedo track. He altered course and allowed the torpedo to hit Q.5 aft by the engine-room bulkhead. The 'Panic party' got away convincingly, followed by the U-boat. When the submarine had fully surfaced and was within 100 yards of Q.5—badly damaged and now lying very low in the water—the commander gave the order to fire. Almost all of the 45 shells fired hit the U-boat which sank. Q.5 was taken in tow just in time and was safely beached. On 22 March 1916, another U-boat, SM U-68 was sunk by Farnborough.

Campbell also commanded HMS Dunraven during the action of 8 August 1917 when she was sunk by SM UC-71.[2] Victoria Crosses were awarded to two crewmen who were selected by ballot from amongst the crew of Dunraven, Lieutenant Charles George Bonner and Petty Officer Ernest Herbert Pitcher. Campbell received his second bar to his DSO.[3]

Later life

Campbell later achieved the rank of Vice Admiral. He commanded the battlecruiser HMS Tiger 1925-27 and served as Naval Aide-de-Camp to George V 1928-29. In 1931, he was elected as National Member of Parliament for Burnley, defeating the Labour leader, Arthur Henderson. In 1935, however, standing as a National Liberal, he lost his seat.

Campbell wrote several publications, including the successful My Mystery Ships. His brother, Sir Edward Campbell, was also a Member of Parliament.

His Victoria Cross is held at his old school, Dulwich College.


  1. A. C. Hampshire, "Campbell, Gordon (1886–1953)", rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, October 2006 accessed 21 July 2008
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boats: UC-71". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  3. Gazette Issue 30363 published on the 30 October 1917 p11315


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Arthur Henderson
Member of Parliament for Burnley
Succeeded by
Wilfrid Burke

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