Painting from Ypres of W. Campbell HLI hanging in the Army Museum, Paris

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Rod924, Apr 15, 2013.

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  1. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Fellow Arrsers, it has been 8 years of researching this painting and finally proof arrived this weekend confirming that this is indeed my Great Grandfather.

    This started 8 years ago, with my Father (Retired Capt RMP (Reg), RA (NRPS PSAO)), spoke to me about a painting that was done of his Grandfather who was with the HLI; though nothing more was known other than a 'painting'. I approached the HLI Regimental Association who were a great help, albeit at a difficult time (Iraq/Afghan). Whilst they had no official records of such a painting, they kindly put me in touch with a very kind and helpful Scot, who wrote to me about a painting a had seen whilst in the Army Museum, Paris; A painting of WOII W. Campbell, 2 Bn HLI. Sadly, as sods law has it, I cleared out some clutter last year, so no longer have this gentleman's name! If you are reading this fella, I owe you several beers; thank you.

    I approached the Curate at the Museum regarding this painting and was informed about the details on the front and back of the painting as well as the artist. But I had a problem to prove it was indeed my Great Grandfather due to the lack of service records. Further more, we knew that he was a Sgt, so that kind of ruled him out; although, we did know that it was not that unusual to be promoted in the field, but no proof. His Army number did not match, but that was not and issue as this was simply the 'pay' number of the unit he was with.

    So, left with only the startling resemblance from a photo (attached) to the that of the painting, this was shelved. Unknown to me, my brother continued the research this year and this weekend received his service details; complete!

    William Campbell. aged 18 year, 3 months, enlisted in Edinburgh 28/6/1894 - No 5351, HLI

    Home 28/6/1894 - 8/2/1895
    Malta 9/2/1895 - 14/2/1898
    India 15/2/1898 - 14/2/1899
    Ceylon 15/2/1899 - 17/2/1900
    Home 18/2/1900 - 30/8/1900
    S. Africa 31/8/1900 - 24/9/1902
    Home 25/9/1902 - 27/6/1910 - Transfer to the reserve

    Re-enlist in Edinburgh 1/9/1914 aged 38 - No 8829, Pte, 4 Bn HLI

    4 Bn Posted - Pte 7/9/1914
    4 Bn Promoted Acting Sgt 26/9/1914
    4 bn Posted 2/12/1914 (France 2/12/1914 to 3/12/1919)
    4 bn Promoted Sgt 14/5/1915
    2 Bn Promoted Local WOII 13/11/1915 (This was the proof required)
    2 Bn Appointed Paid Acting Rank WOII 24/7/1917
    2 Bn Revert to the Rank of Sgt 3/1/1919

    To say I am proud as punch to finally prove that this is my Great Grandfather, simply does not do. My next step will be to contact the Curator of the Army Museum to discuss a visit, to which, I hope my Father will be fit enough to travel with me.

    If Peter is reading this (Ex AAC), this is your Grandfather

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 10
  2. Thats really good you must be chuffed.... Good luck with the visit.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Thanks GF - Chuffed is not word :)
  4. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Just wanted to add, some what trivial though important to me obviously, ironically I was in Ypres Pl during basic
  5. These weirdnesses occur. You didn't say did GGF make it back?
  6. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Yes, he did indeed make it back GF
  7. Thats quite a 25 year track record there having perused it, Boer War and WW1! He deserved to live to be 98!
  8. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    He died just before his 71st birthday, 4/11/1945 - Quite a bloody good innings given what he went through as well as the average age of life expectancy then.
  9. I just twigged he was a bit of a malingerer, he could of clocked a couple of years in WW2 as well! Good on him......
  10. Great piece of history.
    Congratulations and well done for pursuing this.
    BTW who was the artist?
    If it's William Orpen I may be able to do some further research.
  11. Fine looking bloke & great painting. Archetypal British soldier (albeit most lads of the era were stumpy runts by comparison).

    How big is the painting, and what is the quality like?
  12. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer


    I believe that the artist was a French chap, will update when known. I have not seen the painting in the flesh, so I do not know of its size, though I do know it is not massive, but the quality looks good (attached with frame). I also note that he is wearing a sheep/goat skin (?) tunic, though some websites say these were banned in 1915 due to disease.

    Attached Files:

  13. Is it still on display? If so I will pop in and have look.
  14. Rod924

    Rod924 LE Reviewer

    Fairmaid - As far as I know it still is, but if you could confirm that would be fantastic, thank you
  15. Will do.