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

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#1
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
 

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Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#3

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#4
Just wanted to add, some what trivial though important to me obviously, ironically I was in Ypres Pl during basic
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#6
Yes, he did indeed make it back GF
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#8
Thats quite a 25 year track record there having perused it, Boer War and WW1! He deserved to live to be 98!
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.
 
#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?
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#12
Rhodie/4T

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.
 

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Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#14
Is it still on display? If so I will pop in and have look.
Fairmaid - As far as I know it still is, but if you could confirm that would be fantastic, thank you
 
#16
Popped into the Army Museum today but couldn't find the painting. A couple of the security chaps were intrigued by me wandering around with a print out of the painting and took an interest but the conclusion was that it is currently not on display. However I have been given the email address of a Lt Col responsible for the WWI collection so would you like me to contact him (I speak French) and ask where it is? Have you any other questions you would like raised? You can reply by PM if you prefer.
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#17
Just wanted to say a massive (public) thank you for this information and your help FMoP. I have just emailed him and will let you know how I get on. I owe you several glasses of Vino. :)

Popped into the Army Museum today but couldn't find the painting. A couple of the security chaps were intrigued by me wandering around with a print out of the painting and took an interest but the conclusion was that it is currently not on display. However I have been given the email address of a Lt Col responsible for the WWI collection so would you like me to contact him (I speak French) and ask where it is? Have you any other questions you would like raised? You can reply by PM if you prefer.
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#18
Still no word back from my Galic chooms, but FMoP on the case now, so update further when more news.

But, I learnt that his Youngest son was killed in WW2, William was in the Home Guard, Penicuik, I believe! His details are:

7927038 Tpr Robert A Campbell
7th queens own hussars

Died 21/11/41 at Sidi Rezegh, Libya (KIA)
Age 31


Memorials

Alamein Memorial Egypt column 18


Newlands War Memorial Scotland



World War II

The Second World War started and the 7th were called into battle against the Italians in North West Africa in June 1940. The first action was taking Fort Capuzzo[2] (which they had to capture twice in a month) and Maddalena.[3] In January 1941 the 7th were involved in the fighting around Bardia and Sidi Barrani. Then came the attack on Tobruk. At Beda Fomm came the final destruction of the Italians and the 7th fought for 36 hours helping to capture 20,000 prisoners and 112 tanks.
Rommel's Africa Korps then started to push the allies back into Egypt. On 21 November 1941 the 7th Hussars were ordered to a blocking position north of Sidi Rezegh, where they encountered German advance in the shape of fifty panzers, whose armament completely outclassed the Mark VI. For four days the regiment carried out its mission, holding off a German armoured division until by the 28th November, the 7th had only two surviving tanks, had lost their Commanding Officer (killed) among many other casualties, missing and prisoners.

200 Panzers v 51 Mark vi !!!
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#19
Just got these
 

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#20
Just wanted to say a massive (public) thank you for this information and your help FMoP. I have just emailed him and will let you know how I get on. I owe you several glasses of Vino. :)
Glad to help out, although I'm not getting very far .... however I now have a direct telephone number for the Lt Col but he is not answering, and there is no voice mail option. I shall keep trying ...

It would be helpful if you could give me details of the artist, I have found a website where you can search museum collections:

Réunion des Musées Nationaux
 
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