William Charles Campbell

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William Charles Campbell
Born 27 April 1889
Bordeaux, France
Died 26 February 1958 (aged 68)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Air Service
Rank Captain
Unit No 1 Squadron RFC
Awards Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross with Bar

Captain William Charles Campbell, Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross with Bar (27 April 1889 – 26 February 1958[1]), was a World War I fighter pilot of Scots heritage who was credited with 23 victories. Serving with No. 1 Squadron during 1917, he was a notable balloon buster, being the first British ace to down five enemy observation balloons. He also claimed eleven aircraft destroyed, and seven (including two shared) 'driven down out of control'.[2]

Campbell joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. He was assigned to 1 Squadron as a Nieuport Scout pilot on 1 May 1917.[3] He scored his victories between 14 May and 28 July 1917.[2] On 31 July, Campbell became German ace Eduard Ritter von Dostler's 21st claim; Campbell was wounded in the thigh and his airplane was bullet-riddled and driven down, but he survived.[3]

Military honours[edit]

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) William Charles Campbell, M.C., R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on numerous occasions whilst on offensive patrols. He has displayed the greatest courage and skill in attacking enemy aircraft at close range, destroying some and driving others down out of control. He has proved himself to be a scout leader of the highest class, and has destroyed twelve hostile machines and two balloons, besides taking part in many other combats during the last three months. By his fearlessness and offensive spirit he has. set a splendid example to all ranks.[4]

Military Cross (MC)

2nd Lt. William Charles Campbell, M.C., R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He attacked an enemy balloon, bringing it down in flames, and returned to our lines at about twenty feet from the ground under heavy fire. On another occasion he attacked and dispersed a column of infantry from a very low altitude. He has shown great courage and initiative throughout.[5]

Military Cross (MC) Bar

2nd Lt. William Charles Campbell, M.C., R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has repeatedly shown great fearlessness and skill in attacking and destroying enemy aircraft, on one occasion destroying three within one hour. He has also attacked and dispersed enemy troops from a low altitude, at all times showing the utmost disregard of personal safety.[6]

References[edit]

Nieuport Aces of World War 1. Norman Franks. Osprey Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-85532-961-1, ISBN 978-1-85532-961-4.

Sources of information[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mortonandeden.com/pdfcats/21web.pdf p.43
  2. ^ a b http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/scotland/campbell3.php Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b Nieuport Aces of World War 1.. p. 16. 
  4. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 17 September 1917) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30287/supplements/9556 Retrieved on 21 March 2010.
  5. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 August 1917) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30234/supplements/8361 Retrieved on 21 March 2010.
  6. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 August 1917) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30234/supplements/8354 Retrieved on 21 March 2010.