Victor Campbell (Royal Navy officer)

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Victor Campbell
Born20 August 1875
Died19 November 1956
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
OccupationAntarctic explorer
RelativesSon of Hugh Campbell
Website"Family tree".

Victor Lindsay Arbuthnot Campbell DSO & Bar, OBE (20 August 1875 – 19 November 1956) was a British sailor and Royal Navy officer, who was a renowned explorer.


Born in Brighton, he was the son of Hugh Campbell and Lucy Eleanor Archer.

Terra Nova expedition[edit]

In 1910, he was First Officer on Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova expedition. After arriving in Antarctica in January 1911, his role was to lead an Eastern party of 6 men to explore and carry out scientific work in King Edward VII Land, to the east of the Barrier. On 26 January 1911, Campbell's party left in the Terra Nova and headed east. After failing to find a suitable landing site on the King Edward VII Land shore, Campbell decided to sail to Victoria Land. On its return westward, Terra Nova encountered Roald Amundsen's expedition camped in the Bay of Whales, an inlet in the Barrier.

Marooned in Victoria Land[edit]

After returning to Cape Evans and informing Scott of Amundsen's location, Campbell's party were renamed the Northern party and set off again, sailing northwards and put ashore at Robertson's Bay, near Cape Adare. They built a hut and wintered at Cape Adare but due to the sea ice conditions were unable to fulfil much of their intended summer 1912 explorations. In January 1912, Terra Nova returned from New Zealand, and transferred the party of Campbell, Raymond Priestley, G.M. Levick, G.P. Abbott, H. Dickason, and F.V. Browning to Evans Coves, a location 250 miles (400 km) south of Cape Adare and 200 miles (320 km) northwest of Cape Evans. However, they only had sledging provisions for six weeks with the intention of completing the geological work in a couple of weeks. After the work was done they were left with rations for about four weeks. It was not anticipated the ship would have trouble picking them up as arranged in February but the Terra Nova could not reach them due to heavy pack ice. Unable to connect with their ship, the Northern Party was forced to winter in Antarctica again. The party built an ice cave on Inexpressible Island where they spent the winter in miserable conditions, supplementing their rations by killing scarce seal and penguins. On 30 September 1912, they set off for Cape Evans, finally arriving on 7 November after crossing more than 200 miles (320 km) of sea ice. After learning of the death of Scott and the entire Polar party, as the senior remaining Naval officer, Campbell assumed command of the Terra Nova expedition for its final weeks.

Later years and honours[edit]

During the First World War, Campbell fought as Commander of the Drake Battalion in Gallipoli and in the Dardanelles, where he received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), in the Battle of Jutland and took part in the Zeebrugge raid on board of HMS Warwick in 1918. Campbell served in the Dover Patrol and sank a U-boat by ramming it, for which he was awarded the bar to his DSO. In his further service with the Royal Navy, he reached the rank of Captain. During the winter of 1918-19 Campbell was posted to Murmansk in North Russia during the Archangel Campaign, having been recommended by fellow Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton to help instruct British forces in the use of arctic equipment.[1] For this work he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).[2]

Campbell emigrated to Newfoundland in 1922 and died in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in 1956.



  1. ^ Damien Wright. Shackleton's men in the Arctic: polar explorers and Arctic warfare in North Russia 1918-19. Orders & Medals Research Society Journal, September 2017, pp 188-98.
  2. ^ "London Gazette, 24 May 1919". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  • "Erskine Press". Retrieved 16 January 2007.
  • Priestley, Raymond (1957). "Obituary: Captain V. L. A. Campbell, D. S. O., R. N. 1875-1956". The Geographical Journal. 123 (1): 131–132. JSTOR 1790773.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hooper, Meredith (2010). The Longest Winter: Scott's Other Heroes. London: John Murray. ISBN 9780719595806

External links[edit]