3 June 2009

William Balfour Campbell - 8th Punjab Regiment

Medals held:
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and MiD, General Service Medal 1918 (clasps Kurdistan and Iraq), India General Service Medal (clasp Waziristan 1921-24).

This from the medal dealer's write-up at the time of purchase in March 2008:

A fine Officer casualty 'MID' group of 5: Major W.B. Campbell, 2nd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment late 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders

- 1914-15 Star (Lieut W.B. Campbell, Gord Highrs)
- British War Medal 1914-18 (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- Allied Victory Medal. With oakleaf emblem for a Mention-in-Despatches (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- GSM 1918. GV first type with 2 clasps 'Kurdistan' & 'Iraq' (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- IGS 1908. GV type I & clasp 'Waziristan 1921-24' (Capt W.B. Campbell, 2-8 Punjab R)

Note: The group professionally court mounted by Spink

William Balfour Campbell, was born 20 July 1894, at 120 High Street, Leslie, Fife, Scotland. His father was described as being a 'Railway Engine Driver'. His family later moved to St.Andrews, where the family resided at 158, South Street. Notwithstanding the prevailing social discrimination that worked against giving men from 'working class' backgrounds a commission, the onset of the Great War quickly challenged old attitudes to class and William Campbell was commissioned into the British Army on 4/12/1914, and appointed to serve with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He first entered France and Flanders on 4/10/1915. He remained in France until 2/4/1916, on which date he was wounded in action by 'GSW' near St.Eloi, while serving as the battalion 'Bombing Officer' in charge of the 'Grenade Section' - a singularly hazardous appointment in any B.E.F. battalion. Indeed his section had been in action in the early hours of 2/4/1916 in a series of counter-attacks to regain a prominent position on the salient. 1/Gordon's battalion war diary for the period refers;

" Three attempts were made in early morning to get back point 64 which the enemy was still holding. Canadian and Royal Scots bombing parties took part but attempts failed owing to the enemy occupation of a shallow trench in rear from which he could bomb 64 thereby preventing our occupation. There was some heavy shelling during the day. 2nd Lt. W.B. Campbell was wounded."

William Campbell served just over 6 months in France and Flanders, before being invalided back to Scotland suffering from the wounds he had received in action. While in Scotland recovering, he applied for a transfer to the Indian Army. On 31st July 1917, his application was accepted. He embarked on a troopship for India on 11 October 1917 as a probationer for the Indian Army. He subsequently served in Mesopotamia from 15/5/1918 through to 1920. He was Mentioned-in-Despatches (MID) for his distinguished services in Iraq, the MID notification being published in the London Gazette of 9/9/1921. He appears to have retired from the Indian Army, with the rank of Major by 1930

With various copied research papers, including his Officers papers for the 'British Service' and the application/referrals for a commission in the 'Indian Army'

Condition: GVF

The above text supplied by Aberdeen Medals.


  1. Hi there Paul
    My name is Sandra Balfour BRASELL from New Zealand. William Balfour CAMPBELL was my grandfather's first cousin. William Balfour CAMPBELL died, aged 54 years, at Grey Lodge in Carnoustie on 10 May 1950. William's mother was Julia BALFOUR who married John CAMPBELL. Julia BALFOUR was my great grandmother Ann BALFOUR's older sister. Do you by any chance know anything more about William Balfour CAMPBELL?

  2. Hello Sandra, I have his service record and the medals which I bought from a dealer in March 2008. I'll post the dealer's write up on this post.


  3. Thanks very much for that Paul. It's fantastic to know a bit more about him. Much appreciated. I'd like to post about it on my blog https://jeandavidisabellaandjohn.wordpress.com/ if that's okay with you. I would link to your blog. I'm pleased his medals have ended up with someone who obviously appreciates them.

  4. Please do, Sandra. I look forward to reading the post.

    Best wishes



Thank you for commenting. I'll respond as soon as I'm able to do so.