Friday, May 25, 2018

Editor's Research: Lloyd Campbell, London Ont. (2)

A Dead End or Gold Mine?


Lloyd Campbell from London made a deep impression on my father while they sailed together from Scotland to S. England in July 1942 - to the disembarking site for the first running of the Dieppe raid.

Both on board Ennerdale, a converted oil tanker, and approaching the Isle of Wight, they were attacked by German bombers. English gunners were knocked off their gun mounts, says my father - "The gun crew on the foc’sle of the ship was knocked clear off the gun by the concussion" - and seeing the need for gunners, Lloyd said, "Let me at him" and filled the void.

Tragically, during the second running of the Dieppe raid (Operation Jubilee, August 19, 1942), Campbell stayed behind the wheel of his landing craft while nearing the coast of France under heavy German defensive fire. As a result, Lloyd - who had turned 21 years of age just 18 days earlier - suffered very serious leg wounds, and was taken prisoner of war, along with his commander and injured stoker. Another of his mates, Richard Cavanaugh of Ottawa (RCNVR, Combined Operations), was killed on board.

As one doing research related to the Canadians who served in RCNVR and Combined Operations, I felt that the above news clip was an important discovery or 'good find.' We are informed about the exact date of Lloyd's death, related to his injuries. We also learn where he had been detained in Germany and that he had family back home in London. And both of those pieces of information may (or may not) open the door to collect more information about Mr. Campbell.

Shortly after learning the name and home city of Lloyd's sister I checked the London phonebook to see how many Rollands were listed. Answer: None. So, using the phone as a way to collect details feels like a very cold dead end. (However, Rollands does sound like Rollins and there are five listings for Rollins in the city. Slim possibilities may exist).

Because Madeline (Campbell) Rollands is a married name, she is/was likely older than Lloyd, which means she could be 100 years-of-age or older, with records (marriage certificate, death certificate, etc.) hard-to-find. BUT... not 100 per cent impossible to find.

And a few days ago, using a well-practiced technique, I found a gold mine. A remarkable one, in my opinion.

Lloyd G. Campbell's Attestation Form:

The RCNVR form is stamped with a date, July 1, 1940. We learn that Lloyd (#17138, age 18) was single, born Aug. 1, 1921 in Hilton B., Ontario. This refers to Hilton Beach, a hamlet on St. Joseph Island (Algoma district), south east of Sault Saint Marie. His mother's name is Mary Campbell, his sister's name is Madeline Rollands, with address listed as 992 Oxford Street, London. Lloyd stands 5ft. 7.25in. tall, has a fresh complexion and a scar on his L knee.

Lloyd enrolled to train as an Ordinary Seaman on July 8, 1940. At the time he may still have been employed as a knitter at Holeproof Hosiery in London.

Lloyd is enrolled in the London Division of the RCNVR. (At HMCS Prevost, perhaps). He agreed to serve for three consecutive years "and/or (for the) duration of hostilities" (others, like my father, signed up for "hostilities only" and were listed and known as HOs). The form is dated "ith day of July" which appears again as 8th of July and is approved by Commanding Officer John R. Hunter, I believe.

Lloyd Campbell's Certificate of Medical Examination

Lloyd was examined by Medical Officer William S. Johnston. He weighed 130 pounds, general development was 'good' and maximum chest girth was 34 inches. He did not have 20/20 vision but colour vision was O.K. We read that Lloyd was never vaccinated for small pox but he was listed as O.K. under several headings, from 'Lungs, Heart' and 'Abdomen, Hernia' to 'Testes... Teeth (0 Missing)... and Hemorrhoids'. "No dental or X ray necessary."

Lloyd was not rejected.


Lloyd's Certificate of Progress reveals his grades for Shooting, Swimming and Physical and Recreational Training. Though Lloyd bravely jumped at the opportunity to fire at German planes that were bombing the Ennerdale while on route to S. England in '42, his initial scores for Shooting were Poor.

The word 'Eyebright' is written at the top of the Certificate (dated December 6, 1940; signed off with an R. L. perhaps) and appears later on Lloyd's Active Service sheet (a few pages down). HMCS Eyebright likely signifies a RCN corvette class ship used in the Atlantic on escort duties for troop and supply convoys. More details would be helpful - did he sign up for escort duty or was he placed without much discussion?

Certificate of Progress

The sheet below reveals Lloyd's scores related to Gunnery and Seamanship courses he attended while at HMCS Stadacona (Navy base) in Halifax. It appears he failed the Gunnery course because of a score of 30 in the Explosives section, and failed Seamanship because we read "In hospital during course" though the words are crossed out. The signature and rank of the Divisional Officer might be F.R. Base, Lt., V.R. (Volunteer Reserve).

This next sheet from Lloyd's Navy records reveals information already presented but with a very significant twist! It comes to us by way of Halifax and lists Lloyd's Official Number as V 17138. Date and place of birth, etc. have already been noted but the spelling of his sister's name has been corrected, from Rollands to Rollins. As mentioned earlier, there are no Rollands in London's most recent phonebook but there are five Rollins listed, so, some connection might still be possible with Lloyd's surviving relatives.

We also see the date of May 28/40 typed under Date of Actual Volunteering, followed by July 8/40 as Date of Enrolment for Ord. Smn. (Ordinary Seaman, for balance of hostilities). Once Lloyd volunteered he likely completed some basic training, aka 'probationary strength'.

Lloyd Campbell's Service Certificate

Mr. Campbell's Active Service sheet provides very important details:

While he volunteered (May 28/40) and enrolled (July 8/40) to become, initially, an Ordinary Seaman in London, Lloyd soon found himself continuing training at Stadacona in Halifax, as of August 22, 1940. Three months later he was signed out of Stadacona and into Eyebright Dec. 1, 1940.

Lloyd is connected to Eyebright until Jan. 22, 1942. What were his duties, responsibilities? Where did Eyebright take him, if indeed he was on board a RCN corvette at that time?

Information re HMCS Eyebright, RCN corvette, can be found in several places, and Wikipedia serves as a very good start:

"HMCS Eyebright was a Flower-class corvette that served mainly with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War in the Battle of the Atlantic."

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Campbell, on loan to England's Royal Navy, would have been assigned to escort duty, e.g., accompanying convoy HX 104 (January 1941), in the company of "the RN escort group EG-4 based in Iceland in May 1941."

Lloyd's records indicate his rank of ordinary Seaman changed to A.B. (Able-Bodied Seaman), as of May 22, 1941, the same month the HMS Eyebright was loaned to Canada along with nine other RN corvettes. Officer in charge appears to be H. R. Davis.

(Please link to For Posterity's Sake to learn more about the ship, and view a list of its Canadian Commanding officers, including Lt. Herbert Coates Reynard Davis, RCNR, June 25, 1941 - Feb. 11, 1943).

More from Wikipedia:

"Upon arrival (in Canada, Eyebright) was assigned to Newfoundland Command as an ocean escort. There she was placed in the escort group 18N and then beginning in October 1941, group N16. In December 1941 she left for a two-month refit returning in January to serve briefly with escort groups N14 and N13." 

While HMCS Eyebright underwent a refit, Lloyd was reassigned to HMCS Stadacona, Halifax (his records were signed in and out on Jan 23 and 24, 1942) and he was assigned to (without discussion?), or he volunteered for, Combined Operations. And he very likely left Canada on the Volendam for the United Kingdom on the same day as about 100 other young Canadians (including my father), to eventually train on landing crafts at HMS Quebec, the Combined Operations #1 Training Centre near Inveraray Scotland. My father's Active Service sheet reveals his records were signed out of HMCS Stadacona and into HMS Quebec one day later than Lloyd's.

More information concerning the entries above:

Fourth line from the bottom indicates he was connected to landing craft training sites under the authority of HMS Quebec from 25. Jan. '42 to 3 Aug. '42.

The next line indicates a change of rating, from A.B. (Able-Bodies Seaman) to Active Tempy (Temporary) Ldg. Sea (Leading Seaman) (DCO), from 4 Aug. '42 to 19 Aug. '42.

The initials DCO remain a mystery at this time. August 19, 1942 is the day of the Dieppe raid, and on that date Lloyd was severely wounded and taken as a prisoner of war by German forces.

The next line, beginning with Bytown, shows the dates of 20 Aug. '42 to 21 Oct. '42. The first date indicates his first day as prisoner of war, the second is the date of his death. Because Lloyd, as POW, is not in 'active service', Bytown may indicate the administrative centre responsible for tracking his location and status. The centre may be a Canadian one, near Ottawa, but I am only guessing at this point.

Discharged Dead, 21 October 1942 is not the last line of information I have about Lloyd George Campbell of London Ontario.

The next sheet I was able to find is entitled VERIFICATION FORM and relates to Lloyd's length of service, location of service and what medals he is therefore entitled to receive. The screen captures below are admittedly of poor quality but provide valuable information and raise an important question:

 Lloyd is Leading Seaman, member of Combined Operations.

 Lloyd served 418 days in the Atlantic Theatre and 270 with Comb. Ops 

 Lloyd qualified to receive two stars, as above.

Lloyd also qualified for 2 clasps and a medal.
Verification is provided by C.M. Wright

When I saw the signed Verification Form I thought of my father's five stars and medals and how fortunate I am to have seen them, to have seen my father wear them at Remembrance Day ceremonies, and to still have them in my possession.

Doug Harrison (right), RCNVR, Combined Ops in Norwich Ontario.

I also wondered if members of Lloyd Campbell's family have seen his medals or have them at this time, or have ever visited his grave in Germany. Now that I know that his sister's last name (Rollins) still appears in London's phonebook, perhaps I'll be able to answer those questions.

More to follow from my rare discovery of Lloyd's Navy records.

Unattributed Photos GH

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