Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Editor's Research: Lloyd Campbell, London Ont. (3)

A Gold Mine and Deep Tragedy Revealed

Signed: G.F. Hadley, Major R.A.M.C., Senior British Medical Officer.
Date: re October 21, 1942. Document Source -


My father first wrote about Lloyd Campbell of London, Ontario in his Navy memoirs in 1975, thirty years after his discharge from RCNVR and Combined Operations. Dad recalled his voyage from Scotland to southern England aboard the Ennerdale (converted oil tanker) to prepare for embarkation to Dieppe (Operation Rutter, July 7, 1942). He remembered being bombed by German planes and hearing Lloyd yelling - after the gunners on the ship were knocked off their mounts by near misses - "Let me at him!"

According to Lloyd's medical report, displayed in an earlier post, his eyesight wasn't perfect 20/20, which may have affected the end result - i.e., he recorded no official hits of German aircraft. But perhaps his bravery or quick response and enthusiasm made the moment a memorable event for my father.

RFA Ennerdale in Greenock, Scotland, 1942. Source - Joe Spencer, RCNVR.
Used with permission of Gary Spencer.

The rest that follows, pertaining to a thick dossier of documents found online, is a rare, rare look into communications that took place between some of the many people associated with Lloyd (e.g., family, medical staff) before and after he died. Lloyd's final message home is included. The dossier is rich in historical and familial value but deep in personal loss at the same time, as is much information concerning World War II.

Documents, Communications Related to Lloyd Campbell V17138:

The following pages are provided in the order found in Lloyd's file with some explanation from the editor if required, e.g., for context or clarification.

1. Lloyd Campbell was shot while steering a landing craft onto the beach near Dieppe. He was captured the same day, i.e., Aug. 19, 1942. Notification that Lloyd was "reported missing on active service" was sent to his married sister Madeline Rollands (sic) eight days later. Madeline's last name was Rollins, and Lloyd's mother (Mary) lived at the same London Ontario address (lower left).

2. The Naval Message, addressed to Lloyd's sister and dated September 19, 1942, states that "Lloyd... Able Seaman RCNVR... V17138 is Prisoner of War... 42959 at Stalag 9 C Germany. Letter Follows."

3. A typed letter to Madeline Rollands, dated September 21st, did in fact follow. The words "I am pleased to confirm" seems to express some relief. We learn that the International Red Cross played a role connected to communications between significant parties (e.g., Allied and Axis forces). We see the term "combined operations" used in connection with the Dieppe raid, as well.

4. This letter, sent to Frank Wheeler, Nfld., is "in accordance with" a Naval Order, from R. Pennington (I think), acting as administrator of estates. Wheeler is allotted $10.00, for whatever reason. I consider this page a bit of a mystery.

5. While recovering from major surgery, Lloyd dictated the following message - likely his final words to his family. The 'intercepted letter' was perhaps retyped in Ottawa on October 24, three days after Lloyd's death. Therefore, Lloyd's family may have been buoyed in their expectations related to his recovery, not knowing he had already passed away.

6. Communications, via International Red Cross re the circumstances (time and date, and complications) related to Lloyd's death, typed in German, stamped at bottom with a German seal (and signed), and mentions British medical staff (e.g., Maj. Hadley), lower right. Dated October 29, 1942, perhaps by German handlers, and again 10 Nov. 1942, perhaps when received by the Red Cross.

7. Communications, via International Red Cross in English. We read when and where Lloyd was taken prisoner ("Dieppe. 19.8.42."), his cause of death ("acute dilatation of the stomach...") and place of burial. The handwritten document may be hard to fully decipher but a typed explanation related to the key points also follows below. Dated October 29, 1942, eight days after Lloyd's death perhaps when German handlers sent it to the Red Cross.

8. This document is stamped 19 Jan. 1943, perhaps when it was received by the Red Cross. It again provides time and date of Lloyd's death, mentions his place of birth ("Algoma County, Canada"), name of his father ("Thomas") and maiden name of his mother ("Cadham").

9. The German document was received by Canadian Records in Acton at 9AM, March 1, 1943. By this time, Lloyd's family was fully aware of his death, as will be noted in documents and letters to soon follow (Part 4).

10. Before Lloyd's mother and sister in London, Ontario learn of his death, a very full report of the circumstances surrounding his death is sent to the British Red Cross Society in London, England. As we read below, the British Red Cross will bear the responsibility of forwarding "as much as you think desirable to his mother..."

The report's content is simultaneously thorough, truthful, heart-rending and more.

More will soon follow related to Lloyd George Campbell (RCNVR, Combined Operations), formerly of London, Ontario.

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

Unattributed Photos GH

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