Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Editor's Column: As Published in Norwich Gazette (11).


Lloyd Campbell died in Germany on October 21, 1942

Introduction: My father knew Lloyd Campbell of London, included some details about Lloyd related to an incident (June, 1942) aboard the Ennerdale while they voyaged to an embarking site for the first running of the raid upon Dieppe (Operation Rutter, cancelled on the day it was scheduled, July 7, 1942).

The Ennerdale at Greenock, Scotland with landing crafts hoisted, port side
Photo credit - Joe Spencer, RCNVR, Combined Operations 

My father knew Lloyd had died while in captivity as a POW but did not know the date, as evidenced in the top illustration (a published submission to St. Nazaire to Singapore, Volume 1). Berlin is the correct place of burial ("Well done, Dad," I say), and I have since located the exact site.

The following is the 11th column in a series of 24 I have submitted to my father's hometown newspaper, the Norwich Gazette, to inform readers of work done by Canadians in Combined Operations during the Second World War.

Dieppe Raid Pt. 3: Buried With Full Military Honours

If Dad was sitting beside me right now I’d ask him if he’d like to learn more details about the death of his mate Lloyd Campbell (wounded and captured during the Dieppe Raid), and where he is buried. And if Dad was agreeable, I’d hand him the news clipping I found one week ago.

He’d likely recall first that he believed Lloyd was buried in Berlin. He said as much in memoirs. He’d recall his commanding officer (Lt. Robert McRae, also taken POW) had written at length - once repatriated (1945) - about what happened to his crew on August 19, 1942.

McRae wrote: “We found we were fatally headed toward the beach under the steep cliffs. They began to pour machine-gun fire down into the boats. In our craft, Campbell, who was at the wheel, received a line of bullets across his thighs (later as a POW he lost his legs to amputation and died before Christmas from gangrene). As it was my place to stand behind the man at the wheel, Campbell had stopped the bullets I might otherwise have received”. (St. Nazaire to Singapore)

“The clipping shares a wee bit more,” I’d say.

Navy Casualty. OTTAWA, Nov.18 - The Royal Canadian Navy reported today, in its 130th casualty list of the war, that Able Seaman Lloyd George Campbell, whose sister, Mrs. Madeline Rollands, lives at London, Ont., died Oct. 21 while a prisoner of war in Germany. AB Campbell had undergone amputation of his right leg while in Camp 9-C in Germany. (Winnipeg Tribune, Nov. 18, 1942)

News clipping as found in the Winnipeg Tribune

‘A wee bit more’ sounds right, yes? Or, short and sweet. Because even in scant details (i.e., sister’s name, Oct. 31, Camp 9-C, etc.) a key to an important door is occasionally provided. Within 24 hours, with help from phonebooks and Google, I possessed Lloyd Campbell’s Service Record, significant family letters, and several official documents.

From his Attestation Form: Lloyd joined the Navy (London Division) three months before his 19th birthday. Occupation - knitter at Holeproof Hosiery.

From his Active Service Sheet: He served aboard corvette HMCS Eyebright doing escort duty in the Atlantic before travelling to Scotland for landing craft training at the same Combined Ops camps as my father.

As well, eight days after Lloyd was severely wounded at Dieppe, Madeline Rollands was sent the following letter from Secretary, Naval Board:

It is with deepest regret that I must... inform you that your brother... has been reported missing on active service. It is not possible to say definitely whether your brother was taken prisoner or whether he lost his life... (once) further information is received you will be informed.

POW Lloyd Campbell sent his last message home two weeks after the raid: “This isn’t my handwriting, because my arm isn’t well yet. I am in a hospital in Germany looked after by British Doctors and orderlies.... I have had to have my right leg off, below the knee due to bullet holes, but it might have been worse and I hope to be about soon.” 

Lloyd Campbell's last communication his sister Madeline Rollins, London
As found at collectionscanada.gc.ca

The message (above) reached Canadian Postal Censorship, Ottawa, on Oct. 24, 1942. It therefore reached Lloyd’s sister Madeline and mother Mary* in London shortly after Lloyd’s death due to medical complications.

If Dad was sitting beside me, I’d read, “After his last operation he suffered the minimum of pain and his last hours were very peaceful. Lloyd was buried... with full military honours... the coffin was, as is usual, draped with the Union Jack.’ (Letter from ‘Senior British Medical Officer’)

And when I locate surviving members of Lloyd’s family I’ll provide these details and more, including the exact location of Lloyd’s gravesite in Berlin.

*I have since learned that Lloyd's mother Mary (and father Thomas) had passed away a few years earlier. And I have since found surviving family members and passed along all details I have discovered.

Please link to Editor's Column: As Published in Norwich Gazette (10).

Unattributed Photos GH

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