yeovil at War

William John Campbell

Named on the War Memorial in the Borough


William John Campbell was the eldest of the seven children of Donald George Campbell (1873-1944) originally of Pembroke, and Caroline Kate née Treasure, known as Kate (b1868) of Yeovil. Donald and Kate were married in Yeovil in 1897 but had moved to Aldershot by the time of William's birth and, as far as I can ascertain, never returned to Yeovil.

By 1911 the family were living in HM Prison, Princeton, Devon, where Donald was an Assistant Warder of HM Convict Services.

William is recorded as enlisting in the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. However his Service Number 9393 would indicate that he enlisted as a boy soldier in 1912 at the age of fourteen. (?)

He is known to have enlisted at Devonport in the 2/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. His Service Number 38384 in this regiment suggesting he enlisted in late 1916 or early 1917, when he would have been eighteen. The regiment was part of 145th Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division.

In 1917 the 2/5th Gloucesters moved down to the Somme at the end of October, too late for any of the battles but in time to follow up the German retreat to the Hindenburg in March/April 1917. They then took part in the Third Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Cambrai and the German counter-attack. In the March and April 1918 offensive the 48th Division suffered some 6,000 casualties, including William Campbell. He was killed in action on 29 April 1918, aged 21

William was interred in St. Venant-Robecq Road British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France - Grave IV.F.12. His name is inscribed in the County of Somerset Book of Remembrance in St Martin’s Chapel, Wells Cathedral and, bearing in mind his only connection with Yeovil is that his mum was born and married here, his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.




The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of William Campbell.