838033 Pte. John Thomas Campbell was born to William and Sarah Campbell on November 8th, 1895, in Derby Township, Ontario. The second of three children for the couple, John was working as a farmer when hostilities broke out.


With the raising of the 147th (Grey) Battalion, George joined the cause, attesting to it on January 17th, 1916. Billeted locally over the winter the 147th Battalion mobilized in the spring of 1916 and departed for the training grounds of Camp Niagara. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.


In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain on November 14th, 1916, on the S.S. Olympic, a sister ship to the Titanic.


On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Of the 910 other ranks that sailed with the 147th Battalion, 354 of them were transferred to the 4th C.M.R. John Campbell would be one of them, being taken on strength of his new Battalion on March 7th, 1917.


John fought in the Battle of Arras, a battle that saw the Canadian Corps storm Vimy Ridge. Continuing to serve with the unit John was wounded on October 26th, 1917, the opening day of the Canadian assault at Passchendaele - a day that saw 23 former 147th Battalion men killed in action. So severe was the fighting that day that 17 of these men have no known grave.


Private John Thomas Campbell was struck off strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 19th, 1919. His service is remembered locally on the Derby Township's Memorial Scroll, located in the village of Kilsyth, Ontario.






Biography credit: George Auer