Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell – Lest We Forget

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell was my Great Grand Uncle. I have written about him before in a previous post. Horace and a few of his brothers immigrated to British Columbia in 1909. Horace and Frank went to Campbell River and worked with the power company while Harold worked in Vancouver.

Horace joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9 November 1914 and he was part of the Active Militia at the time. He was 27 years 275 days old and his occupation was listed as surveyor.

He was part of the C.E.F., 29th Vancouver Battalion, Second Canadian Contingent, 6th Brigade, Canadian Infantry, British Columbia Regiment. This regiment did a lot of fighting in and around the French and Flemish border.

On 23 Jan 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On the 20th of May 1915 he embarked for England. He started his trench warfare training on the 25th of February 1916 and finished on the 3rd of March 1916. The Trench Warfare School took place “in the field.”

Horace received the rank of Corporal on the 15th of March 1916 and on May 27th was granted eight days leave. During his leave he went back to visit his family in Glasgow and help his niece, Norah, celebrate her eighth birthday. He left on June 4th to return to the front.

On the 8th of June 1916 Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell was killed in action. His military file does not say where he was killed. A little research has shown that he was probably killed at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in Belgium. This battle was fought from June 2-13, 1916.

Horace was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His military file consists of five pages.

Horace was the subject of many photographs during his leave. There is one photo of Horace and his brother Edwin.

Janet Waddell Ross Campbell was sent a photograph of Horace’s final resting place in Belgium at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery.

On Armistice Day everyone went to church. There is a photograph of a floral cross. On the back of this photograph is written “Armistice Day 11th Nov Camphill Church (Glasgow) Memorial – Horace’s wooden cross, forms the foundation of the floral one” You can see that the table the cross is standing on is draped with the Union Jack.

The Campbell’s were quite prolific poets. At Christmas in 1915 while on the battlefield in Belgium Horace wrote a letter home which, as was his practice, included a poem. This poem was read during the Armistice Day service and was printed on Horace’s memorial card.

Oh, lead us not home with the flourish of trumpets
With flags and plumes waving and cheers in the air;
Oh, call us not heroes nor crown us with laurels,
But remember the cost — see the tears everywhere.

Give a thought to the men that lie dead over yonder,
With “Unknown” on a rude cross of wood where they lie.
See that woman in black — whose loved ones sleep with them
As sadly she watches their comrades go by.

But think kindly of others and quietly welcome
Your loved ones, your brothers, your husbands, your sons;
And think of the morrow of tears, and the sorrow
Of thousands who have lost their only dear ones.

Six months after he wrote the letter Horace would be gone.

Lest We Forget

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Amanuensis Monday – A Mother’s Remembrance

The Campbell’s were poets at heart and when Janet Waddell Ross Campbell heard of the death of her son she started writing. This is a transcription of the poem written by Janet.

In Memoriam

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell

(Written by his Mother – 1916)

Hearts are breaking, tears are falling;
High hopes withered in the dust.
Our dear Land’s in sorrow shrouded
Thro’ oppression, hate and lust.
Raise we then our Holy Standard
“Peace on earth, Goodwill to men!”
As at the Holy Infants birth
Angels sang in concert then.
Christ, the Man, our Valiant Captain
Shall this righteous Peace secure
End the din and strife of warfare
Making holiness endure!

Great Consoler, let us trust thee
Who is our sorrow comfort gives,
In the loss of our dear loved one
May we feel that he still lives!
Bravely he marched back to duty
But – – four days after leaving home,
Struck by shell! He in an instant
Was by cruel death o’ercome
O’erpassing death, his soul soared upward
Through deathless tracts straight to his God
Now we look above and see him
Though his body’s ‘neath the sod.

Laid to rest by dear, brave comrades,
Who twined a wreath of wild-flowers fair,
Emblem of his Captain’s sufferings – –
A wooden Cross they too placed there.
In a cemet’ry in Flanders,
Loving hands these graves attend.
To all those noble, gentle, kind hearts,
Gratefully our thanks we send.
Comfort Lord, our dear, brave soldiers,
Striving, fighting for the right;
Heal the wounded, soothe the dying,
To all bereaved ones send Thy Light.

Calmly then we trust thee Saviour
Who can make glad thoughts arise
As we each on God’s great altar
Lay our precious sacrifice.
Memories dear around us hover
Like Holy incense’ sweet perfume
Pleasant, happy acts of kindness
Which he lives but to resume
Beloved by all, dear son and Brother
A great glad meeting is in store
Each in God’s good time shall greet thee
Where partings cease for ever more.
Lovingly we leave thee dear one
Knowing well thou’rt safe from harm
Lasting peace is now thy portion
No more thou hearest war’s alarm.

Janet Waddell Ross Campbell wrote this poem in honour of her son. She used the first line and every other line to spell out his name, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell.

After spending his leave from wartime France with his family, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell left the home of his parents on the night of 4 June 1916. It was the eighth birthday of his niece, Norah Margaret Campbell. He was killed four days later on 8 June 1916.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland at Electric Scotland

The Ordnance Gazetteer is a good resource for maps of Scotland.

There are six volumes to this gazetteer. You have county maps, city maps, and pictures of castles, the prospectus and a General Survey of Scotland. The dates for the Gazetteer appear to be 1892-1896.

The maps take a while to download but they have a lot of detail. When your cursor moves over the map it allows you to chose the sections you want magnified. Once you have magnified a section you can move the side and bottom bars in your browser to move the map.

In volume six there is a General Survey of Scotland where you will find an A to Z of towns. Here you click on the first letter of the town name and you will be presented with a list of towns beginning with that letter in alphabetical order. When you find the one you want there is a page number and when you click on it you will be taken to a written description of the town.

One pet peeve I have is the tool bar and the pop ups. On the right hand side of the tool bar is an option to minimize it so I would suggest you do so. There are also some other pop ups that appear but once you get into the larger version of the map you will not be bothered by them.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Amanuensis Monday – A Family Treasure from John Sheddens Campbell

My Great Great Grandfather was John Sheddens Campbell. He lived in Glasgow where he raised his large family, 18 children from two marriages. John Sheddens Campbell started out his working life as a blacksmith as was his father before him. When his working life ended he was the owner of James Boardman Company where he was a die sinker and engraver. He started in the company as a clerk and then a brand cutter and traveler. He took over the company in 1866.

At the end of his life John Sheddens Campbell was blind. Several of his sons had immigrated to British Columbia and he decided to dictate a family history to my Great Grandfather Frederick Thomas Campbell to be sent to his other son Harold Dietz Campbell who was living in Vancouver.

I don’t know when the copy of it came into the hands of my family. I always remember my Grandmother having a copy. It was rolled up with an elastic band around it. When I got it I put it under my mattress to flatten it out so that it could be read and transcribed.

It is doubly special to me as it is the words of my Great Great Grandfather as written by my Great Grandfather.

The document is eleven pages long and on the top is written “To Harold Dietz Campbell from his Father John Sheddens Campbell.” From the handwriting and ink it does not appear to have been written at the time of the documents creation. At the end of the family history is another note “All the foregoing was written from memory in September 1911 by John Sheddens Campbell who died 4th May 1918, aged 78 years.” Now I know that the information after 1911 was added by someone else. The previous part of the message is in the same ink and hand as the document.

The family history covers John Sheddens Campbell’s maternal and paternal sides. It is written with the relationships being described as those to John Sheddens Campbell and Harold Dietz Campbell. So they talk about John and Harold’s Aunt, cousin, Great Grandfather, etc.

John starts with his Great Grandfather around 1700. He mentions that a couple of his sons were killed at the Battle of Culloden under Prince Charlie in 1745. Next is John’s Grandfather who did iron work on the Stockwell Bridge in Glasgow. He built his home and smitty in Goose Dubs and the name is still used in the area today. He married Margaret Graham of the Montrose Graham’s and they had three children. Their son John who was working on sailing vessels had been paid off and was on his way home when he was press ganged into service on the Victory and was killed at the battle of Trafalgar. This fact has yet to be proven.

His other son Walter was a solider and fought under Wellington in 1810. He describes all the battles, his regiment, pension and his medals. Walter was also among the first to become “teetotal and join that movement in Glasgow in 1830.”

Now while he is going through the family connections he says things like “Aunt Mary” “Mrs. Sherriff” and “you know about them so I will not go into detail here” which is very frustrating from a researchers point of view.

John Sheddens Campbell describes first and second marriages and families. Some went to Australia and he says that Harold knows about them as he met them during his visit. When John talks of his half brothers going to Australia he says “they corresponded regularly with home for 9 years – that is to 1857 since then all knowledge of them …has ceased, though for 50 years or more I have tried many ways to discover any of them, but have failed all along the line.”

His maternal side starts around 1740 with the reference to a French refugee called “Guiliamus something?” who changed his name to William Robertson. When talking of his Grandmother and the land she owned he provided the 1911 street names where the land was located.

He describes their attributes, how, when, where deaths, births, marriages and other events happened. At one point he describes how a family member immigrated to South Africa and how “mother,” his wife, corresponds with them. I found this interesting when I ended up corresponding with their Great Great Granddaughter in South Africa eighty years later.

He did make a few errors. He got the name of his maternal Grandfather wrong. He left out several bits of information that during the Edwardian period people would not talk about but have since been discovered.

The document is too long to fully transcribe here but I have transcribed it and it has been published in the “Journal of the Glasgow & West of Scotland Family History Society” Newsletter No 76, June 2006.

Still when all is said and done this is a wonderful little treasure to have when you begin your family history research. I have referred to it often and reread it many times. Each time finding something new that I either had not noticed or did not remember.

Thank you John Sheddens Campbell.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Scottish Distributed Digital Library

The Scottish Distributed Digital Library is a collection of texts, images, and sounds with Scottish themes that can be found throughout the internet. There are several areas on this website. The first is collections which are an alphabetical listing of holdings and you can either use the SCONE collections landscape or click on the highlighted title to take you to the link. There are 231 entries on this page.

The first one I clicked on was “John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland, 1832” and it took me to the digital file at the National Library of Scotland. When I clicked on Renfrewshire I got a map that I was able to expand and look at in more detail. The boundaries are done in colour and there is some detail in the form of trees, loughs, mountains and roads but no homes except when in the towns where you can see the homes lined along the street in black blocks. There are town and parish names on the maps as well as reference names such as Barracks and chapel. There are a lot of names on the map and it can be difficult to find that place of interest.

What I like about the maps is the detail and the fact that at the borders they name the next county so you know what to look at next. You will also find an index for each county. The index includes references to find the place on the map. On the reference page for the index you will find a link to the map for that county.

When I clicked on the section for books there was a link to follow but it was broken. It mentioned Scotland’s Culture so I found that website. Here they show you how to search for many topics and to use “Worldcat… the largest network of library and content services.” On Worldcat you can do a search and it will tell you the closest library for your area where the book can be found. It will also provide you with a link to digital copies, if they are available, and you can view it online. I clicked on “Loyalty and Identity: Jacobites at Home and Abroad” by Murray Pittock, Paul Kleber Monod and D. Szechi. It was published in 2009 and a table of contents is shown on the page along with a brief summary. You are required to purchase this eBook.

So I tried another one. This time “Strongholds of the picts: the fortifications of dark age Scotland” by Angus Konstam and Peter Dennis. It was published in 2010. This took me to ebrary where I was able to read the book online for free. I found this process a bit hit and miss.

They also have a Metasearch and when I clicked on “select others” there was a display of all the available catalogues. Here I selected “check all” and I put in Scotland family history as my search term. I got hits for a few libraries. Some said “Source did not open”, “No matches found” and “Shortcut was not found.”

I chose the results from Glasgow Caledonian University Library catalogue which had ten results. None of the results were digital but they provided some reference material that I had not previously known. It would have been nice if there had been more of a description of the book available, but then I can search for it on Worldcat to find out more.

The last selection was Subjects. Here they provide a long alphabetical list of items. Under Glasgow (Scotland) – History I chose eBooks about Glasgow and got seven books on Glasgow. One of interest to those who might have professional ancestors from Glasgow was “Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men who have died during the last thirty years and in their lives did much to make the city what it now is” by James MacLehose, 1886. There are biographies and pictures of the gentlemen.

Another one was “Glimpses of Old Glasgow” by Andrew Aird which was published in 1894. There are Contents and Indexes to choose from but the indexes are a little misleading as they index the topics discussed and then there is an index within that index. A lot of the biographies have to do with Ministers of the church and well to do citizens. One section of interest is Events which provides some background on things like “Electric Lighting, Inauguration of.”

Four of the books listed were published prior to 1900. Two were published in the first decade of the twentieth century and one is published in 2004.

The Scottish Distributed Digital Library is a good resource for finding more information about the times in which our ancestors lived and helping us to possibly find more details about our ancestors. There are some limits but I believe this is a work in progress.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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