Poppy William Percy CAMPBELL (1894–1914) Poppy

Campbell at the Dragon School

William Percy Campbell (known as Percy Campbell) was born in Oxford on 2 May 1894, the son of John Edward Campbell (born in Lisburn, County Antrim in 1862) and Sarah Hardman (born in Oldham in c.1862). His parents were married in the Ashton Registration District in the fourth quarter of 1889 and had four children:

  • John Maurice Hardman Campbell (born at 185 Iffley Road, Oxford on 3 December 1891 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 11 January 1892)
  • William Percy Campbell (born in Oxford (probably at 25 St Margaret’s Road) on 2 May 1894 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 8 June)
  • Patrick James Campbell (born at 25 St Margaret’s Road, Oxford on 22 December 1897 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 13 February 1898)
  • Dorothea Mary Hardman Campbell (born at 25 St Margaret’s Road, Oxford on 28 December 1902 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 6 February 1903).

Percy’s father was a mathematician who graduated from Queen’s University in Belfast in 1884 and then went on to Hertford College, Oxford, where he became Fellow & Tutor in Mathematics in 1887.

In the early 1890s the Campbell family lived in the Iffley Road, but by 1894 they had moved to 25 St Margaret’s Road (which until 1896 was in SS Philip & James parish). The 1901 census shows them living there with two servants.

Percy was a day-boy at the Dragon School from 1903 to 1908. He then he won the first Mathematical Entrance Scholarship at Clifton College, Bristol, and went there to board. He was Head of his House (Rintoul’s), a school prefect, and a member of the School XV.

In about 1910 Percy’s family moved to 14 Rawlinson Road in St Margaret’s parish, and the 1911 census shows them there: Percy’s grandparents (retired cotton spinner Joseph Hardman and his wife Tamar) had come to live with them; but Percy (16) spent census night at Clifton College.

Percy helped out at the Sunday School at St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford.

Percy Campbell as a soldier

In October 1913 Percy went up to his father’s Oxford college, Hertford, to read Medicine, but left the following year as soon as war broke out to join the Special Reserve.

Poppy Percy Campbell was gazetted to the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire) Regiment in August 1914 and went to the front at the beginning of October as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion (attached 2nd Battalion).

Within three weeks he was dead: he was killed in action in Belgium on 24 October 1914 at the age of 20, when he was hit after insisting on going back to help a wounded officer on the road.

Campbell has no known grave, but as well as being remembered on the memorial outside St Margaret’s Church, he is listed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 53), below:

Campbell on Menin Gate

Other war memorials remembering Percy Campbell

Percy Campbell is also listed on the war memorials of the three places where he was educated (Clifton College, the Dragon School, and Hertford College). At St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford, where he worked as a Sunday School teacher, he is not only on the war memorial, but also on their memorial window (below left), which is inscribed: “In loving memory of Dr Alfred Stansfeld, Lieutenant Percy Campbell, and Private Tom Smith who gave their lives in the Great War”.

Window to Campbell in St Ebbe's Church

Campbell on Dragon War Memorial
Campbell on Dragon School War Memorial

Campbell on Clifton College War Memorial
Campbell on Clifton College War Memorial

Campbell's name on Keble College Chapel war memorial
Campbell on Hertford College War Memorial

Campbell on St Ebbe's war memorial
Campbell on St Ebbe’s Church War Memorial


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

  • Percy’s father, John Edward Campbell, died on 1 October 1924.
  • Percy’s nephew, Jim Campbell, was Lord Mayor of Oxford in 2006/7

See also

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