PPA Campbell, John Davis

John Robertson

Staff member
John Davis
  • UNIT
PPA S Patrol (CO)
  • RANK
Military Cross and bar
Italy 1944 and 1945
parent unit Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
born 11.11.1921 Monasterevan,Co.Kildare
resided Hookvinny,Hambledon,Hampshire
son of William Hastings and the hon. Eugenie Anne (nee Westenra) Campbell
educated Cheltenham College
graduated St Andrew's University (B.Sc.)
chemistry student prewar
enlisted 15.8.1940 (ranks,Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)
2Lt,Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 30.8.1941
WS Lt 1.10.1942
A/Captain 20.1.1942
joined PPA 19.4.1944 (as Lt)
T/Captain 10.2.1945
relinquished commission April 1946
HM Colonial Service 1949-61
award M.B.E. 1.1.1957 (as District Officer,Mathira Division,Kenya)
HM Foreign Office 21.8.1961
First Secretary 1961
Counsellor 1972
Counsellor (Information),Ottawa 1972-77
company director
Consul General,Naples 1977-81
award C.V.O. 28.11.1980
award C.B.E. 13.6.1981 (for Naples)
married Shirley Bouch 1959 (3 children)
1995 resided Ridgeway,Ludlow Road,Leominster,Herefordshire HR6 0DH
"I knew he could be foolish and he had an irritating weakness - he kept losing his guns,his mortar and even his money;but I was impressed to see that he was backed by sensible and experienced men." (Popski)


Military Cross : On the 1st December 1944, Capt. JD Campbell was ordered to take the last enemy stronghold south of FIUME UNITI, a fortified house named CASERMA DEI FIUME UNITI. During the night he moved forward commanding a party of six men across marshy country, walking in water breast deep for about six miles. At dawn, cold and tired, he was hidden in a wooden shack approx 25 yds of completely open ground away from the enemy strong point, here a German dog came in - but a tin of bully was just enough to keep him quiet.

After an hour of waiting for a suitable opportunity Capt. Campbell decided to rush the house, which was built on a concrete and high base. In full view of the enemy he led his men up to the barbed wire fence at the double, took the only passage to the house, broke the door in, and before the enemy could take any action captured, practically single-handed, 11 enemy soldiers and all their equipment, inclusing 3 LMGs. Then keeping cool after his success he managed to evacuate his 11 prisoners without attracting the attention of the enemy in another house 350 yds away - he then occupied the house and took defensive measures.

During the evening of the same day, still with the same little force, very tired by now, he ambushed two unaware enemy relieve parties, captured four more prisoners, and killed six more of the enemy including two officers.

This feat of arms is one of the best example of courage and leadership and self control of an officer. For his brother officers and his men such an action is and always will be a daring and difficult aim to reach.

Recommendation by Major JM Caneri, MC

Bar To Military Cross : On 23rd April 1945 at MASSA FISCAGLIA (Italy) Capt. Campbell got the information that about 40 Germans were defending a farm. The information emphasised that they were German troops and well dug-in in front of the house, and that they had severel MGs and Panzerfaust. Judging that the risk was too big for a frontal attack with his whole patrol he decided to attack the position with 2 armed jeeps only. In bright daylight and in full view of the enemy the two jeeps charged down the road, surprised the enemy by his devastating fire and his daring, overshot the enemy's first pit, found himself and his vehicle in and amogst the enemies, killed 8 wounded 10 and captured the remainder. On the 29th. at VIGONOVO (Italy) Capt. Campbell saw through his glasses a German 88 mm gun firing on PADUA, he decided to attack it, coming into the village by a side road, he charged the gun with his guns blazing away, captured it intact with complete crew, predictor, ammunition and three truck loads of petrol and supplies.

Recommendation by Major JMC Caneri, MC OC., 1 Dem Sqdn., PPA


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Popski's Private Army
By Vladimir Peniakoff