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Soldier commemorated on centenary of his death

24 August 2016

A centenary after his death, Private John Campbell, of The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, has been remembered in a special ceremony today, August 24, at St John’s the Baptist Church in Porthcawl, Wales.

Porthcawl Museum commemorated Private Campbell as part of the CWGC’s Living Memory project, which is encouraging people in the UK to visit their local war graves and reconnect with their history.

Private Campbell drowned on August 24, 1916, and his body pulled from the sea opposite Sea Bank Hotel. He had been badly wounded during the Battle of the Somme on July 17 and was transferred from the Western Front to the Third Western General Hospital, in Cardiff. He was suffering with serious shrapnel wounds to his thigh and shoulder and from shellshock.

On August 8, 1916 he was transferred to the St John’s Auxiliary Hospital, Rest Bay, in Porthcawl, to convalesce. John had recovered from his wounds, which potentially meant a return to active service. He was found drowned on 24 August 1916.

Originally from Lanarkshire, John’s brothers, Alec and Robert, made the journey from Scotland for the funeral, but didn’t to take his body home.

The special service took place at John’s graveside and was presided over by Father Philip Masson. Alan Davies, who acquired Private Campbell’s medals from an auction site, placed these on John’s grave.

A bagpiper, who coincidentally is named John Campbell, then played at the service.

The Mayor of Porthcawl, Councillor Robert Lee, and MP Madeleine Moon, were also in attendance.

Another CWGC grave at the church, is that of Lance Sergeant Frank Trott of the Welsh Guards, who died on the morning of November 11, 1918, at Porthcawl Police Station.

His death was given as being a result of being shot twice and severely gassed in the war. He had only been married for three weeks.

The CWGC launched Living Memory, along with The Big Idea Company, to remember the forgotten front, the 300,000 war graves and commemorations here in Britain to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Samantha Daynes, CWGC’s Media Manager for the UK, said: “The overseas work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s is well known, but here in the UK, there is little awareness of the graves and memorials that can be found in a more than 12,000 locations.

“Within three miles of everyone’s front door in Britain, there is at least one CWGC war grave.

“The Living Memory project is encouraging more people to discover and visit their local war grave sites and research their local war history. We must remember those who gave their lives.”

For more information on the Living Memory project, please visit www.cwgclivingmemory.org or email livingmemory@cwgc.org.