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 and baptised at Cowley St John Church on 8 June.

Percy's father was John Edward Campbell, who was born in Lisburn, County Antrim in 1862 and was the son of a surgeon. He 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.

Percy's mother was Sarah Hardman, who was born in Oldham and baptised there on 16 October 1862. She was the daughter of Joseph Hardman (a cotton-spinner who employed a hundred hands in 1871) and his wife Tamar. At the time of the 1881 census Sarah (18) was the head of the household at 4 Norham Road, Oxford, and she was described as living off money invested in funds. Living with her were her four siblings Nelly (16), James (14), Ann (11), and George (8), and they had one servant.

Percy's parents were married in Hey parish church in Lancashire on 18 December 1889 and they 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).

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, a large 14-roomed house in St Margaret’s parish.

At the time of the 1911 census Percy (16) was boarding at Clifton College. His father John and his mother Sarah (both aged 48) were at home at 14 Rawlinson Road with three of their children: John (19), who was a medical student, Patrick (13), and Dorothea (8). Percy’s maternal grandparents Joseph Hardman (73), described as a retired cotton spinner, and Tamar (74) had come to live with them. They had two servants (a cook and a housemaid). .

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 In the First World War (William) 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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