Crimea, 3 bars, Alma, Balaklava, Sebastopol, Captain J.G. Campbell, 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Black Watch, Grand Nephew of Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde.
“He served throughout the whole of the Crimean campaign. In that dismal swamp he contracted a malady, of which he was never free till the day of his decease. So completely shattered was his health, that soon after the conclusion of the war he sold his commission, and retired into private life.”
Fitted with a silver 2 prong buckle for wear, the medal was assembled, being officially engraved by Hunt & Roskell to be issued to him whilst in England: “Capt. I. G. Campbell. 42nd Foot.”
In the Victorian period the letters of ‘I’ and ‘J’ were interchangeable, leading to the official engraving of his name as “I. G. Campbell”
John George Campbell was born in Glasgow on 24th February 1830.
Son of Isabella Craigie Alston & ‘Black’ Mungo Campbell, a ‘Sugar Prince’ descended from the most elite colonial families, cultured by arranged marriages establishing close kinship ties with the most powerful groups of Glasgow & West Indian firms.
His father was a ‘Black-a-vice’ man who had to go through life as “Black Mungo” whose brother was also Mungo Campbell but was known as “White Mungo”.
His father ‘Black Mungo’ had strong military tastes and as soon as they were able, he sent both his sons into the Army, Alexander Campbell into the 17th Lancers and John Gordon got a commission in the Black Watch, the corps of his great-great grandfather, Captain Alexander.
He was educated at Woolwich before entering the 42nd Foot as an Ensign not long after his 18th Birthday, by purchase of £450 on 17th November 1848.
He was recommended for his commission in 1848 in a letter to Lord Paget, which we have copies of the letters of from the War Office records.
He became Lieutenant by purchase on 12th December 1853 and then Captain on 9th May 1855.
He saw a lot of action during the Crimean War, which greatly attributed to his early death, causing the Crimean war to be his first and last campaign.
Arrival of the 42nd in Crimea & Battle of Alma from Britishempire.co.uk:
The regiment, with a strength of 830, landed at Scutari on 9 June 1854, commanded by Lt-Col A D Cameron. They were again part of the Highland brigade with the 79th Cameron Highlanders and 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, all kilted regiments. The brigade was at first commanded by Major-General Sir Colin Campbell. They sailed over the Black Sea to the Crimea, landing on 14 Sep. The first battle of the war was on the river Alma where the Highland Brigade distinguished itself by defeating 12 Russian battalions.
Sir Colin's brigade was given the task of protecting the left flank of the army. On the right of the Russian line were 3,000 cavalry, so the 79th, on the brigade's left, were ordered to alter their formation from line to column. Later when Campbell realised that the cavalry were not a threat he formed them back into line so that they crossed the Alma and advanced up the slope in echelon with the 42nd on the right being the lead battalion.
The Guards division were on the right of the brigade, advancing on the redoubt on the Kourgane hills, defended by the right Vladimir column. Campbell brought the 42nd up far enough to threaten the flank of the redoubt as it was attacked from the front by the Guards. The Vladimirs were driven out of their position and linked up with the two battalions of the right Kazan column. Campbell led the 42nd against these Russian troops across a hollow, but their left flank was now threatened by two battalions of the Sousdal column. The 93rd were now well advanced and able to deal with the Sousdal battalions, however, as the 42nd continued their attack there were fresh enemy troops charging down on the 93rd, but these, in turn, were intercepted by the 79th. All three regiments put their opposing Russians to fight, however, the battle was not yet over for the Highlanders, as the Ouglitz column, of 4,000 Russians made a threatening move towards them but were driven off by the fire of the whole brigade.
The Siege of Sebastopol onwards:
From the 19th Oct the Highland Brigade was commanded by Colonel Duncan Cameron of the 42nd, as Sir Colin had been promoted to the command of all the troops around Balaclava. On 28th Oct the battle of Balaclava took place, involving not only the famous cavalry actions but also the brave stand of the 93rd. The 42nd was not engaged in this or the battle of Inkerman in November. They were posted around Balaklava for the winter and in May 1855 were sent on the amphibious expedition to the port of Kertch. They then moved into the trenches around Sevastopol. On 18 June they were in reserve for the assault on the outworks of the fortress and subsequently engaged in siege operations. They were again in reserve for an assault on the Redan on 8 Sep 1855 but that failed and they were put in the front trenches in preparation for another attempt on the following day. The Russians, however, silently abandoned the Redan that night. Forbes's history describes how this was discovered:
'About 12.30am of the 9th, a sergeant of the 42nd on duty in the trenches, surprised at the silence in the Redan, ventured to enter it, and was followed by some volunteers of the same regiment. Nothing was heard but the heavy breathing and groans of the wounded and dying, who with the dead, were the sole occupants of this massive work.'
The regiment was sent to Kamara until the peace was declared. They embarked at Kamiesch and landed at Portsmouth on 24 July 1856. The casualties of the 42nd in this conflict were one officer and 38 men killed in action. 140 officers and men were sent back to England as sick or wounded but the deaths from sickness were one officer and 226 men.”
After the war he retired, resigning his commission on 9th May 1856, being active as Captain in the 2nd Royal Lanarkshire Militia from 19th September 1857.
His Brother, Alexander Campbell 17th Lancers, died in April 1853 aged 25, John Gordon Campbell followed not long after aged only 35 on 30th November 1865.
Obituary in The Sportsman 5th December 1865:
DEATH OF CAPTAIN CAMPBELL
We have to record the death of John Gordon Campbell, Late Captain in the 42nd Royal Highlanders, which took place at his residence, Peebleshire, on Thursday last.
The deceased was the son of Mungo Campbell, Esq, a partner of the extensive house of Campbell and Co., West India Merchants. After spending some years in his father’s countinghouse, he entered Her Majesty’s 42nd Regiment, and went through the whole of the Crimea campaign. In that dismal swamp he contracted a malady, of which he was never free till the day of his decease. So completely shattered was his health, that soon after the conclusion of the war he sold his commission, and retired into private life. He was a keen angler, and an enthusiastic admirer of curling and bowling. In recognition of this, he was lately elected President of the Peebles Bowling Club, and occupied the char at the last annual meeting.”