GUNNER ALEXANDER CAMPBELL
ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
9TH NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 28
BURIED: LERWICK NEW CEMETERY, SHETLAND, SCOTLAND
Alexander Campbell was brought home to Shetland be buried. That's a long way from Plymouth where he died in hospital two days before the end of the war. In fact, I'm not sure that Campbell ever got to the war. He tried to join up but was rejected six times on account of his defective eyesight. However, he was eventually accepted in June 1917. He seems to have been stationed at the 'Palmerston' fort of Picklecombe, part of the naval defences of the port of Plymouth, when he became ill with influenza and died of pneumonia.
Campbell was born on Shetland, the son of Alexander Campbell the borough surveyor, and his wife Mary Ann. He was educated on the island at the Anderson Educational Institute where he was 'the dux' for 1911 - the highest academic-ranking pupil at the school. He acquired a degree from the University of Edinburgh and then taught Classics at the Hamilton Academy near Glasgow.
His inscription comes from Ave Atque Vale (Hail and Farewell) by Algernon Swinburne, Swinburne's tribute to the French poet Charles Baudelaire in which, like Shelley's Adonais, he speaks of the calm in which the dead now live, free from all cares:
Content thee, howsoe'er, whose days are done;
There lies not any troublous thing before,
Nor sight nor sound to war against thee more,
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,
All waters as the shore.
Mrs Mary Ann Campbell signed for her son's inscription.