Originally posted 2018-10-24 13:38:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
In October 2018 was the penultimate month of the commemorations. The civilian population and indeed many of the combatants, of 100 years ago, would have been unaware that hostilities would finally cease in less than a month time after four years of war. Characterised by the huge loss of life and appalling crippling wounds on all sides. However, by 1918 the German army was in almost total disarray. Rather than fight to the death, many surrendered as they became overrun by allied forces.
The Kaiders army had shown ingenuity and tenancity thus far, but those attributes were breaking down. Many of Germanys elite troups had perished in the failed Spring Offensive and there were no more reserves. News of the starving population back home did nothing for morale.
Despite British successes, combatants were still dying daily in alarming numbers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is very revealing for this month.
An astonishing 45,000 lost their lives over 33,000 serving with the UK forces. In North Tyneside the Northumbria World War one project has identified 142 casualties for the period.
One of the men who died that month was Sergeant Donald Campbell. He was a driver with the Royal Artillary leading the horses harnessing artillary pieces, moving forward as the Germans were driven back. It was now a war of movement again after nearly 4 years of stalemate.
Sergeant died from a gunshot wound to the neck on October 12th. He had been a tramway motorman with the corporation and had lived at Walker Place in North Shields.
The previous year he had received the Distinguished Conduct medal for conspicuous gallantry in action.
When heavy enemy bombardment caused several casualties to his battery abnd ignited an ammunition dump, he called to the detachments to keep on firing and ran and beat out the fire unaided after which he extracted two badly wounded men from the gun pit and carried them to safety.It was due to his cool courage and prompt actions the guns were kept in action throughout the shelling. He left a wife and four children.