William Campbell is something of a mystery. He came from Scotland, married and arrived in Chelmsford by 1901 working in the town’s electrical engineering industry. He joined the army early in the war and was killed in action in July 1917 near Ypres. His home was in Goldlay Road.

William was born in Elgin, Scotland around 1868.

He married Martha around 1898. She had been born in Butley, Suffolk around 1873. The couple had no children.

The 1901 census found them at Crompton Terrace, then in the parish of Writtle (later known as 45 Crompton Street). William was an electrical machine fitter, presumably at Crompton’s electrical works in Writtle Road.

In 1911 the census listed 43 year-old William and his wife at 110 Baddow Road, Chelmsford (later renumbered as 105). By then he was a fitter at Hoffmann’s ball-bearings factory in Chelmsford.

The 1914-15 register of electors listed him at 23 Goldlay Road, Chelmsford.

William landed in France on 27th November 1915. He was killed in action on 28th July 1917 while serving as Fitter L/35160 in D Battery, 153 Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He is buried at White House Cemetery, St,. Jean-Les-Ypres in Belgium (grave I. J. 7.).


Fitter, D Battery, 153 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

The Essex County Chronicle of 14th September 1917 reported:

“Fitter Wm. Campbell, R.F.A., of 23 Goldlay Road, Chelmsford, killed in action, was hit in the head, and died within half-an-hour without regaining consciousness. His Major writes that he always did his work thoroughly well, and he will be a great loss to the Battery. Deceased, who was previously engaged with the Hoffmann Manufacturing Co. at Chelmsford, was killed within six days of his re-joining his Battery after leave.”

William is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford. He is not commemorated on the war memorial at St. John’s Church in Moulsham Street.

He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.

The 1918 register of electors listed his widow at 23 Goldlay Road. She died on 20th November 1919 and was buried at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery six days later.