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CAMPBELL, Neil Leslie (1893-1915) +

Neil Leslie Campbell, circa 1907.

Neil Leslie Campbell, circa 1907.

CAMPBELL, Neil Leslie (1893-1915)

Neil Leslie Campbell was a gifted student and debater who attended the Geelong College as a day student from 1904 to 1911. He was killed in action during World War I.

'He was born on 14th October 1893 at Geelong, the son of Neil Campbell and Elizabeth Margaret nee Simson. He was rewarded by the Royal Humane Society for having saved a companion from drowning in Blind Creek, Geelong. Educated at the College, he had served in the Geelong College Senior Cadets from 1906 until his final year, 1911. Dux of the school, and described by his Principal, Mr Norman Morrison, as 'the brightest pupil he had ever known', he rowed in the 1st VIII in the Head-of-the-River Race in 1911, played in the 1st XVIII, and won the 440 yards and 440 yards steeplechase at his school sports. He had taken 3rd year Law at Ormond College, where he was the Wyselaskie Scholar and took the Dwight Final Honours History Prize, as well as the Cobden Medal, the Shakespeare Society Prize, and the Sir William Zeal Prize. He rowed in the Ormond College Head of the River Eight on the Yarra in 1914, and played in the University lawn tennis team. His address at enrolment was Pakington St, Geelong.

N L Campbell (War Service)

N L Campbell (War Service)

He enlisted on 17 August, 1914 as 15 Private N L Campbell, 5 Battalion, AIF, and embarked with the First Contingent on 21 October 1914 on HMAT A3 Orvieto. He was discharged from the AIF in Egypt on 19th April 1915, six days before the Gallpoli Landing, in order to receive a commission in the 5th Battalion Royal Scots, 29th Division. 'Les' Campbell was killed in action on 8 August 1915 at Helles. He was buried at Geoghegan's Bluff, and his name is commemorated in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery on Special Memorial A.52 on Cape Helles.'

Neil Leslie Campbell’s father, also Neil Campbell (1859-1939) a day student at the School in 1892 presented a one acre block of land on the edge of the Barwon River at the Sheepwash, Barwon Heads to the School in 1919. It was presented in memory of his son Neil Leslie Campbell killed during World War 1 and was to be used by students of the School for camping. It became a very popular site for rowers. In a sadly ironic report
Pegasus in recording the speeches at the 1909 Old Collegians’ Dinner reported Neil Campbell as saying that 'the time would come when they would all have to stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of their country.’

The Campbell family had lived on a property adjacent to Lake Connewarre at Campbell’s Point. As Barwon Heads became more urbanised, usage of the site became problematical and the block was eventually sold. The NEIL LESLIE CAMPBELL TENNIS COURTS on the corner of Talbot St were named as a substitute memorial.

At Geelong College he gained the following awards up to 1908:
1904 1 English Lower 4th Form
1905 1 History Middle 4th Form
1904 2 History Lower 4th Form.
1905 1 Latin Middle 4th Form.
1905 2 Scripture Middle 4th Form.
1906 2 History Upper 4th Form.
1906 1 Latin Upper 4th Form.
1907 Dux of 5th Form B
1907 1 English 5th Form B
1907 1 Geography 5th Form B.
1907 1 Geometry 5th Form B
1907 2 Latin 5th Form B.
1907 1 French 5th Form B.
1907 1 Chemistry 5th Form B
1908 Dux of 5th Form A
1908 1 English 5th Form A
1908 1 Geography 5th Form A
1908 1 Geometry 5th Form A
1908 2 Latin 5th Form A
1908 2 French 5th Form A
1908 1 Chemistry 5th Form A

Sources: Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. pp 16-17 (citing Early Pioneer Families of Victoria and the Riverina; Henderson, Alexander. Henderson’s Australian Families. Melb: Henderson, 1941 p361.
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