James Pringle Campbell - Royal Engineers - Amble

  • Description

    DCM FOR AMBLE SAPPER Sapper James Pringle Campbell, of the 5th Field Co. of the Royal Engineers, won the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Givenchy on March 10. He took part in the storming of a German trench, and when they got to the German barbed wire entanglements, some of his comrades got into the trench, the other part had to retire, and in the retirement Sapper Campbell brought back a wounded comrade. Sapper Campbell's home is at Amble. This photograph was published in the Illustrated Chronicle on the 1st of May 1915. During the Great War the Illustrated Chronicle published photographs of soldiers and sailors from Newcastle and the North East of England, which had been in the news. The photographs were sent in by relatives and give us a glimpse into the past. The physical collection held by Newcastle Libraries comprises bound volumes of the newspaper from 1910 to 1925. We are keen to find out more about the people in the photographs. If you recognise anyone in the images or have any stories or information to add please comment below. Copies of this photograph may be ordered from us, for more information see: http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/tlt" >www.newcastle.gov.uk/tlt Please make a note of the image reference number above to help speed up your order.
  • Owner

  • Source

    IllustratedChronicles (Flickr)
  • License

    What does this mean? Public Domain Mark
  • Further information

    Link: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8708/16152236024_6a6c21e057.jpg
    Alternate Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127539872@N02/16152236024/
    Resource type: Image
    Last modified: 3 years, 2 months ago
    Viewed: 468 times
    Picture Taken: Unknown
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  • Richard Shaw on Aug. 16, 2018, 11:54 a.m.

    This was the second DCM awarded to James Pringle. Although having been awarded two DCM's he never spoke to his family about the circumstances. The only comment he ever made to his son was that the first DCM, "was for doing something incredibly stupid". This second one he never said anything.

    However as well as the citation in the newspaper cutting there was also a presentation made to James Campbell in Amble and recorded in the local newspaper in 1915 , it gives a little more information on both Jim's character and the events.

    This extract is describing the speech given by the chairman Mr Percy:
    "..in having a talk with Jim – he would call him Jim, because he felt as friendly as a friend could be towards him. He would not tell him much whilst they sat together on a box in that hall. He had to examine him and cross examine him before he could get him to talk about himself and his brave deeds... So far as their friend, Sergeant Campbell was concerned he had to ask him many questions, and at last he got one wonderful story. He has been awarded the D.C.M. Shortly after the war commenced, it was in May, 1915, when the great series of battles were fought against the German offensive at Ypres. The Engineers had to go forward – they were armed with special tools to cut the wires, so that the infantry could advance. On that occasion, Jim cut the wires and a companion of his wounded. It was in the great retreat, but Jim did not retreat without his man. (Applause). He took him up and carried and dragged him 700 yards, while the German machine guns were going – (renewed applause). It was a wonderful thing to do. In spite of all this whilst his equipment was shot from him. God he thanked. Jim was not hurt."

    The last extract is the from 5th Field Company RE War Diary and describes more detail:

    Givenchy 9th March 1915
    ..The order was the given to retire. Jones and Black were wounded and Fowles was killed. Lt Parsons was reported wounded and missing believed killed.
    Sapper Campbell dragged Sapper Black back to the communication trench in the Orchard and went back to look for Sapper Fowles and also to see if he could see Lt Parsons or Corpl Evendeu. Going to where the M.G had been (about 20 yards off the enemy trench). Finding nothing there he returned to Sapper Black and found that Fowles was now lying on top him. Fowles died in his arms while trying to take him in and he then took in Black.

    • Simon Cotterill on Aug. 16, 2018, 2:06 p.m.

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for sharing this additional information. It is hard to imaging enduring such horrific conditions, let alone how James found the inner strength for such heroics. Interesting to hear that he never talked about it with his family, despite being awarded 2 DCMs. Are you a relative?

      With best wishes,


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