Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Honored Allies Wednesday: Kenneth Campbell (United Kingdom)

"In recognition of most conspicuous bravery.  This officer was the pilot of a Beaufort aircraft of Coastal Command which was detailed to attack an enemy battle cruiser in Brest Harbor at first light on the morning of 6th April 1941.  The aircraft did not return but it is known that a torpedo attack was carried out with the utmost daring.  The battle cruiser was secured alongside the wall on the north shore of the harbor, protected by a stone mole bending around it from the west.  On rising ground behind the ship stood protective batteries of guns.  Other batteries were clustered thickly round the two arms of land which encircle the outer harbor.  In this outer harbor near the mole were moored three heavily armed anti-aircraft ships, guarding the battle cruiser.  Even if an aircraft succeeded in penetrating these formidable defenses, it would be almost impossible, after delivering a low-level attack, to avoid crashing into the rising ground beyond.  This was well known to Flying Officer Campbell who, despising the heavy odds, went cheerfully and resolutely to the task.  He ran the gauntlet of the defenses.  Coming in at almost sea level, he passed the anti-aircraft ships at less than mast-height in the very mouths of their guns and skimming over the mole launched a torpedo at point-blank range.  The battle cruiser was severely damaged below the water-line and was obliged to return to the dock whence she had come only the day before.  By pressing home his attack at close quarters in the face of withering fire on a course fraught with extreme peril, Flying Officer Campbell displayed valor of the highest order." 

From Fg. Off. Campbell's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on March 10, 1942 via description by French Resistance fighters who witnessed the deed.
A true warrior of the highest caliber who would stop at nothing to complete their mission,

Memorial bench at Sedbergh, Cumbria.

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