|Birth name||Alexander William Campbell|
|Born||26 February 1899|
Launceston, Colony of Tasmania, British Empire
|Died||16 May 2002 103) (aged|
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
|Service/|| Australian Army |
Australian Imperial Force (AIF), 15th Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade
|Years of service||2 July 1915 – 22 August 1916|
|Battles/wars||World War I: Battle of Gallipoli|
|Awards||1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, 80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal, Centenary Medal|
|Other work||Jackeroo, carpenter, mechanic, builder, boxer (Tasmanian Flyweight Champion), sailor (six Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races) and unionist|
Alexander William Campbell (26 February 1899 – 16 May 2002) was the final surviving Australian participant of the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.Campbell joined the Australian Army at the age of 16 in 1915, and served as a stores carrier for two months during the fighting at Gallipoli. He was invalided home and discharged in 1916. He later worked in large number of roles, was twice married and had nine children. He is the great-grandfather of actress, singer and model Ruby Rose.
The Gallipoli campaign, also known as the Dardanelles campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula, from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916. The Entente powers, Britain, France and the Russian Empire, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers, by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia. The Allies' attack on Ottoman forts at the entrance of the Dardanelles in February 1915 failed and was followed by an amphibious landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915 to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul).
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. Formed in 1901 through the amalgamation of the Australian colonial forces following federation, it is part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) commands the ADF, the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army (CA). The CA is therefore subordinate to the CDF, but is also directly responsible to the Minister for Defence. Although Australian soldiers have been involved in a number of minor and major conflicts throughout Australia's history, only in Second World War has Australian territory come under direct attack.
Alec Campbell was born in Launceston, Colony of Tasmania, British Empire, the son of Marian Isobel (Thrower) and Samuel Alexander Campbell.At the age of 16 he left his job as a clerk with the Colonial Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Not having his father's permission, he lied about his age, claiming to be two years older to enlist in the army without parental consent. He joined the 15th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. Not even being old enough to shave, Campbell gained the nickname "The Kid" during his training in Hobart. One of his cousins had died already at Gallipoli, and the idea of Campbell's deployment terrified his parents. His unit embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Kyarra on 21 August 1915, and Campbell landed at Anzac Cove in early November 1915. He assisted in carrying ammunition, stores and water to the trenches. He received a minor wound in the fighting at Gallipoli; when evacuated with the rest of the Australian forces in 1916, he became ill with a fever which caused partial facial paralysis. He was subsequently invalided home aboard HMAT Port Sydney on 24 June 1916, and was formally discharged on 22 August 1916 —a Gallipoli veteran at only 17. He only fought in the war for two months; he later explained tersely,
Launceston is a city in the north of Tasmania, Australia, at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers where they become the Tamar River (kanamaluka). Launceston is the second most populous city in Tasmania after the state capital, Hobart, and the twelfth-largest non-capital city in Australia.
The Colony of Tasmania was a British colony that existed on the island of Tasmania from 1856 until 1901, when it federated together with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The possibility of the colony was established when the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Australian Constitutions Act in 1850, granting the right of legislative power to each of the six Australian colonies. The Legislative Council of Van Diemen's Land drafted a new constitution which they passed in 1854, and it was given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria in 1855. Later in that year the Privy Council approved the colony changing its name from "Van Diemen's Land" to "Tasmania", and in 1856, the newly elected bicameral parliament of Tasmania sat for the first time, establishing Tasmania as a self-governing colony of the British Empire. Tasmania was often referred to as one of the "most British" colonies of the Empire.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
Campbell had a crowded life. In South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania, he was variously a jackaroo, carpenter, railway carriage builder, mature-age university student, public servant, research officer and historian.He received vocational training in motor-body building at the Hobart Repatriation Trade School. He was a union organiser in the Launceston and Hobart railway workshops and an organiser with the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners of Australia (now part of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)). He became president of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Railways Union between 1939 and 1941, and president of the Launceston Trades and Labor Council between 1939 and 1942. He also worked on the construction of (Old) Parliament House in Canberra.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2019, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of around 533,308 as of March 2019. Just over forty percent of the population resides in the Greater Hobart precinct, which forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest city, Hobart.
A jackaroo is a young man working on a sheep or cattle station, to gain practical experience in the skills needed to become an owner, overseer, manager, etc. The word originated in Queensland, Australia in the 19th century and is still in use in Australia and New Zealand in the 21st century. Its origins are unclear, although it is firmly rooted in Australian English, Australian culture and in the traditions of the Australian stockmen.
After the Second World War, Campbell completed an economics degree at the age of 50. He worked with the Department of Labour and National Service.
The Department of Labour and National Service was an Australian government department that existed between October 1940 and December 1972.
A lover of sailing, he became an accomplished boat-builder, and competed in seven Sydney to Hobart yacht races.In 1950, he circumnavigated Tasmania aboard the Kintail.
Campbell married twice—both wives were named Kathleen; and he fathered nine children—the last one being born when he was sixty-nine.
He led an uncommonly vigorous life. Only in his final few months did he need to use a wheelchair. In the end, a chest infection led to a deteriorating condition, and the 103-year-old war veteran died peacefully on 16 May 2002. He is buried at the Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart.
His second wife, who survived him, observed:
He was survived by thirty grandchildren, thirty-two great-grandchildren (which includes model/actress Ruby Rose) and two great-great-grandchildren, as of 2000.As of 2018, he has seven great-great-grandchildren.
In 2000, Campbell was recognised as one of the "Australian Legends". His name and photograph were honoured as part of an annual series of commemorative postage stamps issued by Australia Post since 1997. The stamps commemorate living Australians "who have made lifetime contributions to the development of Australia's national identity and character".Campbell lived to fully enjoy this honour.
Campbell's 45-cent Legend stamp displays the soldier's portrait as a young man, photographed just prior to his departure for Gallipoli. Formal photographs of the other two Anzac centenarians complete this stamp set. In addition, a fourth stamp features the 1914–15 star medal which was presented to all those who fought in campaigns during those war years.These stamps, designed by Cathleen Cram of the Australia Post Design Studio, commemorate the story of events and people shaping contemporary Australia. The Campbell stamp honours him as an individual and as a representative of all 68,000 soldiers at Gallipoli whose actions affected Australia's evolving self-image.
In one of his last public appearances, Campbell led the 2002 Anzac Day Parade in Hobart. As he sat in his car before the parade, he especially seemed to enjoy shaking hands with the dozens of young children who came up to greet him.
Campbell's birth in 1899 was just shortly before the Commonwealth of Australia came into being.At his death, the nation honoured him with a Commonwealth-sponsored state funeral at Saint David's Anglican Cathedral in Hobart on 24 May 2002.
In the context of Campbell's death, then Australian Prime Minister John Howard observed that Campbell was the last living link to that group of Australians that established the ANZAC legend. Howard also acknowledged that Gallipoli was "a story of great valour under fire, unity of purpose and a willingness to fight against the odds" and that Campbell "was the last known person anywhere in the world who served in that extraordinarily tragic campaign."Campbell never understood the intense public attention on his later life and his longevity, and was unhappy at times that he was lauded by conservative politicians who ignored his later union activity. After his death he received many tributes, including from Tasmanian Returned and Services League (RSL) State President Ian Kennett, who said that Mr Alec William Campbell was a great Australian and that he "led a full and happy life and put his energies, upon returning to Hobart, back into his career and family".
At some point between 1996 and 2002, as the ranks of Anzac survivors thinned and Campbell's own health failed, his name rose to prominence. According to Rowan Cahill, writing for the Australian Rail Tram and Bus Industry Union, assertive nationalist and martial forces sought to turn Campbell into an icon as "the last of the Anzacs." Campbell resisted the myth-making. He observed that there was nothing really extraordinary in being the last; rather, he pointed out the simple fact that he had been one of the youngest at Gallipoli.Shortly before his death, Campbell stated that "For god's sake, don't glorify Gallipoli - it was a terrible fiasco, a total failure and best forgotten".
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).
The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia, and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation. The memorial includes an extensive national military museum. The Australian War Memorial was opened in 1941, and is widely regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world.
The history of Tasmania begins at the end of the most recent ice age when it is believed that the island was joined to the Australian mainland. Little is known of the human history of the island until the British colonisation in the 19th century.
John (Jack) Simpson Kirkpatrick, who served under the name John Simpson, was a stretcher bearer with the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance Brigade during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I. After landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, Simpson began to use donkeys to provide first aid and carry wounded soldiers to the beach, for evacuation. Simpson and the donkeys continued this work for three and a half weeks, often under fire, until he was killed, during the Third attack on Anzac Cove. "Simpson and his Donkey" are a part of the "Anzac legend".
Albert Jacka, was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Jacka was the first Australian to be decorated with the VC during the First World War, receiving the medal for his actions during the Gallipoli Campaign. He later served on the Western Front and was twice further decorated for his bravery.
William Dunstan, VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces.
The Anzac spirit or Anzac legend is a concept which suggests that Australian and New Zealand soldiers possess shared characteristics, specifically the qualities those soldiers allegedly exemplified on the battlefields of World War I. These perceived qualities include endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism, and mateship. According to this concept, the soldiers are perceived to have been innocent and fit, stoical and laconic, irreverent in the face of authority, naturally egalitarian and disdainful of British class differences.
Peter Casserly was, at age 107, the last surviving member of the 1st AIF serving in France in the First World War. At the time of the death, he was believed to be the oldest living Australian male, and his marriage to Monica Delgado was also believed to be Australia's longest.
John Henry Lockett OAM was the oldest man ever in Australia when he died aged 111 years, 123 days. As one of the last surviving veterans of World War I, during the last decade of his life he was acclaimed as a national hero.
The Royal Tasmania Regiment is a Reserve infantry regiment within the Australian Army consisting of a single battalion. Formed in 1960 following a review of military formations in Australia, the Regiment can trace its lineage back the late 19th Century and has served Australia in a number of conflicts including the Boer War, World War I and World War II. Today it serves as a part of the Australian Army's 9th Brigade, 2nd Division.
William Edward "Billy" Sing, DCM was an Australian soldier of Chinese and English descent who served in the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, best known as a sniper during the Gallipoli Campaign. He took at least 150 confirmed kills during that campaign, and may have had over 200 kills in total. However, contemporary evidence puts his tally at close to 300 kills. Towards the end of the war, Sing married a Scottish woman, but the relationship did not last long. Following work in sheep farming and gold mining, he died in relative poverty and obscurity in Brisbane during World War II.
The Sydney Cenotaph is a heritage-listed monument located in Martin Place, in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Bertram Mackennal and built from 1927 to 1929 by Dorman Long & Co. It is also known as Martin Place Memorial and The Cenotaph. It is one of the oldest World War I monuments in central Sydney. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 11 November 2009.
The Australian Legends is an annual series of commemorative postage stamps issued by Australia Post since 1997. The stamps commemorate living Australians who have made lifetime contributions to the development of the Commonwealth's national identity and character. Prior to 1997, the only living persons who could appear on Australian stamps were members of the British royal family.
Walter Parker was an Australian soldier and the third last surviving veteran of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in World War I.
Roy Longmore was an Australian soldier and centenarian, who after Alec Campbell, was noted as the second last living Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) veteran who saw service in World War I.
Edward Rennix "Teddy" Larkin was an Australian parliamentarian and a national representative rugby union player. Larkin was the member for Willoughby in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from December 1913 until his death. He served in the First AIF, and was killed in action on the first day of the Gallipoli Campaign. He was one of only two serving members of any Australian parliament to fall in World War I — the other, who fell at Gallipoli on 4 May 1915, was George Braund, also a New South Wales MLA.
Archie Albert Barwick was an Australian farmer and soldier known for his extensive diaries documenting his service in World War I.
Frank MacDonald MM was an Australian World War I veteran, notable for having been the last surviving veteran from Tasmania, and the last surviving decorated Australian veteran.
Keith Heritage MC (1882–1916) was an Australian national champion and representative rower and a 1st AIF officer who fell on the Western Front in WWI. He is credited with being the first Australian to volunteer for the AIF at the outbreak of WWI and as one of the last Australian officers to leave Anzac Cove at the end of the Gallipoli Campaign. As a rower he was twice an Australian national champion and he won the Grand Challenge Cup in an Australian representative eight racing as Sydney Rowing Club at the 1912 Henley Royal Regatta. He saw action in WWI in German New Guinea, Gallipoli and on the Western Front and was awarded the Military Cross.
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