Laid to rest far away, but hero is not forgotten
Simon was able to track down the Commonwealth War Graves at Beirut War Cemetery.
He found the graveyard immaculately landscaped and maintained, with rows of headstones for Allied soldiers in a palm-fringed square of green between apartment blocks.
He said: “On arrival Mohammed, our taxi driver, headed off with enthusiasm into the World War I section of the cemetery with the map [Mike Haigh] had kindly provided and within five minutes, he had found it.
“Abed, the person who tended the graves was totally delighted that some people from the UK had visited the cemetery to witness first hand the care and pride that he so clearly takes in his work.”
Simon sent the pictures back to Mike who was able to tell Aberfeldy Museum followers on Facebook all about the soldier.
Mike said: “His name was, Alexander Campbell, the son of Alex (a local builder), and Isabella Campbell, of Glencona, Taybridge Terrace, Aberfeldy.
“He was born on August 1, 1896 at 39 Kenmore Street, Aberfeldy, educated at Breadalbane Academy and on leaving school went on to serve his time as a plumber with A & J Menzies.
“He enlisted as Trooper 57 of the Alexander ‘s grave at the Beirut War Cemetery Scottish Horse (Yeomanry) Regiment very early on in the Great War and after much training at Scone and Kettering, he left Devonport with the 3rd Scottish Horse Squadron bound for the Dardanelles on August 18, 1915.”
Alexander was wounded in Galippoli, in hospital in Egypt before being sent back to the UK.
Mike added: “By March 1916, he was well enough to spend some time on furlough at home in Aberfeldy with his Scottish Horse comrade, Charlie Hunter of Mill Street, who had joined up with him on the very same day.
“He was back in the Middle East in 1917 and 1918 serving with the 10th Field Troop Royal Engineers in Palestine, which was part of the 4th Field Squadron.
“Sadly, at some point in late 1918 he was taken ill with malaria and died on December 27.”
Relating to this are two ‘Death Pennies,’ which were cast in bronze and issued to the families of the ‘fallen.’ They can be seen on display at Breadalbane Academy Library, one for Alexander Campbell, and the second is for his brother, Lance-Corporal George Campbell of the 7th Black Watch, who was killed in action on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, July 31, 1917. The War Cemetery in Beirut is maintained with pride