18 Apr 1776 - 13 Jun 1847
Date added: 8 Jun 2015
My great-great-great-grandfather Colin Campbell, who ran away from school in Perth aged 16 in 1793 to join up, first came across the future Duke of Wellington when under his command in India at the siege of Ahmednagar in 1797. Campbell, then a lieutenant in the Ross-shire Buffs highland regiment, was the first soldier up the besieging ladder and over the wall when the fort was stormed - a scene described in Bernard Cornwell’s novel “Sharpe's Triumph” - and was immediately promoted Brevet Major by Wellington. In 1803, he had, as Wellington casually wrote "either two or three horses shot under him" at the battle of Assaye, where his youngest brother was killed – Wellington later wrote “He lost three brothers in action in India ... and for intelligence, gallantry and activity he is equal to any officer of his rank in the army.”
Back in Europe, Campbell again served under Wellington in the Peninsular War, seeing action in nine battles, including Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse and the storming of Badajoz. At Waterloo he was colonel commandant at HQ, and he and Wellington were the only two officers at HQ who were not killed or wounded that day. He was one of the five people with Wellington when he met Blucher late in the evening after the battle.
Years later, Wellington wrote to him: “We are both getting old; God knows if we shall ever meet again. Happen what may, I shall never forget our first meeting under the walls of Ahmednuggur.”