Captain John Campbell

When the Black Watch marched south in 1743 to serve in the European war, the men were angry that their anticipated parade before King George was to go ahead without the King. His Majesty was eager to sail over the Channel to lead his army, so instead of waiting for the regiment to arrive he called for two soldiers of the regiment to be sent on ahead so that he could inspect a sample before hurrying off. The two representatives of the Black Watch were Gregor McGregor commonly called Gregor the Beautiful, and John Campbell, son of Duncan Campbell of the family of Duneaves in Perthshire. The 'Westminster Journal' of the period stated that they were presented to the King by their Lieutenant-Colonel, Sir Robert Munro; and that they performed the broad-sword exercise and that of the Lochaber axe, or lance, before his Majesty, also the Duke of Cumberland and Field Marshal Wade, and other generals. 'They displayed so much dexterity and skill in the management of their weapons as to give perfect satisfaction to the sovereign.'

Both Gregor and Campbell gained in rank after this assignment. John Campbell was given a commission after fighting bravely at Fontenoy. He rose to the rank of Captain-Lieutenant but was killed at Ticonderoga. The history says that he was the first officer to go over the top of the defences of that fort, a suicidal act of bravery which ended in death for him and the men who followed him. The painting is said to be of Captain Campbell in 1758 the year of his death.

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by Stephen Luscombe