Sandy Campbell (GC)

Alexander Fraser Campbell
Nickname(s) Sandy
Born (1898-05-02)2 May 1898
Dalmellington, Ayrshire
Died 18 October 1940(1940-10-18) (aged 42)[1]
Buried at London Road Cemetery, Coventry
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Second Lieutenant
Service number 135004
Unit Royal Engineers
Battles/wars World War II
* The Blitz  
Awards George Cross

Second Lieutenant Alexander Fraser Campbell George Cross for conspicuous gallantry in defusing a bomb in October 1940.


  • Triumph Engineering Works unexploded bomb 1
  • Death 2
  • George Cross Citation 3
  • Memorial 4
  • References 5

Triumph Engineering Works unexploded bomb

On the 14 October 1940 at Chapel Street, Coventry, 2nd Lt. Campbell along with Sergeant Michael Gibson and Sappers W. Gibson, R. Gilchrest, A. Plumb, R.W. Skelton and Driver E.F.G. Taylor were tasked to deal with a 250 kilograms (550 lb) unexploded bomb.

The sappers spent almost four days uncovering the bomb which was found to contain a very damaged delayed-action fuse mechanism which could not be removed in situ. Though any electrical charge within the fuse was thought to have dissipated, Campbell still applied a discharge tool.

On the 17 October 1940, Campbell, believing the bomb to be inert ordered it to be moved. It was loaded onto a lorry and taken to Whitley Common where it could be detonated safely. Campbell positioned himself next to the bomb on this journey listening for any timer mechanism that might have been activated by the bomb's removal. The bomb was remotely detonated.


On 18 October 1940, Campbell and his squad were attempting to complete an identical procedure on another bomb. However, after arriving at Whitley Common, the bomb exploded during unloading, killing the entire bomb squad.[2]

Following a funeral service at Coventry Cathedral on 25 October 1940, the squad were buried in a collective grave in Coventry's London Road Cemetery. The squad comprised 2nd Lt. Alexander Fraser Campbell, Sergeant Michael Gibson, Sappers William Gibson, Richard Gilchrest, Jack Plumb, Ronald William Skelton and Drive E. F. Taylor.

George Cross Citation

Campbell's posthumous George Cross citation appeared in the London Gazette on 22 January 1941:

His George Cross is on display in the Royal Engineers Museum.


On 18 October 2006, the anniversary of the death of Campbell and his fellow soldiers, a memorial plaque was dedicated to their memory close to where they lost their lives on Whitley Common.[3]

The memorial reads:


  1. ^ Casualty Record
  2. ^ Royal Engineers 18 October 1940
  3. ^ Search on for family of WW II bomb hero
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.