Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell

State Library recently posted a blog about the Engineers, Signals, Tunnellers and Railway Units Memorial Gate in the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries. This blog post builds on the theme of Engineers by introducing the Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers.

Hugh Campbell was assigned to the 11th Field Company Engineers after enlisting in 1915. Having previously worked as a machinery salesman, it was assumed he would have a natural affinity for this technical work. He quickly proved this right and rose steadily through the ranks to corporal before even arriving in England. In 1917 he undertook specialised training at the 3rd Divisional Engineer School, and by 1919 he was selected for the Newark Officers Training School, which saw him promoted to sergeant and eventually second lieutenant. 

30693 Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers, c.1916. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

During his time as an Engineer, Lieutenant Campbell captured much of what he saw on film. He photographed his journey from Australia on the HMAT Suevic, his time in England and his experiences on the front. These images are now preserved at State Library as part of the Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers 1885-1964.

Of all Campbell’s pictures, those from his initial training at Brightlingsea best capture what it meant to be a WW1 Engineer. Engineers were responsible for ensuring the other branches of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) could navigate the battlefield as smoothly as possible. They constructed trenches, bridges, communication lines and other ‘mechanical solutions’ to the challenges of the front.

The following images show the meticulous planning that went into this work. In the first one, Lieutenant Campbell and an unnamed person pose with a scale model for a temporary bridge. The second shows the bridge in the process of construction.

30693/1 Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30693-0001-0046.

30693/1 Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30693-0001-0045.

There are plenty more treasures to discover in the Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers. Access the online finder to begin exploring. Visit the friendly team at the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries to hear more about Lieutenant Campbell and other WW1 Engineers.

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