Sharing Stories of Service: Donald Campbell
Donald Campbell was just 17 years old when he enlisted in the Navy. It was May 1943 and, with the Japanese starting to encroach on Australia, he was inspired to do his bit. After his initial training at the HMAS Cerberus base in Victoria, Donald was assigned to HMAS Parkes, a Bathurst-class corvette designed to undertake anti-submarine and minesweeping duties.
For the most part, life at sea was relatively routine on the Parkes. Occasionally, however, Donald and the crew saw some interesting sights. In December 1944 they rescued six Dutch POWs who had used a canoe to escape their Japanese captors. In August 1945 they helped extract Z Force commandos after a secret mission in enemy territory. They were also present at the surrender ceremony in Timor. Witnessing the transfer from Japanese to Allied power was no doubt a momentous occasion for Donald.
After the end of the war, Donald returned to Australia and was demobilised. He married his sweetheart, Kathleen, in 1957, and settled into a quiet, family-oriented life in Alderley.
Military service ran in Donald’s family. In World War One his father, Hugh Campbell, served as a Lieutenant in the 11th Field Company Engineers. Both Hugh and Donald were careful record keepers, savings diaries, letters, photographs and other mementos from various points in their careers. These are now preserved as part of the Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers at State Library of Queensland. Many of the items in the collection are digitised and can be viewed online.
Donald’s story is featured in the exhibition at Anzac Square Memorial Galleries..
This year we will be featuring 15 stories of service personnel from WWI to present. We encourage you to share your stories of service with us. To learn more about this campaign and how you can contribute, visit our website.
Hugh Andrew Geraldton Campbell Papers- http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/permalink/f/1oppkg1/slq_alma21200439510002061
Donald Campbell Service Record- https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=4404873
Australian Navy history of the HMAS Parkes- https://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-parkes
Hugh Campbell Service Record- https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1854003
Previous SLQ blogs on Hugh Campbell blog- https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/blog/hugh-andrew-geraldton-campbell