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Beatrice Victoria CampbellMunitions Worker
Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Beatrice Victoria Campbell
Date and place of birth: 2nd December 1898 Cupar, Fife
Date and Place of Death: 30th May 1918 Abbeville QMAAC camp
Childhood: Attended Castle Hill Primary school from 1906 ( Admission book)
Parents: John Johnston(e) Campbell and Annie Dewar Morgan
Parents occupations: Fish dealer
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: Primary school as above
Occupation: Unsure . IWM describes her as Domestic in 1917 before she enlisted at Gretna into the QMAAC
Place of residence at Gretna: Unclear
Marital status: Single
Travels: To the Somme after she joined up
Awards/recognitions: : Posthumous war medals
Positions held: Not known
Trivia / any other information: : Yes
Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Blogs about the individual:
Beatrice Victoria Campbell 1898-1918
Beatrice Victoria Campbell was born in Cupar, Fife, on 2nd December 1898 to John Johnston€ Campbell and Annie ( Anne) Dewar Morgan Campbell. She was the seventh child of eight , 6 daughters and 2 sons.
John J Campbell was a Fish dealer/ merchant who owned a Fish Emporium trading at 30-32 Bonnygate, Cupar. The family emporium advertisement claims it as “ the oldest established in East of Fife” and as also selling “ rabbits in season”. They even boasted a ‘phone number of 2152. He had been born in Dunbar , in 1862 to a Berwickshire carter and general labourer and Jean Balloch of Loanhead , just South of Edinburgh. A later census says that Jean was born at Kettle.
Aged 9 at the 1871 census, John’s family had moved to 22 West Port , Selkirk where his father had taken up the trade of fish monger which he clearly passed down Beatrice’s father John.
By 1881 , John ( Beatrice’s father, was still living at home which was now 11 Lady Wynd, Cupar. He had two brothers , Archibald and Robert. Robert died aged 30 of TB, he was married and living in Edinburgh as a mason. ( census and death registration information). Archibald became a tailor.
Annie aged 19 had been in general service in Cupar in the 1881 census. She was born at Largo, Fife in 1864 to John Morgan, a coal miner, and Margaret Lillie.
On 7th February 1883, Beatrice’s parents married at Coaltown, Kettle in the Parish of Fife. The marriage register shows John as a fish dealer and his father in the same occupation. The same register shows Annie’s father as a coal miner and her mother deceased. Their ages on the document read as 31 and 30. This should be 21 and 20.
In 1884 they had their first child, Maggie L, 1887 Jeannie was born, 1888 Jessie Lily arrived , and on 12th December 1889 Annie.
The 1891 census shows them living at 30 Bonnygate , Cupar and affording a 15 year old servant, Nellie Graham.
In 1893 their first son Robert arrived , 1896 daughter Mary was born. In this same year Robert sadly died according to a public member tree on Ancestry but no evidence of this infant death has been found elsewhere and later census information lists him as being alive, married with a family and working as a mason.
Beatrice Victoria , the seventh child was born on 2nd December 1898 and finally Archibald on 12th November 1900.
The 1901 census for the now complete Campbell family, owners of the Fish Emporium, Cupar, tells us that they have moved house to Edenview , Cupar rather than living over at the Emporium. A postcard of the time and Google maps show the Emporium building as an impressive double fronted property on the main shopping street in the town.
On 16th September 1904, Jessie died aged 16 and is buried in the family grave in Cupar cemetery. ( findagrave.com) . Her death registration states that she died of an intestinal blockage that she had suffered for two days.
We know that 5 year old Beatrice started school at the local Castlehill Primary School on 27th August 1906. Google maps show that this would have been a 13 minute walk for the Campbell children. The school admission book is a rich source of information.
On 27th November 1911 the 11 almost 12 year old Beatrice had to live through her 23 year old sister Jeannie being committed to the Asylum “ for lunatics”. The asylum register states that she was suffering from “mania” …”hereditary and adolescence”. It also tells us that her father paid £34 privately her to be committed. She is the only “ inmate” of the “lunatic asylum” across several pages of the Admission register to be paid for privately. Most charges are made to local parishes.
Jessie spent almost two years in the asylum , being discharged on 14th July 1913. Their father died of a cerebral heomorrhage on 19th October 1912 aged 50. His death registrations says that he suffered for two days. Beatrice was 13. His probate gives the Edenview address and he lest an estate worth £4282 15s 2d.
On 6th December 1916 Beatrice’s mother also died young aged 52. Her death registration states cirrhosis of the liver as cause of death.
We have no date for the 17/18 year old Beatrice joining H.M.Factory Gretna or in what role but later documentation on the IWM website timeline for Beatrice lists domestic work for 1917. Possibly she joined before her mother’s death at the first call for workers or maybe following the death.
We do know that in 1918 whilst at Gretna she enlisted in the QMAAC ( Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps ) formerly called the WAAC. It was formally renamed on 9th April 1918. There is evidence of widespread recruitment campaigns throughout Scotland in 1918 . Wikipedia explains that the Corps was created as a way of allowing women to undertake cookery, clerical and mechanical duties on the Front which in turn would relieve men to fight. Wikipedia displays a propaganda poster for the WAAC – perhaps she responded to such a poster.
Information on the National Army Museum website informs us that Beatrice went out to Abbeville on the Somme on 29th April 1918 . Tragically she was killed by an enemy air raid on her camp on 30th May 1918.
“On the Western Front, the WAAC often shared the same dangers as their male colleagues. Air raids on the camps and depots were frequent. At Abbeville, on 30 May 1918, nine women died.”
Findagrave.com shows photographs of both Beatrice’s memorial on the family grave in Cupar and her Commonwealth War grave in Abbeville.
“War grave detail. Worker, Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Daughter of the late John J. and Annie Morgan Campbell, of Cupar, Fife. Age 20” ( taken from the http://www.cwgc.org ) which shows the gravestone, the transcript of the stone and other associated paperwork.
Her service number was 31673. She is also listed on forceswarrecord.com
The IWM hold a beautiful signed photograph of Beatrice in her uniform , they also hold a short film clip showing the devastation of a similar air raid on the camp.
Beatrice is remembered on the impressive war memorial in Cupar as well as various websites including the IWM and NAM collections.
Her youngest brother Archibald became a master grocer in Govan , Glasgow. He died in 1926 aged 26 at Shieldhall Fever Hospital of sceptic scarlatina. Sister Annie married a doctor and lived on the Isle of Skye. She lived a long life until 1982.
- Every One Remembered – Soldier Profile Worker Beatrice v. Campbell
- Worker Beatrice V. Campbell Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Died Thursday 30 May 1918 – A Street Near You
- BEATRICE CAMPBELL | Imperial War Museums (iwm.org.uk)
- Beatrice V Campbell (unknown-1918) – Find A Grave Memorial
- Stepping into line | National Army Museum (nam.ac.uk)
- Search | IWM Film (iwmcollections.org.uk)