Gordon Campbell was an old-fashioned hero who was recognised for conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness, and skill in his command of Q’mystery ships, decoys for German U boats.

Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza

On what was a highly secret mission, Gordon Campbell deliberately steered his vessel, disguised as a merchant ship, into the direct path of a U-boat torpedo, only changing course very slightly at the last moment to prevent a direct hit on the engine room.

 As soon as the torpedo struck, the British crew went through their well-practised pantomime of panic and the deployment of the lifeboats. Then only when the enemy vessel was almost upon them did Campbell order his guns to open fire in “what maybe regarded as the supreme test of naval discipline”.

A few months later Campbell, while captain of HMS Pargust, deployed the same tactic and duly sunk the submarine UC-29 on June 7.

Then, as commander of HMS Dunraven, he saw action on August 8 1917 with another enemy submarine - SM UC-71. After this action, and despite the sinking of Dunraven, King George V decreed that two Victoria Crosses should be awarded to the ship – to an officer and a rating respectively.

Gordon Campbell’s medals had been consigned for sale by The Fellowship of St John (UK) Trust Association, an Anglican charity working in education and mission.

Proceeds from the sale, at Morton & Eden auctioneers, will be used to support a number of projects which the Trust is currently involved with including an orphanage in Zimbabwe, university scholarships in South Africa, hurricane relief in the West Indies and various charities in the UK.

Warfare Officer

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