Private William Nelson Campbell (known as “Nelson”) was born in Clyde, Ontario, on December 28th, 1894. He enlisted with the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry in Valcartier, Quebec, on September 19th, 1914. Sent into action in France in February of 1915, he remained with the 1st Bn. throughout most of the war.
Campbell was killed by snipper fire during an attack on the Canal-Du-Nord, near Haynecourt, on September 27th, 1918. He is buried in the Ontario Cemetery at Sains-les-Marquion in France.
Most of the letters in the Campbell collection were written by Nelson to his cousin Ester (Essie) Douglas. Nelson’s mother Mary Anne (Annie) Campbell (née Nelson) was the sister of Essie’s mother Ester Douglas (née Nelson). Orphaned at a young age, Nelson lived for much of his childhood with his widowed Aunt Ester and his six Douglas cousins, four girls and two boys, in Orchardville, Ontario. Essie was the youngest of the girls, and quite close in age to Nelson, being just one year his junior. The final letter in the collection was written to Essie by Corporal W.A. McArthur, a mutual friend of herself and Nelson.
Pte. Campbell's Service Record (Reg/Ser# 7224) is available online through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring him can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.