Title: Gallipoli – Our Last Man Standing – The Extraordinary Life of Alec Campbell
Author: King, Jonathan
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2004
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 223 pages
Comments: Alexander William (“Alec”) Campbell (26 February 1899 – 16 May 2002) was the final surviving Australian participant of the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War. His death broke the last living link of Australians with the Gallipoli story.
Alec Campbell was born in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. At the age of 16 he left his job as a clerk with the Colonial Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Not having his father’s permission, he lied about his age, claiming to be two years older in order to enlist in the army without parental consent.
He joined the 15th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. Not even being old enough to shave, Campbell gained the nickname “The Kid” during his training in Hobart. One of his cousins had died already at Gallipoli, and the idea of Campbell’s deployment terrified his parents. His unit embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Kyarra on 21 August 1915, and Campbell landed at Anzac Cove in early November 1915.
He assisted in carrying ammunition, stores and water to the trenches. He received a minor wound in the fighting at Gallipoli; when evacuated from Turkey with the rest of the Australian forces in 1915, he became ill with a fever which caused partial facial paralysis.
He was subsequently invalided home aboard the HMAT Port Sydney on 24 June 1916, and was formally discharged on 22 August 1916 – a Gallipoli veteran at only 17.
He only fought in the war for two months; he later explained tersely,
“I joined for adventure. There was not a great feeling of defending the Empire. I lived through it, somehow. I enjoyed some of it. I am not a philosopher. Gallipoli was Gallipoli.”