John A. Campbell
Biography: John Andrew Campbell was born on September 8, 1915, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was the son of William Joseph Campbell and Margaret Lyons and attended Morse Elementary and Cambridge High and Latin School, graduating in 1931. He worked at Riverside Press in Cambridge as a pressman, prior to the war.
Service Time: On January 15, 1942, John entered the service at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and was assigned to Company A of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. John and the 601st arrived in Scotland, on August 9, 1942. In December of that same year, he and rest of the unit, less Reconnaissance Co., landed in Algeria and fought in the Battle of Kasserine Pass, in February, and then at El Guettar, in March. They converted to the M10 tank destroyer and participated in the invasion landings at Salerno, Italy, and then the assault at Anzio, before entering Rome, in June.
The unit landed in Southern France, in mid-August, before advancing to the German border. On November 24th, 1943, Staff Sergeant Campbell received a field promotion, to 2nd Lieutenant, and was put in command of a platoon of TDs. As was necessary to becoming an Officer, he was discharged from the Army and then brought back in as an Officer. His discharge was signed by the Commanding Officer of the 601st, Lt. Col. Walter Tardy.
On January 25, 1945, while still in France and near Rosencrantz, now 1st Lt. Campbell’s tank destroyer was knocked out by an enemy shell. Some of his men were seriously wounded and he ordered them to seek cover. He directed another TD to the enemy gun’s location and they were able to knock it out. He provided first aid to his men and went back to his TD to look for two missing crewmen. His TD was surrounded by Germans and although vastly outnumbered, he persuaded the 14 enemy soldiers to surrender.
The 601st then participated in the reduction of the Colmar Pocket, in February, before converting to the M36 tank destroyer and fighting along the Siegfried Line. Their last actions included assisting in the capture of Nurnberg and occupying Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s retreat in Bavaria. John left the service on October 22, 1945, at Fort Devens, MA. He was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the EAME Medal and was credited with 8 campaigns. He was authorized to wear the Distinguished Unit Badge with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster and the Croix de Guerre with Palm.
John returned to Cambridge and his old job as a pressman. On April 28, 1946, he married the former Cathaleen Agnes Bagge. She was born in Boston to Patrick Bagge and Bessie Davitt. The new couple had six children, Judy, born in 1947, Richard in 1948, John in 1953, Mary in 1954, Alice in 1957 and Bill in 1961.
John worked for Riverside Press for 30 years but left the company when they moved out of state. He found employment with the Cambridge Public Schools, as a custodian. Throughout his life, he enjoyed spending time with his family and attending his children’s activities. He also enjoyed playing golf and traveling. He was a member of the Blessed Sacrament Church, in Cambridge.
On October 9, 1981, John passed away and was laid to rest, in the St. Joseph’s Cemetery, West Roxbury, MA. I want to thank John’s daughter, Mary, for providing the materials for this tribute.