War hero from Croydon who sank German sub while aboard stricken ship to get public memorial
A war hero who sank a German submarine and saved the lives of his own stricken ship's crew is to be honoured in a new public memorial.
Vice-Admiral Gordon Campbell, from Croydon, was commander of the HMS Farnborough when he tricked and then opened fire on the U-Boat during the First World War.
He won the Victoria Cross - the highest military prize awarded for "valour in the face of the enemy" - for his actions, which saw the Farnborough's entire crew escape to safety despite being torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean on February 17, 1917.
A commemorative paving stone dedicated to V-Adm Campbell, who died in 1953 aged 67, will be laid in Croydon to mark the 100th anniversary of the war. Its location has yet to be announced.
V-Adm Campbell was just 31 when he spotted the German SM U-83 in pursuit of the Farnborough off the Irish coast and chose to allow its torpedo to strike British Navy vessel, badly damaging it.
Part of Farnborough's crew then staged a decoy evacuation to lure the submarine into coming closer to the sinking ship.
The remaining crew then waited until the U-Boat emerged from the water before unveiling hidden guns and opening fire, sinking the submarine. The Farnborough was towed to safety.
V-Adm Campbell, who went on to be MP for Burnley and a writer after his military career, is one of 430 military heroes whose home communities will have paving stones laid in their honour.
His stone will be laid on February 17, 2017, to correspond which the date he earned the Victoria Cross, which is now displayed at Dulwich College, his former school.
The stone will be designed by a member of the public after the Department for Local Communities and Government launched a competition in August, with primary and secondary schools, professional designers and students among the 201 contenders.
The winning design will be chosen by a panel of judges including novelist Sebastian Faulks and Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft, who owns of the largest collection of Victoria Cross medals.
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