The bravery of Navy officer who remarkably sank a German submarine to save the lives of his own ship’s crew will be marked with a commemorative stone 100 years on from the fateful day.
Vice-Admiral Gordon Campbell, from Croydon, was commander of the stricken HMS Farnborough when he tricked and then opened fire on a U-Boat that had his ship on missile-lock.
One Hundred years ago today, he altered his ship’s course to deliberately allow the U-Boat’s torpedo to strike the boat by the engine room’s bulkhead.
Commander Campbell’s crew appeared to have abandoned ship, enough to convince the U-boat.
But when the German submarine was within 100 yards of the now badly-damaged ship, he gave an order to his hidden gun crews to open fire.
As the Farnborough itself was taking in sea water, slowly sinking, Commander Campbell sent a famous distress signal: “Q5 slowly sinking respectfully wishes you good-bye.”
Within an hour two British destroyers arrived and towed the Q5 with the war hero and a volunteer skeleton crew on board, to be beached 18 hours after being torpedoed.
The First World War hero will be commemorated for his brave actions in the North Sea at a ceremony in Later in the year Dulwich College, where he went to school, will also lay a duplicate stone for Mr Campbell as it is doing for the four other former pupils awarded the VCs in WW1.
After leaving the Royal Navy in 1928, he then served as Naval aide to King George V.
He was elected to Parliament representing Burnley in 1931 but was not re-elected in 1935.
When World War II broke out Mr Campbell re-joined the Royal Navy, and Winston Churchill asked him to oversee a new fleet of ships, but the program was soon abandoned.
He died in 1953 at the age of 67.
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