William Campion

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Sir William Campion

Sir William Campion 1924.jpg
Campion in 1924
21st Governor of Western Australia
In office
28 October 1924 – 9 June 1931
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded bySir Francis Newdegate
Succeeded bySir James Mitchell (from 1948)
Personal details
Born(1870-07-03)3 July 1870
London, England
Died2 January 1951(1951-01-02) (aged 80)
Hassocks, Sussex, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Katherine Mary Byron
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
UnitRoyal Sussex Regiment
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Territorial Decoration
Mentioned in Despatches

Sir William Robert Campion, KCMG, DSO, TD, DL (3 July 1870 – 2 January 1951) was a British soldier, politician, and the 21st Governor of Western Australia from 1924 to 1931.

Early years[edit]

Born in London, England on 3 July 1870, Campion was educated at Eton College and the University of Oxford, and was the Conservative MP for Lewes from 1910 to 1924.

Military career[edit]

Campion was commissioned into the part-time 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, later 4th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (of which his father was Honorary Colonel) in 1888. On the outbreak of World War I he was the battalion's senior Captain with the rank of honorary Major.[1] He became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Line battalion (1/4th Royal Sussex) and commanded it in the Gallipoli campaign.[2][3] At its first action, at Suvla Bay on 9 August 1915, the Official History records that the orders given to Lt-Col Campion 'were vague in the extreme. The colonel was verbally told "to restore the line". No one knew where it was, but he was told that "if he went in that direction (pointing to a column of smoke from the burning scrub) he ought to find the 2/4th Queen's".' The 1/4th Sussex advanced steadily in extended order, found the Queen's who had been driven off the crest, and consolidated a line, having suffered heavy casualties.[2][4] Campion was evacuated to England sick on 5 October.[2][3]

Campion later commanded 15th (Reserve) Bn Royal Fusiliers in the UK and then went to France to command 6th (Service) Bn Bedfordshire Regiment and 17th (Garrison) Bn Royal Sussex on the Western Front before returning to the 4th Royal Sussex after its arrival from the Mediterranean in 1918. He led the battalion through the final Allied Hundred Days Offensive.[3][5][6] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1918 and continued to command the battalion in the postwar Territorial Army.[1]

Governor of Western Australia[edit]

Campion (left of centre) at Western Australia's centenary celebrations in 1929.

In June 1924 Campion was appointed Governor of Western Australia. From October 1924 to June 1931 Campion worked with Labor and Nationalist premiers alike in harmony during a period without major political crises. He presided with dignity over the state's centennial celebrations in 1929.

Later years[edit]

Campion returned to England in 1931 and retired to his country house in Sussex, but spoke frequently in favour of organized migration to Australia. He was a member of the Empire Settlement Committee in 1935. He accepted appointment as chairman of two Australian based gold-mining companies. He visited Australia in 1935–36 to inspect properties and again in 1939.

Campion died in Sussex on 2 January 1951, survived by his wife and four children: William Simon Campion (1895–1976) – married, with issue; Countess Dorothy Mary Campion Carnegie (1897–1967), married with issue; Wilfred Edward Campion (1899–1972) – married with issue (divorced); Barbara Campion Willis Fleming (1903–1999) – married with issue (divorced).


  1. ^ a b Army List, various dates.
  2. ^ a b c 4th Bn, Royal Sussex, war diary at West Sussex Council.
  3. ^ a b c Maj C.H. Dudley Ward, History of the 53rd (Welsh) Division (T.F.) 1914–1918, Cardiff: Western Mail, 1927/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 978-1-845740-50-4, p. 249.
  4. ^ Brig C.F. Aspinall-Oglander, History of the Great War: Military Operations Gallipoli, Vol II, May 1915 to the Evacuation, London: Heinemann, 1932/Imperial War Museum & Battery Press, 1992, ISBN 0-89839-175-X/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-84574-948-4, pp. 291–2.
  5. ^ William Robert Campion at Wikitree.
  6. ^ 17th (Garrison) Bn, Royal Sussex, war diary at West Sussex Council.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, 4th Baronet
Member of Parliament for Lewes
Succeeded by
Tufton Beamish
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Francis Newdegate
Governor of Western Australia
Title next held by
Sir James Mitchell