To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Army Ordinance Corps-tn

Harold Campion


Royal Army Ordinance Corps


Japanese POW


Thailand - Burma Railway



Age 82

February 2004


Former prisoner of war and well-loved Derby teacher Harold Campion has died at the age of 82.

Widower Mr Campion, formerly of West Bank Road, Allestree, died on Monday at the Shardlow Manor Residential Home, in London Road, Shardlow, to which he moved a year ago.

Mr Campion was well known in Derby as he grew up in the city and was a teacher at St Thomas More Secondary School, Upper Moor Road, Allenton, for 26 years.

The school was later incorporated into St Ralph Sherwin School, in Duffield Road, which itself later became St Benedict Catholic School and Performing Arts College.

Born in Derby in 1921, Mr Campion grew up in Hathersage Avenue, Normanton.

He left school at the age of 14 and went to work as a clerk at International Combustion in Sinfin Lane.

When war broke out in 1939, he volunteered for the Royal Army Ordinance Corps and travelled to the Far East.

He was captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell in 1942.

He endured horrific conditions in PoW camps, surviving a stint working on the infamous Burma railway, until the war ended in 1945.

When Mr Campion returned to the UK, he trained as an English teacher in Preston, and met his future wife, Jenny.

The couple settled in Derby and Mr Campion taught in a number of schools in the city before joining St Thomas More in 1957.

He became head of the middle school in 1972.

Mr Campion retired in 1983.

His son, Hilary (50), of Nottingham, said his father was a kind man, who had managed to look after himself at home and watch Derby County matches at Pride Park until a year ago, when Alzheimer's disease took hold.

"He always put others before himself," Mr Campion said.

"He always had a good word for everyone."

One of Mr Campion's former pupils, Anne Wilmot (55), a legal secretary of Canal Bridge, Willington, said: "He was a superb teacher and a real gentleman."

A devout Catholic, Mr Campion was a founder member of the Holy Family Church, in Blenheim Drive, Allestree, which was set up in 1971, and was awarded a Vatican-approved Bene Merenti medal - meaning "well deserved" - for his outstanding service to the church and diocese.

Parish priest Father Tim O'Sullivan said: "Everyone knew him and he was everyone's friend.

"He was quiet and unassuming but had a great sense of humour."

Mr Campion's wife died of multiple sclerosis in 1976.

He leaves sons Hilary and Martin (48), who is a teacher in Hong Kong, three grandchildren, his brother, Alfred (77), of Allestree, and two sisters.

The funeral mass for Mr Campion was held at the Holy Family Church, Blenheim Drive, Allestree.


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