Herald Scotland Obit - Jimmy Campbell SOE

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Jimmy Campbell, dentist, footballer and athletics coach

    Published on 24 Jan 2011
    Jimmy Campbell, who has died aged 92, was a dentist and sportsman for whom life was a continual process of betterment and a series of fresh challenges to be relished.
    Torn between dentistry and football, he successfully combined both, signing for Celtic on the eve of the Second World War, the advent of which saw him train the guerrillas of the French Resistance for action behind enemy lines and act as bodyguard to Lt Col Hardy Amies, later the Queen’s couturier.
    He went on to play for Leicester City, establish his own dental practice back home on Bothwell Street, join Glasgow Dental Hospital and take up marathon running as he retired, while continuing to coach generations of runners, schoolchildren and footballers.
    Throughout it all he was supported by his wife, Mary, in a partnership that endured for 70 years.
    He was born in Bridgeton in the east end, to Annie and James Campbell, a turner in an engineering works and a former professional footballer with Reading. Educated at Bernard Street School and Whitehill Secondary – where his stammer was cured by an astute teacher who cast him as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – his schooldays came to a halt when his father arranged for him to become an apprentice dental mechanic.
    Apparently he was given no choice in the matter: the family needed the income, 5/- a week initially, rising to 7/6d. His employer was his father’s friend George Boreland, also a former professional footballer who had played with Hibernian and who understood his passion for the game.
    The young Campbell played for St Mungo Juniors and pined to get out on the pitch on Saturdays, which was a working day at the dentist’s. His boss eventually relented and, as his apprentice moved through the amateur ranks, he was spotted by Celtic. He also had offers from Aberdeen and Hearts but opted for Celtic with a signing on fee of £20 and weekly wage of £5.
    He had been encouraged by Boreland to go to night school to gain the qualifications required to study for the Licentiate in Dental Surgery. The studies deferred his army call-up but only until after Dunkirk in 1940, when he was enlisted into the Royal Army Dental Corps training school at Aldershot.
    He immediately won a place in the RADC football team and later made guest appearances with Aldershot, Folkestone Town, Leyton Orient and Chelsea. Within six weeks of joining the Corps he took a PE course and was promoted to Corporal. He tried to flunk his laboratory aptitude test in a bid to be transferred into the Army Physical Training Corps (APTC) but the move was resisted because there was a pressing need for dental technicians as many of the recruits had such appalling dental health they needed dentures before being passed fit for combat.
    He was eventually moved to the APTC in 1942 and became a Sergeant Instructor, posted to an artillery regiment manning the south coast defences where he organised morale-boosting inter-battery athletic and boxing competitions and met famous footballers including Denis Compton and Stan Cullis.
    Ordered, unexpectedly, to report for an interview in Montague Mansions, Baker Street, London, one of the bases of the Special Operations Executive, he was recruited and sent to its training school in Berkshire. Having a knowledge of French, he was attached to the Belgian group, under the command of Hardy Amies, and instructed members of the Maquis in parachuting and one-to-one combat. His final posting was to the Infantry Training Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, an experience he described as the best year of his Army career.
    He had married his wife Mary, whom he met at a party in Dennistoun in 1943, and by the end of the war he was a father with responsibilities. He had set up terms to play for Leicester City, which provided a means of earning, but he also wanted to continue his studies and was accepted by Birmingham University on the strength of an interview.
    He graduated as Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1952 and returned to Glasgow, working initially as an assistant in Greenock before moving to Paisley. In 1954 he bought the practice in Bothwell Street and was supported by Mary as his receptionist, surgery assistant and book keeper. The practice moved to Douglas Street in 1965.
    He was appointed assistant dental surgeon in the Glasgow Dental Hospital’s oral surgery department in 1970, initially on a part-time basis, but became a full-time associate specialist in 1975.
    Meanwhile, he was coaching Bellahouston Harriers and was a key figure in Maryhill Ladies Athletic Club, coaching runners to British and Olympic standard. He took up marathon running when he was 64, and in retirement he coached professional footballers at Motherwell and St Johnstone, who allegedly had trouble keeping up with him on training runs.
    His contribution to sports was marked with a special recognition award from the then Scottish Sports Council and even into his 90s, he remained active.
    “He was never content to sit back,” said his elder daughter Mary. “He was always striving to move on to something bigger and better.”
    Campbell is survived by his wife, Mary, daughters Mary and Anne, grandchildren Tracey, her brother, the US-based actor Scott Speedman, Kate and Campbell, and two great-grandchildren.
    Born: November 25, 1918; Died: January 12, 2011.

    Jimmy Campbell, dentist, footballer and athletics coach - Herald Scotland | Comment | Obituaries
  2. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: Jimmy Campbell RIP :poppy:


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