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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. D B Campbell


David Baillie Campbell was born at Te Kopuru, North Island on 8th June 1920 and educated at Dargaville High School. After leaving he became a postman.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1936 and in January 1940 was serving on Home Defence at Fort Takapuna, Auckland in the 15th North Auckland Regiment.

He volunteered for the RNZAF and began training as an air gunner at Weraroa on 13th February 1940. He gained air experience and had gunnery training at the Air Observers School at Ohakea, after which he sailed for the UK in the RMS Rangitiki on 24th April and arrived there on 8th June.



Campbell was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down on 17th July and joined 23 Squadron at Ford on 28th September. He remained with the squadron, carrying out night intruder operations, until March 1942, when he went to 116 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Hooton Park.

In May 1942 Campbell moved to 1653 Conversion Unit at Polebrook, to crew up and convert to Liberators. On 24th June 1942 Campbell's crew flew a Liberator of 159 Squadron, destined for India, via the Middle East. They were retained in the Middle East for operations and were initially based at St. Jean, Palestine, from where they carried out long-distance day and night raids against targets in Crete and Tobruk.

The squadron moved to Aqir on 12th August and made attacks on enemy convoys and targets along the South Mediterranean coast, as far away as Benghazi.

159 Squadron was merged with 160 Squadron in September 1942 and went to Shandur in Egypt. Campbell's tour finished in March 1943 and he returned to the UK, where he was awarded the DFM in April.

At the end of May 1943 Campbell left for New Zealand, via America and Australia. After arriving on 1st August he spent a short while at No. 1 OTU Ohakea and then went to the ITW at Rotorua as an instructor.

In mid-January 1944 Campbell was posted back to flying, joining 3 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron at Ohakea but he was found to be medically unfit for aircrew duties and took his discharge on 8th April 1944 as a Warrant Officer.

Campbell had a number of businesses in the postwar years and was working for the Ministry of Works in Whangarei when he retired in 1980.

He died in June 1984.


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