Captain Ivar Campbell
1st Seaforth Highlanders
Date of birth: 14 May 1890
Date of death: 8 January 1916
Died of wounds received in action at Sheikh Saad aged 25
No known grave
Ivar was the son of Lord George Granville Campbell and Sybil Lascelles Alexander.
His grandfather was the 8th Duke of Argyll. The family lived between Strrachur Park, Argyll and 2, Bryanston Square, London.
After Eton he was up at Christ Church for one year from 1908. From about the end of 1912, until March 1914, he was honorary attaché to the British Embassy at Washington, and Lord Eustace Percy, who was with him there, told of the keen interest he took in America's democratic institutions and the political and economic life of the whole country. Himself an idealist, “it was simple humanness that he looked for, and he naturally found it on all sides.”
Returning home from America he had a curious wish to open a bookshop in Chelsea, under an assumed name; but the war came to prevent a realisation of that pleasant ambition. He applied, then, at once for a commission, but was rejected owing to a weakness in his sight, and eagerly accepted an opportunity to serve with the American Red Cross Society in France as driver of a motor ambulance. This was better to him than remaining 'one of the useless ones,' but he was not satisfied and presently returned to England, and, after another rejection, was in February 1915 given a commission as Lieutenant in the regiment of his Clan, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.'
The following May he went to France, and after sharing in the long and terrible
experience of trench warfare there, was sent with his regiment to Mesopotamia, and whilst gallantly leading his men against the Turkish position at Sheikh Saad on the 7th January 1916, was shot down, and died of his wounds next day.
His Estate amounted to £2385 11s 3d. Administration with Will granted to his mother.
He is remembered on Panel 41 on the Basra Memorial.
After his death, his friends and family published
“ Letters of Ivar Campbell” London: Privately Printed, 1917
“The Prose Writings of Ivar Campbell”
“The Poems of Ivar Campbell”
A.L. Humphreys, London, 1917. With Memoir by Guy Ridley.
Not a hint of the war enters into the poems of Ivar Campbell, who, as Guy Ridley says in a Memoir of him, was known to his friends not merely as a beloved companion, 'but also in the several roles of the poet, the artist, the reader, the talker, the tramp, and last, of course, the soldier.' Born in 1890, he was the son of Lord George Campbell, brother of the late Duke of Argyll. The whole picture his friends give of Ivar Campbell is the picture of a very alive, kindly, attractive personality. ' He had his intolerances,' says Lord Eustace, ' but never where there was a call on his essential chivalry. His real qualities were a sympathy and affection ever waiting for a demand upon them, and never failing to meet such a demand.'
There are delightful stories of his love for children and his exquisite understanding of them. ' Children, as a matter of fact,' writes Mr. Ridley, ' affected him a great deal. His love of them was noticed by many people. Nothing was more astonishing than to see the way a child would intuitively know him as a friend and treat him as one of its own age.'
For months before, Guy Ridley's Memoir recalls, ‘he had mused on the grim prank played by war upon the idealist. The poet who sings of peace must himself take up the sword to win it. He is forced to fight wrong with the weapons of the wrong-doer, to add to the destruction and horror in order to prove his hatred of war and murder. Even without such testimony, one might have guessed at the charm of his character, his broad human sympathies, his love of beauty, his feeling for the quieter arts of happiness from the poems he has left us — from such a snatch of song as that beginning —
Peace, God's own peace,
This it is I bring you;
The quiet song of sleep,
Dear tired heart, I sing you . . .
from the beautifully imaginative “Marriage of Earth and Spring ‘; from the plea of
Calypso, that opens with the lines
Tenderly I, too, loved thee and have given
All my heart into thy keeping . . .
in the unfinished ' Odysseus and Calypso ‘; from ‘Venice ‘; ‘London Pride ‘; or from this, one of the most delicately fanciful of his songs:
If at day's dawn
My dear love dies,
Tell not the day,
Lest the laughing eyes
Of the day grow dim
And the bird-song cease.
Let her lie in peace.
If at day's death
My dear love dies,
My own hands
Will close her eyes,
And the rising moon
And the stars shall shed
Their silver tears
Round her white death-bed.’