Campbell Family

This page is dedicated to the Campbell Family 
Stew and Betty Campbell spent many years in Tea in Assam with the Jokai Assam Company.
We now have additions to the page thanks to their children Ian, Bruce, and Linda.

Please click on lines to go to the items

The Greatest escape story of the war

Stew & Betty --Courting to Marriage

Four Generations in Assam

Here we have some Campbell family pictures kindly supplied  by and approved by Stew and Betty's children Ian, Bruce, and Linda They are fun pictures to remind us all of the early fifties in Tea

July 27 2007   Stew and Betty--Courting to Marriage

Photo taken at a picnic with Joe and Judy Mathews around the time of Mum and Dad's engagement in Feb 1952. __________ 

Extracts follow from Dad's letters to Mum, while she was in the UK from February to October 1952. 

 "1/4/52 - Jamirah ...I am enclosing the snaps I took at the picnic, Joe hasn't had his developed yet. Mine are quite good, especially the ones of you..."


Dad's lovely new Humber
"19/3/52 - Jamirah ...The car arrived fine and in one piece, the only things missing were my lovely electric clock, my rear driving mirror and about three tyres had been changed. I cant really complain it had no dents. I couldn't get to Gauhati, too busy, so sent a driver. The Mancotta driver thinks that my car is better than the Wolseley much to your old man's annoyance..."


Dad handed over his responsibility for the 'Air Scheme' to Johnny Johnson in March 1952. ____________________________ 
"26/2/52 - Jamirah ...I missed the club this week because I had to fly over to Joyhing to fix the aircraft that was U/S. On the way over the one I was Flying started giving trouble so I had to fix two aircraft, and wasn't able to get back on Saturday, people started flapping a bit, but I eventually got back on Sunday afternoon... 
10/3/52 ...Last Saturday I took the Doctors? to Jorhat, and then to the N. Bank. Took off at eight and got back at six. I got to the Club, just in time for the pictures (Cowboys again). It drives/draws everybody to drink, so there was quite a party. I left early because on Sunday I had to fly Palmer to the N. Bank. Took off at eight and got back at five thirty. I was so tired I was in bed by nine... 
2/5/52 ...Whenever the worries and troubles get me down, Johnny lets me have an aeroplane, and I go up and clear my head... he's very good that way. It's a nice change to get airborne and have something else to think about... 
25/5/52 - Jamirah ...Johnny was ill yesterday, so I found myself the pilot again, rather terrifying because I had to fly in some very dirty weather and couldn't see a thing..."


Mum sent Dad a pipe for his birthday on 19th May _________ 
"20/5/52 - Jamirah ...Thank you very much for the pipe, the cable and the very nice letter... I threw a quiet party last evening, your folks and the Lys's came over... 
20/5/52 - Jamirah ...I'm sitting here, pen in hand, pipe in mouth, listening to the Radiogram and full of thoughts of you. The record I've got on at the moment is 'Soon' it's a lovely record darling and reminds me of us. Soon, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, there'll just be the two of us..."


Photo of tea leaves probably taken at Tocklai [Tea Research Centre], where Dad had a 3-day course in July 1952. 

"1/4/52 - Jamirah ...Up at 5am planting, finished at 9, breakfast then
the garden, lunch and a manager's meeting at Bokel... 
10/5/52 ...we are making lots of Tea and are now 400 mds ahead. If we can keep this up we will make a record crop. I want to make 22 mds or more; like Mancotta -Ahum!!... 
31/5/52 ...Before the season started we were told to go for crop and quality. So we pruned and manured the garden for crop, I was very particular with the tipping - and now Jamirah looks very nice...
23/8/52 this time of the year in Assam, the only news, as you
know, is tea, tea, tea, and I am making maunds of it. 2000 ahead now, at this rate...I will be over 22 mds per acre at the end of the year..."


This is Alistair Lawrie outside the chota bungalow at Jamirah, where Mum and Dad were to begin their married life. __________ 
"21/4/52 - Jamirah ...On Saturday we went and saw Jimmy Foster off on leave, which of course ended up in a session at the club. On Sunday at 0700 I was flying a Dakota dropping rice on the Army people in the Hills. It was good fun, but I had an awful 'hangover'. We went to the club at about 1230, where we met your folks and went back to lunch with them. After lunch I went back to Jamirah and went to bed until Monday... 
15/6/52 ...I'm taking your old man round Jamirah tomorrow. I went round Mancotta the other day. Very nice... 
6/9/52 - Jamirah ...the moves have just come and they are quite interesting, I am Act. Manager of Jamirah for next year... Jack Main? is taking over Mancotta [as Mum's father retires]. Cook? is going to Bokel... I met the Scots Padre yesterday with your folks. He seems a nice chap, and we have booked him for the 14th. So darling we are one step nearer too. Roll on November..."


Wedding photo at St Paul's Church, Dibrugarh, in November 1952. Mum's parents, Sandy and Elsie Lawrie are on the far left and right, and Alistair Lawrie is best man. ___________________ 
"19/8/52 - Jamirah ...I'm glad you went and bought your wedding dress with my Aunt... I'd like my mother to see it if possible...she will then be able to visualise the wedding. I don't know what the devil to wear darling, but if I send you my measurements will you go into Gieves in Bond St chose the material and get a suit made for me..."

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 July 27 2007

Four generations in Assam

Below are a collection of photographs from the Campbell Family Albums covering from the twenties to the 60's


01   The old Madden Club
Sandy Lawrie, Mum's father, sitting middle rear


02  Sandy Lawrie


03  Sandy and Elsie Lawrie on right


  04  Sandy and Elsie at the far end






07 Elsie Lawrie on right (perhaps)


08  Sandy Lawrie at front


09 Sandy's mother - Cummings
in Shillong


10 Betty with her parents
and the Wolseley


11 Dad at the back


12  Mum at the picnic


13  Ethel Campbell, Dad's mother
and Ian


14/ Nancy Doonai - our Ayah
Ian, Linda and Bruce


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July 14 2007  The Great Escape
Sunday Pictorial 1944 The Greatest Escape Story of The War  FROM GERMANY IN 22 DAYS! 
Kelleher and Campbell...two British naval officers whose courage and iron nerves brought them
from a German prison camp, through an amazing series of adventures, home to England.
For three days they travelled through Germany, two hunted men on a desperate break for
freedom. For three days they walked, caught trains, drank beer, talked to German policemen
- two gallant Englishmen outwitting the Nazis, leaving the barbed wire of the prisoner of war
camp ever further behind. And they did all this - and got away - without any disguise at all.
Two British naval officers, wearing blue naval Burberrys over their uniforms, strolling through
Germany unchallenged and unsuspected! Its the greatest escape story of the war.
Denis Kelleher RNVR, aged 25, and Lieutenant Stewart Campbell, aged 22, a Fleet Air Arm pilot,
walked out of the camp where they had been prisoners. And twenty-two days later they walked
into their parents homes in England and said, "Hullo folks. How's the war?" With nerves strained
to breaking point, with practically no sleep and not enough food, they had to suspect everyone
they met without showing that they were suspicious; they had to walk past policemen,
storm-troopers and Gestapo thugs without giving way to the impulse to run as fast as their sea
legs would carry them. They had begun making their plans to escape as soon as they reached
the German camp. At the camp they were known as the 'Long and Short of It'. Kelleher is short,
stocky, looking like the star international amateur football player he is - he has been thrice
capped by Ireland. Campbell is over 6ft tall, slim, looking like a shy boy from college - in fact
he left college at the outbreak of war to join the Fleet Air Arm. Every waking hour was devoted
to perfecting their plans. Drafts were made and scrapped. But finally they concocted a fool-proof
method. For six weeks the two friends went back to 'school' and swotted up German. Then the
day came. They unobtrusively left the camp just as dark was falling. The blue mists of twilight
swallowed them up. Along the thirty-mile road to Bremen Kelleher and Campbell set off, posing
as Merchant Service officers. They met nobody for hours. Then they came across an old woman.
Here was a chance to test their skill. They spoke to her, asked if they were on the right road
to Bremen. She wasn't suspicious - just scared to meet two tough men on a lonely road in the dark.
But she told them the way, and that was all they wanted. In the early hours of the morning
they limped, dusty, tired and parched with thirst into Bremen. It was too early for there to be
many folk around. The streets of Bremen were not badly battle-scarred. Shops, flats, offices,
looked pretty normal. They were making for the blessed anonymity of a great railway station.
Visions of steaming cups of coffee rose before their minds' eye. Their dry mouths longed for it.
But they had a shock. They found out that even a cup of ersatz coffee is rationed in Germany
and the one thing they didn't have was food coupons. So they bought tickets to their planned
destinations they asked for them at the grille with bated breath. But the tickets came and the
booking-clerk didn't bat an eyelid. As their train steamed out of the station they relaxed. Their
first great obstacle had been overcome. They had to stand in the corridor of the train, which
was crowded with troops. Along came the Gestapo man that all German trains now carry. He
asked for their papers. It seemed to them he took an eternity to satisfy himself. He passed.
Nearby was a German soldier inoffensively going on leave. Suddenly there was a shout. Their
hearts missed a couple of hundred beats. Was this the end? It was nearly - but for the German
soldier, not for them. There was some minor irregularity in his papers, and the Gestapo man
gave him a thorough Teutonic dressing down. The two phony seamen listened - and shook with
silent laughter. Their journey involved a number of changes of trains and some more walking.
I can't tell you the route for the Nazis would like to know that. Once they got lost and had to
ask a policeman the way. He couldn't understand what they said, but was most anxious to
please! He insisted on calling a colleague who spoke Dutch! It was an awkward moment. They
murmured something, assured the cop he needn't trouble and walked away. While they were
walking through the town the air raid warning was sounded. The Germans have a similar siren
to our own. It was quite a familiar sound! But the effect is different. Everyone began running
to the shelter. Wardens whisked everyone off the streets, Kelleher and Campbell among them.
They were glad of the chance to rest. Their feet were swollen: they hadn't had their shoes off
since they left camp. But it was a short Alert unfortunately. And they had to resume their
journey once more. Another time they had to wait overnight for a train, so they went to the
station air-raid shelter, which to their surprise was also a café. They bought a beer - very poor
beer it was too - put their heads on the café table and snatched a couple of hours' sleep. By
this time they were very hungry. They had eaten the little chocolate they'd brought with them
and it was time for desperate measures. They went into a cake shop and ordered coffee and
cakes and devoured them. Then the time came to pay. They paid..."And your 'marken'?"
said the woman. They realised she meant coupons. "Sorry," they said. "We haven't any.
We're Dutch." And that seemed to satisfy her! Another time they saw some apples in a shop,
but even apples needed points, so their mouths watered in vain. In another train they
managed to get for the first time a seat. There were plenty of civilians on this local train.
Everyone seemed gloomy and preoccupied. There was no laughter, no chatter, The people
looked tired and grey-faced. Even on a cursory glance their clothes were of poor quality,
although they were middle-class travellers. And there were some odd assortments of
clothes: you just wear what you can get in Germany, it seems, and no one bothers.
On this train, the girl guard opened the door and asked for the tickets. "Heil Hitler,"
she said. The two men looked quickly round the compartment to see what they should do.
No one paid any attention. The girls salute went unheeded. It was the first and last time
the two men heard a "Heil Hitler" while they were in Germany. It took Kelleher eighteen
months to be taken from Tobruk, where he was captured when his ship was sunk, to the
camp in Germany, travelling via Sicilian and Italian transit camps. It took Campbell over
two years to reach the camp after he was captured by the Italians when he crashed in
November 1941. But it took the two men over three weeks to get from the camp to
England and home! The Sunday Pictorial was launched by Rothermere in 1915 as
a major photo-journal. Circulation reached 1,700,000 in 1941 with a series of
articles by Winston Churchill. In 1963 the paper was relaunched as the
Sunday Mirror.]
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