One of the victims of the Japanese surprise attack upon the Philippines on Dec. 7 was John H. Campbell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred P. Campbell of New Britain and Oak Bluffs. He had spent all of his summers at Oak Bluffs, except that of 1941, and he had many friends in the town and among the summer colony. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940, and would soon have qualified as a pilot after training in the fundamentals of aviation.
Mr. Campbell was born in New Britain and was educated in the public schools there, being graduated from the high school in 1938. He served in the CCC before his army enlistment. He was six feet, two inches tall, and with his brother Dick and two sisters, Ruth and Virginia, had formed the Campbell children song and dance team several years ago. He was 23 years old.
His death occurred in the course of a Japanese attack on Clark Field during the first twenty-four hours of the undeclared war. The day he was killed his parents received a letter from him written from Nov. 15 to Nov. 28, in which he told of his progress and his hopes for transfer to another section.
The New Britain Herald said editorially on Dec. 22: “A man-made thunderbolt from the sky ended the life of John H. Campbell while he was in the service of his country at an airport at Manila. His name will long be remembered in his native city, it will be mentioned many times, see print often. For when the time comes, as it inevitably will, and a new World War II veteran’s organization is formed here, it will probably bear the name of Campbell...Young Campbell was graduated from New Britain’s Senior High School in 1938. Of an adventurous disposition and not delighting in the more humdrum activities of living, he linked his fortunes with the army and became a member of its air corps. He was not a pilot but part of the far more numerous band of skilled mechanics who keep the planes in order.
“...Those members of the air corps who are stationed there can be said to be in the front lines. That’s how the likeable John met his end, serving his country where the fire was hottest.”