A. B. Campbell

Military Person

1881 – 1966


Who was A. B. Campbell?

Commander A. B. Campbell was a British naval officer and radio broadcaster, born in Peckham, London. During the First World War he served as paymaster-commander on HMS Otranto, an armed merchant-cruiser in the South Atlantic. He survived its sinking off the island of Islay in October 1918 after it collided with a troopship in fog with the loss of several hundred souls.

He first began broadcasting for the BBC in 1935 with much success, and was well known for appearing on the informational radio programme The Brains Trust from its inception in 1941. He made over 200 appearances on the programme until 1946 when he was allegedly dropped for suggesting that scientists instead of animals should be used as test subjects for the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests. "Campbell was enormously popular with the public, which liked his direct and common-sense approach and regarded him as a personal friend" - DNB entry. During WW2 he also gave many talks to servicemen about the work of the merchant navy. On Thursday 12 Feb 1942 he was featured on the BBC Radio programme 'Desert Island Discs'. www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/castaway/ae3210a1#p009y0nh. After the war he became a schoolteacher and magazine publisher but continued to broadcast for the BBC and Independent Television. He also wrote several books of biography, children's fiction and naval history, including "When I Was In Patagonia", and a play based on the Marie Celeste mystery.

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Jan 21, 1881
  • United Kingdom
Apr 11, 1966

on July 23, 2013


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