Author Topic: 'I give you my word I'll be back': Extraordinary chivalry of British PoW who returned to German prison after visiting dying mother because of promise he made the Kaiser  (Read 486 times)

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Offline Cincinnatus

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A story which illuminates how far we in the West have fallen in our ideals of personal conduct and rectitude.

A British PoW captured by the Germans in World War I was freed to see his dying mother - but went back to the prison camp after giving the Kaiser 'his word' he would return.

Capt Robert Campbell, aged 29, was gravely injured and captured just weeks after Britain declared war on Germany in July, 1914.

But after two years in Magdeburg Prisoner of War Camp, the British officer received word from home his mother Louise Campbell was close to death.

He speculatively wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm II, begging to be allowed home to visit his mother one final time.

Incredibly the German leader granted the request allowing the professional office two weeks leave - as long as he returned.

The only bond he placed on the leave was Capt Campbell's 'word' as an army officer.

He returned to his family home in Gravesend Kent in December 1916 and spent a week with his cancer-stricken mother.

He then kept his promise by returning to his German prison - where he stayed until the war ended in 1918.

The remarkable example of wartime honesty was uncovered by historian Richard Van Emden, 48, as he researched his new book.

The author  admitted the act of chivalry was rare even for the bygone age of the Great War.

He said: 'Capt Campbell was an officer and he made a promise on his honour to go back. Had he not turned up there would not have been any retribution on any other prisoners.

'What I think is more amazing is that the British Army let him go back to Germany. The British could have said to him 'you're not going back, you're going to stay here'.

Honor meant something then to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Capt Campbell, and the British government, but "The Great War", with its massive and pointless destruction, began the precipitous decline in such qualities we see reaching their nadir today.

Incidentally the article goes on to say Capt Campbell was remobilized in 1939, served honorably, and died in England at age 81.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

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