Army veteran Major Colin Campbell who fought to preserve Scotland’s regiments in the 1990s and again a decade later, has died aged 87.
Major Campbell, who served in The Black Watch, was also a councillor on Benbecula for five years.
He joined fellow retired officers in 1991 to form Keep Our Scottish Battalions to oppose the Conservative government’s Options for Change defence review.
Ministers were keen to reap a post-Cold War dividend by reducing Britain’s armed forces in line with a diminishing Soviet threat.
The Scottish regiments most at greatest peril were the Gordon Highlanders and the Queen’s Own Highlanders.
Major Campbell was determined to keep the matter in the public eye and won the support of leading Conservatives such as George Younger, Bill Walker and Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.
He came out fighting for the Scottish regiments again in the early 2000s when proposals emerged to downgrade Scottish regiments to battalion status within a new umbrella regiment.
This time he turned his fire on senior serving generals as well as government ministers. He was particularly concerned that The Black Watch, which had just served with distinction in Iraq, was now facing a threat to its identity.
He said at the time: “The reward for their distinguished action was to be retained on the list of those to lose their unique and historic identity within months of returning home from active service.”
John Colin Fincastle Campbell of Kinloch was born in Norfolk to Walter Angus Campbell from Kinloch, Blairgowrie, and his wife Mary Therese.
He was commissioned in The Black Watch in 1954, where he was a prominent piper and went on to become an instructor at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. One of his piping instructors was Pipe Major Donald MacLeod when the two were stationed at Fort George.
After his army career, Major Campbell lived for many years on Benbecula where his brother James, who had also been an army officer, lived. They lived near each other at Island Flodda and both spoke Gaelic. James died in 2019.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar convener, Councillor Norman MacDonald, paid tribute to Major Campbell, who died at Trianaid Care Home in North Uist on Sunday May 23.
“Colin was a councillor for the Benbecula Ward from 1994 until 1999, and was an active participant in all of the Comhairle’s processes.
“He was an effective and insightful councillor who was respected by his peers and made a significant contribution to our community.”
“Our thoughts are with all those who knew Colin and particularly his colleagues, friends and relations.”
In 1994, the Government pressed on with its defence review and merged the Gordon Highlanders with the Queen’s Own Highlanders to form The Highlanders, now a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.