The Charlie Campbell Memorial Museum “holds collections regarding the United Empire Loyalists and artifacts and information on the People of Essex County and their involvement in the defense of their Country in the Fenian Raids, Boer War, World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Cold War, Peacekeeping, Bosnia, Afghanistan.” Groundbreaking took place on December 22, 1997 and the museum was opened to the public on November 11, 1999. Named after a World War 2 Veteran, Charlie Campbell served as a Mid-Upper Air Gunner in the 419 Moose Squadron, RCAF and was the Royal Canadian Legion’s Mobile Museum’s first curator.
Veteran Leaves Own History Of War
Since the age of 18 when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, Comrade Charlie Campbell bravely began serving his country. Assigned as a tail gunner in a Lancaster heavy bomber, the local war veteran flew in 19 sorties over Germany and France. Prior to these missions, Mr. Campbell knew in his heart that in taking missions during World War II, he took the risk that he would never return. Having successfully served in Canada, England and France, the local veteran was honourably discharged in 1945 with the rank of warrant officer, second class.
[. . .] A love for collecting inspired Charlie Campbell’s ongoing mission and passion for war history. Comrade Campbell was the driving force in the success of the local branch’s Mobile Museum which travels throughout the Zone, District and Province for various Legion and Militia events. Campbell would accompany the museum’s travels to act as a guide and historian.
[. . .] His mission to forever preserve the stories that war told expanded over the past four years into the creation of the Kingsville Historical Park Inc. The Park, which is located on Legion property, also serves as grounds to preserve local history. Currently, the historical park is home to such community artifacts as the old town lighthouse, and a commercial fishing boat. But it was his search for wartime artifacts from military vehicles to wartime uniforms that inspired Comrade Campbell to pursue his mission in life.
[. . .] Throughout his career, Mr. Campbell garnered numerous awards including the Poppy Certificate in 1982, the Jubilee Medal in ‘85, a Certificate of Merit in ‘86, Legionnaire of Year in ‘89, and was Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion. Highlighting his most recent award, the Branch presented Charlie with the Meritorious Service Medal. This is the highest award that can be given to a Legion member and it represents years of outstanding service to the Legion as well as the community.
[. . .] The local branch president noted how Comrade Campbell gave so much to others. “Charlie taught us all to remember what ‘Lest We Forget’ really means.”
The Kingsville Reporter, July 9, 1996 p.1
Remembrance Day ceremonies will once again bring the nation’s attention to the brave efforts and sacrifices of our veterans. Looking to breathe life into these personal reflections, The Kingsville Historical Park and Memorial Museum continues to draw closer to its official opening next year. In nearing its dream, the Memorial Museum is already making home to a number of military displays and plans to open its doors for visitors following the official ceremonies at the Kingsville Cenotaph on Thursday.
The Kingsville Reporter, November 9, 1999 p.2
Historic Day Marks Opening Of Important Kingsville Landmark
The culmination of hard work by many people finally paid off Saturday morning at the grand opening of the Kingsville Historical Park and Charlie Campbell Memorial Museum. After a decade of planning, the dream became a reality on the beautiful summer morning of August 12th. [. . .] The museum and historical park has been described as another “jewel” in the town and rightfully so. To everyone who wasn’t in attendance on Saturday, it is the hope you take the time to enjoy the work put forward by the volunteers of the Historical Park, and more importantly, take the time to remember the many who fought.
The Kingsville Reporter, August 15, 2000 pp. 4 & 24