Aberdeen painter: Campbell Lindsay Smith. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1111
Campbell Lindsay Smith was the love of my grandmother's life. He was known by her sisters as the man with the pale blue eyes. He was older than Hannah Dalzell-Piper by about 12 years, and she also loved to draw.
How they met: I have no idea. I traveled to Edinburgh and Aberdeen and to the south of England to find out, and did not.
I saw the line recording Campbell's death in the remembrance room in Edinburgh Castle. I walked through the Aberdeen art school where he learned his trade. And also in Aberdeen I walked through the Gordon Highlanders Museum, and was astonished to see a huge painting of a pile of Gordon Highlanders bagpipers dead in battle. The first man into battle was the bagpiper, an unarmed man. As soon as one was killed, another grabbed the bagpipes to lead the men with guns. And another. And another. Sitting ducks. The Scottish version of a suicide bomber. I wonder if Campbell was a bagpiper.
I know that Campbell was the son of Major General John Smith; and that Hannah was the daughter and step daughter of 2 Kent Anglican vicars.
Maybe Campbell was a guest in the vicarage. Maybe they met in a rail carriage or an art gallery. Campbell lived in London at the same time her step-father, Rev Solomon Cambie, was vicar of Brixton. She was my grandmother, and my lack of fear came from somewhere, perhaps from her and her Irish grandfather.
Campbell's brother, father of Anna, was killed in action in 1944. His school was Sherborne, in Dorset. Hannah's sister Rachel was married to a clergyman who was a house master at Sherborne, and their sons were also students there. Including my father, Michael Cecil Heathfield Dodgson, and my father's cousin Robert Dalzell Dillon Thomas, who was killed in action in Italy in 1944.
100 years widowed. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9n2p1110
One hundred years ago today, on Nov 10 1915, Hannah woke as a bride and went to sleep as a widow.
In the past month I have had sent from an English bookseller "Marjorie's War" by Charles and Reginald Fair. A wonderful description of the lives of 4 families during the Great War.
One family lost 2 of their 3 sons, Francis and Guy Dodgson, these young men were first cousins of Hubert Dodgson. Hubert Dodgson married Hannah 3 years after Campbell Lindsay Smith was killed in action in Belgium.
Marjorie was engaged to Francis Dodgson with wedding plans underway and the ceremony scheduled for his next leave. But he never came home, not then, not ever. Francis has lain in a field in France since July 10, 1916.
What really hits hard is how much Francis and Guy are remembered, babies that started to be born in the years after the Nov 11 1918 were named after them. Marjorie's first son she named Francis, the second she gave the name of her brother, Reggie, who was also killed in action. Letters were kept and treasured. Graves were visited. The year after Francis was killed, Marjorie met another soldier from Oxbridge, and married him 2 months later. She was not willing to wait again.
The flame for Campbell Lindsay Smith has not burned as bright. Until a relative contacted me in 2004, I did not even know Campbell's last name, even as I had been looking at his photograph every day for the previous 19 years since I was given it when Hannah's nephew retired as Bishop of Norwich and moved out of his palace.
Did Hubert Dodgson lose so many colleagues and relatives that the dead husband of his wife could not bear remembering every November? Did Hannah just tuck Campbell away in the farthest recess of her heart with memories of her other colleagues and relatives killed? I last saw Hannah when I was 6, I have no idea. But I do know we all deal with grief differently. Marjorie was better educated than Hannah, and more expressive in words. And Hannah's reasons to grieve never stopped.
But I am grieving. I have not a single letter from him to Hannah. All I have is his photograph.
One hundred years later, I am the grand-daughter he never had, descended from children he never had, and I hope the way I have been living my life would have given him delight.
The English language has no word or expression for his relationship to me, but to me, he is my shadow grandfather. Shadow grandfather, I want to bring you into the light, and tell you, I remember you.
was told by her niece that when Hannah entered a room, everyone stopped
talking and looked at her. And that she knew that she was beautiful, which clearly annoyed her niece.
Hannah had huge dark eyes and curly chestnut hair and creamy skin. And she was tall. Her sisters were all short blue-eyed and blond. My mother always wondered. Hm.
Did Hannah ever go to Scotland, to Aberdeen? I
do not know.
Hannah and Campbell married in August 1915. Less than 3 months later, Campbell was
dead, blown up on a field in Belgium, in his
Gordon Highlander kilt, on Nov 10, 1915.
I have a
photograph of him in his kilt, I have been looking at it every day since
Hannah's nephew gave it to me in 1985 when he was moving out of his
palace. Campbell was 36 when he died, but he looks a good 10 years
older. He does not look like a robust young soldier. Hard for me to
understand why a portrait painter with a delicate constitution could be
considered for active duty.
Hannah's nephew, my father's first
cousin, was the Rt Rev Maurice AP Wood, an Anglican Bishop of Norwich.
The Bishop was named after his uncle Edward Maurice Baldwin Cambie, who had fallen in France in the Battle of the Somme at the age of 22, 6 weeks before the Bishop was born in
So many died from 1914 to 1918, so many mowed down by the guns of Europe.
Lindsay Smith was not my grandfather, or anyone's grandfather. Hannah
married another man with pale blue eyes, Hubert Cecil Dodgson in Jan
1919. My father was born 9 months later.
The picture above is of
an oil by Campbell Lindsay Smith, I do not know who owns the copyright;
my family or his, should when I think about it. I hope I have permission to show
it. I find the picture extremely disturbing: it is as if he foretold
his own death in a field.
Two portraits above, I hope I have permission to post them. I don't know if he ever painted Hannah. or if he even drew her, or she him. I hope so, and that somewhere in an attic, 100 years after his death, some token of their love will be found.