7th January 2011 at 00:00

Gordon Campbell, a former Fleet Air Arm electrician, English teacher and Citizens Advice worker, has died in Arbroath aged 82.

The young Campbell had been determined to join the Navy. But when he signed up for the Fleet Air Arm, without any fixed idea of a trade, the hierarchy decided that his dad's career was good enough for him and assigned him a post as an apprentice electrician, a Royal Navy artificer.

Although he spent more than 20 years in the service, stationed all over the UK and in Malta, his deep love of literature and the English language led him into his second career as a teacher. He became a student at the same time as his son and qualified when he was well into his 40s.

He was born in Cathcart, the son of Islay man Peter Campbell and his wife Annie. They moved back to Islay when his father won the contract to install electricity at Bruichladdich distillery, the first on the island to have electricity.

The success of the project prompted a request to do the same for Laphroaig distillery, then for Fettercairn and Montrose which saw the family move to Stonehaven where Campbell was educated at the old Mackie Academy.

His career in the Fleet Air Arm began just after the end of the Second World War at the Condor base near Arbroath. He worked on the electrical systems of planes and aircraft and became a chief petty officer and instructor, ending up back at Condor.

But a love of English and a hankering to become a teacher got the better of him and he went to night school to gain his Highers. He entered the profession through the special recruiting scheme, set up to attract mature students in the 1970s, and was awarded his B.Ed by Dundee University.

A post as a teacher of English and RE at Arbroath Academy followed and he became the school's highly-regarded and respected assistant principal teacher of English, before rheumatoid arthritis forced him to take early retirement in his late 50s.

He then joined the town's Citizens Advice Bureau as a volunteer, supported the music festival and enjoyed calligraphy, often being asked to inscribe scrolls in his skilled copperplate writing.

A big part of his life had been his involvement in the Masonic Order. He had also been an elder of Arbroath West Kirk for 36 years, a youth club leader and bible class teacher.

A popular raconteur, he was a great lover of Burns and frequently in demand to give the Immortal Memory.

The TESS welcomes submissions of obituaries to

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now