Coast Guard to Present Purple Heart to Family of World War 1 Casualty

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Relatives of Arthur Campbell, a World War I Coast Guardsman who was killed in action nearly 90 years ago, will be presented a Purple Heart medal in a small ceremony Monday at the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay facility in Philadelphia.

Campbell was a crew member who was lost with the rest of the crew and passengers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in Europe’s Bristol Channel on Sept. 26, 1918.

Campbell, as well as the entire crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, has earned the Purple Heart, a decoration awarded on behalf of the president of the United States to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S military.

Campbell, born in 1894 in Brooklyn, N.Y., enlisted in the Coast Guard on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to the Tampa on Sept. 14, 1917, where he was advanced to the rank of seaman a few months later. He has already been posthumously awarded the World War I Victory Medal with Patrol Clasp – a Navy operational clasp to denote war patrol service in the Atlantic Ocean from May 25 – Nov. 11, 1918.

Capt. David Scott, commander of Sector Delaware Bay and captain-of-the-port of Philadelphia, will preside over the ceremony to present Campbell’s award.

The Cutter Tampa – the greatest loss of U.S. Naval forces in World War I

The ship, originally named the Revenue Cutter Miami, was built in Newport News, Va., and placed into service of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service in August 1912. When the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life-Saving Service merged to form the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard in 1915, the ship was re-commissioned the Coast Guard Cutter Miami. It was again re-named the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa in February 1916.

After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the ship was placed under Navy control, but retained its Coast Guard crew as it saw service in the war’s European Theater. On the evening of Sept. 26, 1918, after the crew successfully escorted a convoy to the Irish Sea, the ship was torpedoed by German submarine UB-91 in the Bristol Channel. All hands aboard, 115 crewmembers and 16 passengers, were killed, making the incident the greatest combat-related loss suffered by U.S. Naval forces in the war.

For more information about the Tampa, visit the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa page.

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