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News > Of Interest > From the Archive - October 19th, 1950

From the Archive - October 19th, 1950

Painting of past Headmaster WD Gibbon unveiled
19 Oct 2022
Written by Claire Bunting
Of Interest
WD Gibbon painted by Sir Oswald Birley
WD Gibbon painted by Sir Oswald Birley

Lt-Col William Duff Gibbon, CBE, DSO was Headmaster of Campbell College from 1922-1943. A popular leader and the longest serving, he was remembered with great affection. To commemorate his headship, an oil portrait was commissioned from prominent British painter, Sir Oswald Birley who has painted King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II. Newspaper clippings provide some details of the event; we include some extracts below:

Approximately 200 people attended the unveiling with representatives form the staff and pupils of the College, The Ministry of Education, Queen's University, the Army Cadet Force, social services and youth organisations. The College Vice-Principal, Major Bowan commented that the Portrait Fund had received donations from Old Campbellians around the globe including the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan and people from all branches of the Forces.

OC Society President, Mr WP McCaughey (2671) noted how much Col. Gibbon was admired for his service, which was symbolised by the King's uniform which he donned in all times of need. He added "We thank him for the friendship and leadership and we revere him as our great headmaster who made in his day, his own name synonymous with Campbell". Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Hall-Thompson, MP and former Minister of Education also spoke at the event, stating "Colonel Gibbon had taught his pupils to think fairly, love widely, witness humbly and build bravely".

Col. Gibbon replied that the occasion would always be a red letter day in the memories of his sister and himself. He recalled that when he took the post of Headmaster, a new era was dawning in Northern Ireland. Campbell was a young school in beautiful surroundings, with a loyal staff, a keen band of boys, a sterling Board of Governors, a Ministry of Education not very intereststed in secondary schools (which raised laughter) - because the Ministry was so busy with elementary schools which did extremely well - and a company of simple, friendly Irish boys, not sophisticated young men-about-town whom one was rather apt to meet among boys in English public schools. Could there be better soil on which to create good citizens?"

The portrait of Headmaster WD Gibbon is located on the back wall of the dining room (pictured above). Do stop by to admire it the next time you visit us! 

More information about Headmaster WD Gibbon and Campbell College can be found in the thoroughly researched book Neither Rogues Nor Fools: A History of Campbell College and Campbellians by Keith Haines. It is available to purchase on the OC website.




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