Sergeant Graham Campbell

Submitted by Terryc on

Born 12 April 1941 at Taheke in the Hokianga, Graham Campbell was educated at Otahuhu College, St Stephens School and Auckland University, where he studied accountancy.

A talented sportsman, he played representative rugby with St Stephens School, the New Zealand Army (1967-1968) and the Counties Maori Team (1967-1968), excelling at loose forward.

In June 1965 Graham enlisted in the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army and was posted to 16th Field Regiment RNZA at Papakura Camp. Four months later he was selected to go with a 150-strong New Zealand Army contingent to the United Kingdom to take part in Exercise Powder Horn. These kiwis became the first overseas troops to mount guard at Buckingham Palace.

He passed the NZSAS Selection Course 1966 and was posted to 1st Ranger Squadron NZSAS.

Graham's talents were identified early in his service and he progressed through the lower ranks to Sergeant by 1968. He was the first NZSAS soldier to pass the Vietnamese language course and became an expert in Military Intelligence as well as having a very high standard of SAS skills. A good leader, Graham was noted for leading from the front, setting high standards for those he commanded with his own actions. Graham was one of the best qualified patrol commanders to deploy to Vietnam and had been selected for Officer training on his return to New Zealand.

In 1967 Graham saw service in Borneo with the NZSAS, attached to 22 SAS Regiment. This was followed by a deployment to Vietnam with the 2nd Detachment, 4 Troop NZSAS in November 1969. On 14 January 1970 he was killed while on patrol operations in Binh Tuy Province. The Australian SAS Squadron Commander commented that with the death of Sergeant Campbell; "the Kiwis lost one of their finest patrol commanders."

He was buried with military honours in the Returned Servicemen's section of Wairoa Cemetery on 6 February 1970.


Terry Culley

How to cite this page: ' Sergeant Graham Campbell ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Nov-2020