John Campbell gave evidence to the Napier Commission at its session in Tobermory on 10 August 1883. He represented the villagers of Dervaig, in the north of the island of Mull. At the age of 51, he had seen active service in the army, and but little thanks he got for it upon return to his home turf.
35962. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Are there any men in the army from Dervaig but yourself?
—In the time of the Crimean war there were seven of us out of that locality in Her Majesty's service, and four of us went up the Alma, and I am the most insignificant of the whole. We went through the whole of the Crimean war. Three of us again went through the whole of the Indian Mutiny. In Afghanistan we were represented by one of our number, and he was killed in the last battle. That is the last belonging to our place who was in Her Majesty's service.
35963. What regiment was he in?
—The 79th and 92nd. I was in the 79th at first, and transferred to the 92nd in India.
35964. In what regiment was the poor man who was killed in the last battle?
—It was Allan Macdonald who was killed at the last battle at Candahar. We have no less than fourteen war medals, a star, and twentyone clasps in our village.
35965. But notwithstanding all these services you have been ill-used in the matter of your possessions ?
—We complain bitterly that we cannot get these houses which our forefathers paid for. The people went and came, and paid these houses without let or hindrance until this proprietor got hold of the estate, when he induced the people to sign an instrument, which they would sooner cut off their right hand than sign now.