Born at Thurso, Caithness, Campbell enlisted in the 78th Highlanders on April 29, 1845. He was appointed as a piper in1854 and was one of the first five pipers officially authorized in the regiment.
Campbell served with the regiment in the East Indies, including stations in:
- Poona in 1854.
- The Persian Campaign of 1856-57.
- The Sepoy Mutiny in India during 1857-58.
- The first relief of Lucknow and defence of the Alum Bagh in September 1857. (Campbell also took part in the final operations resulting in the capture of the city.)
From 1861 to 1865, Campbell went home and was stationed at Aldershot, Shorncliffe, Dover and Dublin. In 1862, he was appointed from Corporal to Pipe Major. On May 30, 1865, Campbell was awarded the medal for Long Service and Good Conduct and was discharged to pension.
Medal Entitlement: India Service Medal (1854-1895) with Persia clasp; Indian Mutiny Medal (1857-1858) with Lucknow and Defence of Lucknow clasps; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.