Colin Campbell was born, Colin MacIver, in Glasgow in October 1792. After school, his uncle Major John Campbell, arranged for him to go to Gosport Military Academy. It here that it is believed that it was wrongly assumed that the boy had the same name as his uncle and so he was enrolled as Colin Campbell.
He joined the 9th Regiment of Foot as an ensign on May 26th 1808 and was posted to the Iberian Peninsula where he fought at the battle of Vimeiro in August of that year. He was promoted Lieutenant in July 1809. His battalion was transferred to Gibraltar in 1810 and he took part in the battle of Barrosa, where he was commended for his bravery. He took part in a number of other battles during the Peninsula war before being promoted to Captain and transferred to the 60th (Royal American) Regiment. He was sent to Nova Scotia but soon returned to England.
Following the contraction of the army after the battle of Waterloo, Campbell joined the 21st North British Fusiliers in 1818. He travelled to the West Indies and whilst there took part in suppressing a slave revolt in Demerara. He returned to England in 1828 and after spending some time in Ireland became commanding officer of the 98th Foot and was sent to China. In December 1842 he was made a Colonel and appointed commandant of Hong Kong. 1847 saw him transfer to India where he was involved in a number of battles. But after a disagreement with the Governor-General regarding punitive raids he resigned his commission.
In 1854, with the outbreak of the Crimean war, Campbell accepted the command of the Highland Brigade. During the battle of Alma, Campbell and his ‘Thin Red Line’ of Highlanders turned back the Russian attack on Balaclava. He was knighted in 1855 and returned home in 1856.
The following year he returned to India and was appointed to the command of all British forces and led the relief of the siege of Lucknow. In 1858 he was created Baron Clyde of Clydesdale. In retirement, he was promoted to Field Marshall in 1863 and died the following year at his home near Chatham. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
This Statue by Carlo Marochetti in Waterloo Place was erected in 1867.