Colin Alexander Campbell OBE DSO ME was born at Shedden, Ontario (ON) the son of Archibald Campbell and Flora (McCallum) Campbell. In 1921, Campbell graduated from Queen's University, Kingston ON with a Mining Engineer (ME) degree and began a career in mining with the Hollinger and McIntyre Mines company. In 1937, he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Ontario and was appointed to Premier Hepburn's Cabinet as Minister of Public Works.

In 1939, when WW2 broke out Campbell resigned his Cabinet post and went overseas with the Royal Canadian Engineers. He subsequently formed an elite unit of miners and proved that the concrete blocks planned as enemy tank roadblocks could be easily breached. He had his miners fill ordinary pipes with gelignite and put them under concrete roadblocks. He then showed that tanks that tried to knock them over caused the gelignite to explode and blow a trench too deep for tanks to pass.

Among his many feats, his greatest achievement was at Gibraltar, where under the greatest secrecy, he brought a team of hard rock miners and diamond drillers all of them specialists and all of them Canadian. Their first job was to hollow out the rock to accommodate 12,000 men for two years without any form of reprovisioning. Having achieved that, they went on to build an 1800 yard runway, half of which required a land fill operation in the sea. This allowed control of Gibraltar which was absolutely essential to the success for landing allied forces in North Africa.

In 1943, his feats were recognized by making him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The USA decorated him with membership in the Legion of Merit. By the end of WW2, he had received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for distinguished service equivalent to distinguished service in contact with the enemy.

In 1923, he had married Vera Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M.S. Smith of Dutton ON. They had 5 children; Archie, Keith, Donald Ross, Anne Meryl and June Lucille.