Katharine Campbell

Dr Katharine Campbell is currently working on the first biography of her late father Sholto (Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Douglas of Kirtleside), with special emphasis on her father’s lifelong battle with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was trained as a neuroscientist, having completed an MSc in Biomedical Sciences Research (with distinction) at King’s College and University College London (UCL), followed by a PhD in Neuroscience at UCL. Subsequently, she worked for many years as a postdoctoral neurophysiologist on the development of pain processing in human infants, during which time she published a number of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. She completed a six-month course in biography and autobiography with the Guardian and the University of East Anglia in 2012.

As a result of her research on her father, she has been asked to write articles for Christ Church College Oxford, the International Brigades Memorial Trust, the RAF Museum and 43 Fighter Squadron RAF, and was invited to appear in the BBC documentary Fighting for King and Empire, Britain’s Caribbean Heroes, in which she spoke about her father’s support of Afro-Caribbean servicemen and women. In the autumn of 2017, she was asked by the cultural department of the city of Paderborn in Germany to speak at the opening of a large exhibition, Briten in Westfalen, about her father’s role as Military Governor of the British Zone, and while there she was interviewed by the British Forces Broadcasting Service. She was also commissioned to write a chapter in a book, A Cherry Dress, which was published in December 2017 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, about her father’s half-brother Donald’s wife, Anita Bild, an Austrian Jewish refugee whom he married in 1939 to save her from deportation. The book was launched to an enthusiastic reception in Vienna in January 2018, and has received very favourable reviews. She is invited to all major RAF events, including its Centenary Service in Westminster Abbey in 2018, when she led the prayers and was interviewed by the BBC. She has rewarding collaborations with historians in France, Germany, Austria, Poland and the UK, and with leading experts on PTSD in Australia and the Netherlands.

Katharine was shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Prize in 2018.