Campbell, Sir John (1862–1929), surgeon and MP, was born in 1862, the eldest son of Robert Campbell (d. 1894), non-subscribing presbyterian minister at Templepatrick, Co. Antrim, and his wife, née Simpson, of Cogry, Ballyclare. He attended school at Holywood, Co. Down, and at the RBAI before becoming a student at QCB in 1880. The first-class BA he obtained in 1883 was the first to be awarded by the newly established RUI. It was followed by an MA (also first-class) in 1884 and an MD, M.Ch. and MAO in 1887. Campbell obtained practical experience of medicine at the London Hospital and at the Rotunda Lying-In Hospital, Dublin. He also studied in Paris, Vienna, Munich, Heidelberg and Bonn, and did some teaching at Queen's College, Belfast.
He became a member of the English Royal College of Surgeons in 1888 and a fellow in 1891. His first major post was as assistant surgeon at the Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, in 1891–2. It was followed by the posts of senior surgeon at the Samaritan Hospital for Women, Belfast, and consulting surgeon at the Belfast maternity hospital from 1893. During the first world war he was a surgeon at a British Red Cross hospital in France. Campbell was said to have been ‘probably the first in all Ireland to operate for perforated ulcer of the stomach’. He was a lecturer at QCB, and examiner to its parent body, the RUI. He was author of articles on obstetrics published in medical journals, and of two books, Clinical gynaecology (1908) and Obstetrics and gynaecology: a textbook of treatment (1908). He also wrote A short history of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland (1914).
Campbell was a member of the senate of the RUI, president of its graduates’ association and, at the dissolution of the university in 1909, he was awarded an honorary LLD. Later he was chairman of the convocation of the newly created university, QUB. At the first elections to the new Northern Ireland parliament in 1921, he was one of four unionist candidates returned (unopposed) to represent Queen's. He was created knight bachelor in 1925 and remained an MP until a few months before his death, which occurred on 31 August 1929 at his home, Culloden, Craigavad, Co. Down. Campbell married in 1902 Emily Frances, daughter of William Wallace Chestnut (d. 1888), presbyterian minister at Tralee, Co. Kerry. They had three sons. A brother, Robert, also a fellow of the English Royal College of Surgeons, was surgeon to the Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.