Civil engineer Walter Campbell was one of four sons of the Very Reverend Richard Stuart Dobbs Campbell, the one-time Dean of Clonmacnoise, County Offaly. Walter attended Marlborough College, and then went to Dublin University. He played hockey at university and gained selection for the Irish team at the 1908 London Olympics. He played in both of Ireland’s matches at the White City; the 3-1 semi-final win over Wales, and then the 8-1 defeat by England in the final. During World War I, Campbell served with the Corps of the Royal Engineers.