James Gerald CAMERON

James Gerald CAMERON (DCM)

James Gerald Cameron (Photograph courtesy of his grandson Dennis Richards)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4747), James Gerald Cameron was born at Mundooran, N.S.W.[1]  [Mundooran was later renamed Mendooran]. He gave his age as 23 years and 9 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as farmer.  His description on his medical was height 5 feet 8 inches tall, weight 12 stone 11 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Presbyterian.  He completed his medical on the 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra, but was not attested by Captain Nicholas until the 12th October 1915 at Mogriguy. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

On his embarkation roll his address as time of enrolment was Mundooran, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as father, J. A. Cameron, Mundooran, N.S.W.

James Cameron’s experience in joining the march at Gilgandra was reported in The Farmer and Settler :

‘One of the men in the big march – Cameron – happened to attend the meeting at Gilgandra on the Friday night before starting day. Moved by Private Lee’s eloquence, he handed in his name. He then rode home forty miles to tell his people of the step he had taken, and, after riding forty miles back, was ready to take his place with his new comrades on the Sunday morning’.[2]

After completing the march he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

Private Cameron departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England on the 8th March 1916 bound for Egypt.

On 12th April 1916 he was admitted to the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital at Tel El Kebir, Egypt suffering from Mumps.

On  18th May 1916 he transferred to the 4th Division Cyclist Training Corps.

Private Cameron left Alexandria on the Huntspill on 8th June 1916, arriving in Marseilles on the 14th June 1916.

On the 9th July 1916 he transferred to the 1st ANZAC Cyclist Battalion, then on the 26th August 1916 he was transferred to the 45th Battalion, missing the battles on the Somme, and joining the Battalion at the time they were moving to Belgium. On the 5th September 1916 he was appointed Lance Corporal.

On 10th October 1916 Lance Corporal Cameron was accidentally injured suffering a dislodged cartilage to his right knee. He was sent to the 12th Australian Field Ambulance, then on 11th October 1916 he was transferred to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station, then to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station. On 12th October 1916 he was placed aboard the 1st Ambulance Train and sent to the 8th Stationary Hospital at Wimereux, France. He was discharged and rejoined the Battalion on 19th October 1916.

He was promoted to Temporary Corporal on 11th December 1916.

On 27th March 1917 Temporary Corporal Cameron was again accidentally injured suffering a laceration to his right hand. He was sent to the 12th Australian Casualty Clearing Station, then on 31st March he was transferred to the 1st/1st Casualty Clearing Station.  He reverted to the rank of Lance Corporal while he was in hospital.

On 4th April 1917 he was admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne, France.

On 6th April 1917 he was promoted to Corporal.

On 7th April 1917 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Princess Elizabeth for evacuation to England. He was admitted to the Kitchener Military Hospital at Brighton in England later that day.

He was discharged from hospital on 21st April 1917 and granted leave to report to the No. 1 Command Depot at Perham Downs in England on 7th May 1917.

On 25th June 1917 Corporal Cameron departed Southampton, England, bound for France. He marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve on 26th June 1917.

He rejoined the 45th Battalion on 14th July 1917 when it was resting and reorganising at Kortepyp Camp, Belgium after being in action around Messines.

On the 25th August 1917 he was promoted to Sergeant.

On 21st March 1918 he was granted leave to England. He rejoined the 45th Battalion in France on 6th April 1918.

On 2nd May 1918 Sergeant Cameron received a gunshot wound to his left shoulder during fighting around Villers Bretonneux. He was sent to the 12th Australian Field Ambulance. On 3rd of May 1918 he was evacuated to the 61st Casualty Clearing Station. On 4th May 1918 he was admitted to the 1st Canadian General Hospital. On 6th May 1918 he was placed aboard the hospital Ship Ville De Liege and evacuated to England. He was admitted to the High Barnet Military Hospital in London later that day.

On 21st May 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, England.

On 23rd May 1918 he was granted leave to report to the No. 1 Command Depot at Perham Downs, England, on 6th June 1918.

On  5th June 1918 Sergeant Cameron  was admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford, England sick. He was discharged on 13th July 1918.

On 6th September 1918 Sergeant Cameron departed Folkestone, England, bound for France. He marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve, France on  9th September 1918.

He rejoined his Battalion on 13th September 1918 when it was Poeuilly, France.

For his actions on the 18th September 1918 during an attack near Bellenglise, France, Sergeant Cameron recommended for, and subsequently awarded, a Distinguished Conduct Medal. The recommendation dated 25th September 1918 in his military service record reads: ‘For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the attack west of Bellenglise on the 18th September 1918. He was scout N.C.O. On the Battalion reaching the objective he took forward an exploiting patrol with a Lewis gun. He came in touch with three 5.9. Howitzers and their crew. He rushed the crews, six of the enemy being killed and 14 captured. The horses were killed and owing to this the guns were captured.

Notification of his award was announced in Supplement No. 31225 to The London Gazette, 12th March 1919 (page 3392), and was also promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 17th June 1919 (page 1012).

The citation below for his Distinguished Conduct Medal was published in Supplement No. 31668 to The London Gazette, 2nd December 1919 (page 14907), and also in The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. 20, 19th February 1920 (page 191).

‘Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal … Cameron, No. 4747 Sergeant J. G., 45th Battalion’ (The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 19th February 1920, p 191)

On 23th October 1918 he was appointed Temporary Company Sergeant Major. He was promoted to Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 2) on 8th November 1918.

On 3rd February 1919 Company Sergeant Major Cameron was granted leave to England.  He rejoined the 45th Battalion on 25th March 1919.

On 10th April 1919 Company Sergeant Major Cameron departed Le Harve bound for England, to commence his return to Australia. He landed at Southampton on 11th April 1919 and marched into the No. 6 Camp at Sutton Veny, England.

Company Sergeant Major Cameron departed England aboard the HT Devanha on 8th May 1919 bound for Australia.

He arrived at Sydney on 26th June 1919. He was discharged Termination of Period of Enlistment on  10th August 1919.


[1] NAA: B2455, CAMERON J G

[2] ‘Eighty miles to enlist’, The Farmer and Settler, 19 October, 1915, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116648908



15 responses to “James Gerald CAMERON

  1. My mother talked fondly of her Uncle and told us many stories of how the town was so proud of my great Uncle. Hoping to come to Gilgandra in 2015. My mothers name was Ivy Cameron and she was the duaghter of Tom Cameron who leased the Railway Hotel

  2. Dianne kenney

    Hi Dianne. My name is Dianne too I’ve been searching for two years now for long lost ancesers. James and Jesse where my grand parents my mother Mary was his youngest child . Please email me so we can talk some more. I’m so very excited over finding this site

  3. Margaret Pauling

    My initial search and interest in the KOOKABURRA MARCH was because of my grandfather, George Andrew SNODGRASS.

    From the list of names on the plaque I also found CAMERON J.

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Lila Beatrice CAMERON hence prompting further searching. Her brothers names were: JOHN, THOMAS, JAMES and EDWARD. For the record her sisters were: ANNIE, MARTHA, SARA and REBEKKAH.

    From what I read here James was in the Coo-ee March. From your searches have you ever learned of the CAMERON J in the KOOKABURRA MARCH.

    • Hi Margaret
      I have looked at the book The Kookaburra March through Mendooran & Dunedoo by Roy Cameron (1996), and noted he mentioned “Although a local newspaper item says that a J. Cameron joined the Kookaburras at Mendooran, no trace can be found of such a person. At first it was thought that it might be John Allen James Cameron (16/7/1885-16/10/1940), who was the brother of James Gerald Sullivan Cameron, a “Cooee Marcher”, but this proved to be incorrect, as this person did not enlist in the First World War”. Looking at the newspaper articles of the time, I note a J. Cameron’s name is mentioned in a send off that occured on the 8th January 1916 to the ‘Mundooran Vounteers'(Mudgee Guardian, 13/1/1916, p. 18 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article156946899) in which “Mr. Cameron gave the lie direct to certain rumours as to the conduct of the “Coo-ees” on the march…” which therefore appears to be Coo-ee James Gerald Cameron at home in Mendooran on leave who was present at this send off which was held before the Kookaburra March arrived in Mendooran. There is only a James Cameron on the Mendooran Roll of Honour http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article156949992 so it appears there may not have been any J. Cameron on the Kookaburra March.

  4. Dennis Richards

    Jim Cameron was my grandfather. He married Jesse May Fenton from Gilgandra and had 6 children. Jean, Beatrice, Max, Arnold, John and Mary, all now deceased. Jim died in 1946 of a heart attack in Queenscliff Victoria. Jim was a true hero to all in our family, his exploits proudly told to us by our Mother Beatrice over the years. As his first grandchild, I knew him briefly as I was told he hardly left my side when I was a toddler. I have no memory of this of course but his legend lives on. I have his DCM and other medals and his official WW1 portrait hangs proudly in my study.

  5. Hi Helen,

    The book on James Gerald Cameron has been published and I have several copies. So if you would like a copy please let me know. My brother Dennis and I will be at the Coo-ee March Re-enactment in Gilgandra on Saturday, 17 October. 2015.

    Julie Harris

    • Hi Julie
      I would like to buy a copy. I will be at the start of the Coo-ee March 2015 Re-enactment next Saturday, but may not see you there. If not, I will contact you by email after the end of the march.

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