1918 birthday card for James Gerald Cameron
A ‘birthday card’ was presented to Company Sergeant Major James Gerald Cameron by twelve members of the Sergeant’s Mess of A Company, 45th Battalion, at Hastiere-Levaux, Belgium, on December 23rd 1918.
It was made of four sheets of writing paper joined together, on cardboard, and was donated by his daughter Mrs Beatrice Richards to the Gilgandra Museum and Historical Society in 1983.
The card read:
‘TO OUR COBBER
4747 C.S.M. Cameron J.
Side by side we fought together
Without dreaming, Jim, of fate
And we shared each others troubles
Or tried to, Jim, at any rate.
And now comes the time for pleasure
Your birthday we are keeping up
Although the whiskey bottle’s empty
We have some beer to fill us up.
You remember, Jim, last Xmas
At Peronne in all the snow
How we drank your birthday honours
And our hearts were all aglow.
Sadder times we’ve seen since them, Jim,
Lots of old boys have gone west
Fighting for their Country’s freedom
We have lost some of our best.
But this year has brought us gladness
And we live in peace once more
So we’ll celebrate your birthday
Better than we’ve done before.
So in closing, lads, I ask you
To charge your glasses to the brim
Let’s get full on this occasion
Best of luck lads
With best wishes for a bright and happy birthday
From ‘A’ Coy 45th Btln Sergts Mess
Hastiere Woux, Belgium December 23rd 1918.’
The names of the 12 sergeants are listed on the card. Two of the sergeants named were Coo-ees:
4745 Sgt S. R. Carver (who joined the Coo-ee March in the Blue Mountains) and 4787 J. E. Hourigan (who joined at Parramatta).
This photograph below is captioned ‘group portrait of the 45th Battalion on parade in the snow at Peronne on Boxing Day 1917’ in the Australian War Memorial collection. The birthday card mentioned that the men drank his ‘birthday honours’ last Christmas ‘at Peronne in all the snow’. The 45th Battalion was stationed at Haut Allaines camp near Peronne in late December 1917.
 ‘Memories of a Coo-ee’, The Gilgandra Weekly, 2 November 1983, p. 7.