1918 birthday card for James Gerald Cameron

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.

Birthday card presented to James Gerald Cameron, 23rd December 1918 (Photograph courtesy of the Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society)

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.[1]

The card read:


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

 “Cobber” Jim.

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.

‘Group portrait of the 45th Battalion on parade in the snow at Peronne on Boxing Day 1917’ (AWM E01548 26/12/1917)

[1] ‘Memories of a Coo-ee’, The Gilgandra Weekly, 2 November 1983, p. 7.

2 responses to “1918 birthday card for James Gerald Cameron

  1. Thanks for posting the “1918 birthday card”, Helen. I remember reading it years ago but didn’t have a copy. You are doing a wonderful job in researching all the history on the Coo-ees!

    • Hi Julie
      I am pleased that you had the opportunity to read the actual birthday card. The men who put their name to it obviously thought a lot of him. Its great that he had such great mates.
      Kind regards

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