The most highly decorated Coo-ee – James Gerald Cameron

The most highly decorated Coo-ee – James Gerald Cameron

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

Several of the Coo-ees received Military Medals for their acts of bravery during the First World War.  Only one received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Wikipedia, ‘Distinguished Conduct Medal’, King George V Version 1

The Distinguished Conduct Medal, with gave recipients the post nominal letters DCM, was created in 1854 by Queen Victoria and awarded to non-commissioned officers and other ranks of the British Army for distinguished conduct in action in the field, until it was discontinued in 1993.  It was also awarded to non-commissioned military personnel of Commonwealth colonies and dominions.  This award was the second highest award after the Victoria Cross for gallantry in action, and was the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order which was awarded to commissioned officers. [1]

James Gerald Cameron, with the rank of Sergeant at that time, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions on the 18th September 1918 during an attack near Bellenglise, France.  (He later obtained the rank of Company Sergeant Major).

His recommendation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal dated 25th September 1918 is recorded in his military service record, and 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.[2]

Notification of James Gerald Cameron’s award was gazetted in Supplement No. 31225 to The London Gazette, 12th March 1919 (page 3392), and was also published 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 1910, p 191)

Click here to read his full story:


[1] Australian War Memorial, ‘Specimen Distinguished Conduct Medal and Bar’, ; Wikipedia, ‘Distinguished Conduct Medal’,

[2] NAA: B2455, CAMERON J G

2 responses to “The most highly decorated Coo-ee – James Gerald Cameron

  1. My mother Beatrice Richards (nee Cameron) was always so proud of her father and the DCM he won but unfortunately we don’t have the original just a replica. We think it was sold during the depression years. It is still hard to believe how those Coo-ees walked all that way from Gilgandra to Sydney and then joined the war!

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