Tag Archives: James Gerald Cameron

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:

‘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

 “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.

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: https://cooeemarch1915.com/2014/05/01/james-gerald-cameron/

 

[1] Australian War Memorial, ‘Specimen Distinguished Conduct Medal and Bar’, https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM06315.004 ; Wikipedia, ‘Distinguished Conduct Medal’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Conduct_Medal

[2] NAA: B2455, CAMERON J G

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

 

 

The Coo-ees in Liverpool Camp

Transcription of an article titled ‘Route Marches : Gathering of the Clans : The “Cooees” winning praise in camp’  in The Farmer and Settler, 5 January, 1916, p. 3.

‘ROUTE MARCHES.
Gathering of the Clans
THE “COOEES” WINNING PRAISE IN CAMP.

The lying rumors that have been spread — maliciously by enemy sympathisers, without a doubt — concerning the men that took part in the Gilgandra route march render it expedient that a few definite facts should be published to nail the lies like vermin on a barn door.

When the Inspector-General (General McCay) reviewed the troops in training at Liverpool camp the other day, he did the job thoroughly, taking them battalion by battalion, and company by company, criticising severely when the facts called for it, and giving a little carefully measured praise where it was due. When he had seen E company of the 13th Battalion he complimented the commanding officer on the appearance of his men, and said that they were “the steadiest on parade that day.” He did not know until later that E company was the present regimental name of our old friends, the “Coo-ees.” These men from the west had been in camp little more than a month, and the companies they were so flatteringly compared with consisted in some cases of men that had been drilling for three months or more; so the compliment was something for the “Coo-ees” to be proud of.

Another fact suggesting that the time spent in marching to the seaboard is not wasted: On the day of the great “round up” in Sydney, when every man in uniform outside the camps was called upon “to show cause,” the whole force at Liverpool was taken for a fourteen miles forced march over rough roads, on a stifling day under a broiling sun. “The Coo-ees did it smiling, while nearly all the rest were nearer tears” is the way in which an observer illustrates the contrast in condition between the men that had marched over the Blue Mountains and the others. So route marches not only bring the young men of the rural settlements face to face with their duty, but they have some definite value also in fitting men for soldiering.

Now for some statistics: The Coo-ees marched into camp 273 strong, and seven men were added from other units, because of technical knowledge or for other reasons. Of this number, unfortunately, twenty-one failed to pass the severe Liverpool medical test, and sixteen, for medical or disciplinary reasons, have since been transferred to the home defence forces, or have been discharged — not a large proportion to lose in comparison with the camp experience of other units. And although thirty men, at their own request, have been transferred to the Light Horse, it will be seen that the “Coo-ees” column is still substantially intact, an assertion that is further supported by the fact that every non-com. but one in the present E company marched with the column from the west. The company sergeant-major is S. E. Stephens, who, since his service with the first expeditionary force in New Guinea, has been on the “Farmer and Settler” editorial staff; he went to Gilgandra to report the route march for this journal, re-enlisted there, and marched into camp with the column. The platoon sergeants are: H. Davenport, of Wongarbon; L. R. Anlezark, of Orange; T. W. Dowd. of Wongarbon; and E. S. Taylour, of Wentworthville. Corporals: C. H. Maidens, of Molong; W. W. Smith, of Geurie; J. E. L. Hourigan of Parramatta; J. G. Cameron, of Gilgandra; J. McKeown, of Gilgandra; and Pay Corporal J. C. Gilmour, of Coonamble. Others of the men gathered in on that first route march are qualifying for the non-com. class; but unfortunately, as the “Coo-ees” are reinforcements for a battalion already at the front, and not part of a new battalion, these ranks may be only temporary. How well, on the whole, the “Coo-ees” are behaving, and how quickly they are assimilating the lessons to be learned at Liverpool is evidenced by the fact, that although they only marched into camp on November 14th, a fairly big draft has already been made upon E company to make up the 14th reinforcements for the battalion at the front.

The next time that the story is whispered that the “Coo-ees” proved to be a bad lot, the readers of the “Farmer and Settler” will be able to say that they know better; that the “Coo-ees” are the pride of their company officers, have been complimented by General McCay, came smiling out of a forced march, have lost very few men through misbehavior, and are getting fit so rapidly that they will very shortly all be in Europe putting fresh battle names on the proud colors of the “Fighting Thirteenth.”’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116676486