CAMERON, James Gerald

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CAMERON, James Gerald

Enlistment Address

Mendooran, NSW

Service Number

4747

Unit

13th Battalion

Comment

Gilgandra Coo-ee

Fate

RTA

Information

Company Sergeant Major James Gerald Cameron DCM 4747

James was born at Mendooran, in 1892 to John and Mary Cameron and was 23 years old when he enlisted in Gilgandra. The story is told that he attended the farewell ball the night before the Cooee March was to leave Gilgandra. He was swayed by the speeches, so he rode home to Mendooran to tell his family that he was enlisting and then rode back to march with the Cooees to Sydney. He was attested by Captain Nicholas on October 12 1915 at Mogriguy. He was 5’8” tall; 12 stone (76kgs), fair complexion with blue eyes and fair hair and a convex scar on his left shin.

After training at Liverpool, he embarked for Egypt on the ‘Star of England’ on March 8 1916. In Egypt James was made Acting Lance Corporal with the Cyclist Training Battalion after a spell in hospital for mumps.

James arrived in France in June 1916 with the 1st ANZAC Cyclist Battalion and reverted to private. ‘The cyclists were mainly used as despatch riders and they operated similar to cavalry. In September 1916 he was taken on strength with the 45th Battalion and promoted again to Lance Corporal.

He missed the battle at Pozieres and spent the period until March 1917 alternating between duty in the trenches and training and rest behind the lines, first around Ypres in Belgium, and then in the Somme Valley in France. In October 1916 he was in hospital with a displaced cartilage in his right knee, then again in March with a lacerated right hand and frost bite of his left toe. In April 1917 he was admitted to the Kitchener Military Hospital in Brighton, England.

On July 11 1917, James rejoined the 45th Battalion and was promoted to Sergeant. He took part in the major battle near Passchendaele on October 12 1917. Like most AIF battalions, the 45th rotated in and out of the front line throughout the winter of 1917-18.

James had the month of April in England on leave but had rejoined his unit for only a few days when he received a gunshot wound in his left shoulder during action around Villers Brettoneux.. He rejoined the unit on September 13 1918 and on September 18 1918, James was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The citation reads’ For conspicuous gallantry and good work during the attack west of Bellenglise, north of St. Quentin, on the 18th September, 1918. He was Scout Non-commissioned officer. 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 crews. He rushed the crew six of the enemy being killed and fourteen captured. The horses were killed and owing to this the guns were captured.’

James had the month of March 1919 in England on leave left France for good in early April 1919. He returned to Australia May 8 1919 on the ‘Devanha’ and was discharged on August 10 1919.

He was awarded the DCM, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal