Thomas Cameron CH/7630

Many thanks to Debbie Cameron for the information relating to her Grandfather. Further details can be found at Historical Musings which also describes the struggles of Debbie's Grandmother to keep the family together after the loss of Thomas.
Royal Naval Division .info Thomas Cameron CH/7630
Thomas Cameron

My grandfather Thomas Cameron, was born in 1874 in Lambeth and joined the Royal Marines in 1893. He joined for 12 years. In that time the boy from Lambeth went all round the world including several years in HMS Pylades in Australia we think. After leaving he married Emily Potter. Emily was born on February 2nd 1877 also in Lambeth, London.
Royal Naval Division .info HMS Pylades crew in Australia
This is the Pylades ?crew in Oz Good old Tom is the only one seated! I'm assuming some were from the Pylades but some are wearing civvies? And the blur at the front are children I think It's a puzzle where this is?! A bar?!

Thomas and Emily had four young sons when he died, one was my father, John (Jack) who was 6. The boys were all under 8.

After leaving the Marines, he worked at Nine Elms and Clapham Junction and had just been promoted to a signal man in 1914, his pay increasing to 26/- a week. However, as a member of the Royal Marine Reserve Brigade, at the outbreak of war Thomas quickly rejoined and embarked for France. He took part in the defence of Antwerp during which, he went out on patrol and was shot in the head. He survived and was brought back to England but died on his 40th birthday on October 20th 1914.

Royal Naval Division .info HMS Pylades football team
HMS Pylades football team. Thomas front row second from the right, Lt. Rutherford left front row.

Among the items that I have that belonged to my father, is a letter that my grandmother received from Lt (later Capt) George Rutherford to my grandmother. He was Thomas's CO and they had served together in the Pylades.

It was with deepest sorrow that I heard of the death of your late husband I think you will be glad to know that I have known your late husband since 1899, and during all that time I have always had a very high opinion of him as a Royal Marine and a man. On the "Pylades" he was a splendid shipmate, always cheerful, took part in all our sports and generally played the game. During our short period of active service he proved himself the same. I commanded his company and I had such confidence in him that I only had him with me at all times when I visited my outposts and trenches. His conversation and movements under shell fire proved him to be extremely cool and a brave man. I have no hesitation in saying he was one of the best among some splendid comrades. I send my sincerest sympathy and also my wife wishes to join me in the same. I hope things will not be too hard for you to bear and that bright times will come again for you and yours.
Yours in sincerest sympathy,
G Rutherford Lieut. RM

Even more heart breaking, is the letter I have that Thomas wrote to my grandmother. Displaced twice from field hospitals in the chaos that was Antwerp, he was finally admitted to HASLAR Portsmouth. When my grandmother got the letter, he had already died. He had lovely handwriting normally. This is scrawled all over the pages, showing how desperate things were for him. And yet it is excellently punctuated and he was very much aware of how he had been wounded and had arrived at HASLAR. It is utterly heart breaking.

My Dearest Em
I suppose you will be surprised when you get this letter and to hear I am in England again. I got hurt a bit at Antwerp and I came over with a batch of wounded on Tuesday night. Of course it would not be my luck to get sent to an hospital near home but if I were you I would go and see that Sunday school teacher of Tommy's and I may get transferred. I got hit in the head with a shell. It is going on alright.
Xxxxxxxxxx for all

Royal Naval Division .info Comparsion of Thomas Cameron's handwriting before and after his wound
The change to Thomas' handwriting after receiving his wound


Royal Naval Division .info Thomas Cameron funeral report
Newspaper funeral report
He died on his 40th birthday, still in Portsmouth and left 4 boys. However someone must have paid for his body to come home as he's buried in Wandsworth. There was no headstone but I contacted the commonwealth war commission in 1999 and they erected a proper one for him. My grandmother was extremely poor and I assume she could not afford a headstone at the time and it was before even the Imperial War Grave Commission was set up.

Royal Naval Division .info family of Thomas Cameron Royal Naval Division .info Thomas Cameron's sons Royal Naval Division .info James Cameron
Emily and her four sons, Thomas, John, Richard and James. Believed to have been taken at Thomas' funeral
The sons as young men
John, seated left, married later in life choosing to care for Emily
James Cameron
Killed at El Alamein

Royal Naval Division .info Thomas Cameron's funeral invoice
Thomas' funeral invoice

Thomas Cameron died 20/10/14 on his 40th birthday. DOW received at the siege of Antwerp. RIP

Enlisted London 27/12/1893 ; Discharged 'Free' on transfer to RFR 4/8/1905 ; Chatham Bn. at Dunkirk 20/9/14-2/10/14 & Defence of Antwerp 3-9/10/14 ; RM Brigade 12/9/14-20/10/14 DD

My grandmother struggled to keep the family together, but she did it with extremely hard work.

The graves of Thomas and Emily Cameron
Royal Naval Division .info Thomas Cameron's grave Royal Naval Division .info Emily Cameron's grave
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