Captain John Cameron

Biography of Captain John Cameron

John Cameron was born on the 8th of December 1881 at Prince's Terrace, Kilcreggan, on the Rosneath peninsula. He was the second son of Alexander Cameron, master plumber, and his wife Elizabeth McFie.

Aside from his older brother he had an older sister and three younger sisters. John's father, Alexander, latterly lived at Greenbank, Kilcreggan, till he died in 1928. At the time of his death Alexander was a member of the Cove and Kilcreggan Town Council and a Justice of the Peace for the County of Dunbarton.

John was educated at Kilcreggan School, Lindown Secondary School, and finally at Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh. The daily boat trip across the River Clyde to Hermitage doubtless opened up John's eyes to the wider world, and when he left school in 1898, he departed for London and a clerical job.

John enrolled at Glasgow University in 1901 to study Medicine. His path through the maze of exams was not always smooth, especially in the early stages and he had to take a few attempts to pass his First and Second Professional exams. Thereafter he seems to have settled well to Medicine, and after a final effort to master Surgery, he graduated on 12th April 1909. Initially he worked as a locum throughout the North of England, the West of Scotland and the Isles, but after his marriage in 1911 to Jessie Dryburgh of Dennistoun, Glasgow, the couple moved down to London. A daughter, Betty, was born the following year in Clapham, but sadly Jessie died not long after, in the summer of 1915.

In the autumn of 1915 John enlisted in the Armed Services. Commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps in December 1915 he was initially attached to the 38th Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery, embarking for Africa with the East African Expeditionary Force in January 1916. In September of that year John was moved from the Royal Garrison Artillery to a sixteen month posting with the Kings African Rifles,who at that time were engaged in fighting against the German East African Campaign of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. Whilst we do not know the full details of John's service in East Africa, we do know that he contracted Blackwater Fever while he was there and was lucky to survive. He was promoted to Captain in December 1916, and thirteen months later headed back to Britain from Africa on the hospital ship Dunluce Castle.

From May 1918 till the middle of 1919 John was attached to 74 General Hospital, British Expeditionary Force. Initially located at the Base Hospital at Trouville, Normandy, he subsequently travelled with the British Expeditionary Force as it advanced into Belgium in November 1918. While on leave in Glasgow in late 1918, John met Annie Jackson, an old acquaintance of his brother, and after a whirlwind romance, they married in Glasgow in the spring of 1919. John's brother, Alick (Alexander), had been a pre-war Territorial with the Glasgow Highlanders and had enlisted in the army in August 1914. A Post Office worker by occupation, and a skilled Signaller, he was initially attached to the 1st line of the Lowland Division, and latterly to the Manchester Infantry Brigade, with whom he was serving when he won the Military Cross (MC).

On demobilisation John set up in General Practice in Paddington, London. He returned to Glasgow in 1924 and opened a surgery, firstly in Cranston Street, Anderston, and later in Old Dumbarton Road. On the death of both his father and father-in-law, John and his family again moved down to the London area in 1929, and for the next eight years he ran a medical practice in South Woodford, Essex. The lure of Scotland beckoned again in 1937, however, and John's final move was to a home and surgery at Old Edinburgh Road, Tannochside, Uddingston. It was here that he lived and still practiced till his death on 21st September 1955, aged 73.

Always a keen sportsman, John had been an enthusiastic golfer. He was also President of Thorniewood United Junior Football Club and Life Member of the Lanarkshire Junior Football Association. An interest in boxing had resulted in his being a valuable member of the ringside team of Jackie Paterson, World Flyweight Champion.

A week after his death, his local newspaper, the Bellshill Speaker and Lanarkshire Gazette, published a glowing tribute. The article concluded;

"A man of strong personality, he made his presence felt in the district, and very soon earned for himself the confidence and trust which the family doctor traditionally holds in the life of the community. As a Scot he was intensely proud of his race and its best traditions; perhaps the greatest compliment one could pay his memory would be to say that he was by nature and instinct a true Cameron'forthright in his views, frank in his opinions, sincere and constant in his loyalties."

Dr John Cameron was survived by his wife Annie, their two daughters Moira and Florence, and by Betty, his daughter from his first marriage.



Captain John Cameron
Rank: Captain
Regiment: R.A.M.C.
Degree: M.B.Ch.B
Awards: N/A
Comments: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID:


Biography: Biography contributed by Captain John Cameron's grandson, Christopher Doak

University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records

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