Sir Maurice Alexander Cameron, K. C. M. G.

Sir Maurice Alexander Cameron, K. C. M. G.

Male 1855 - 1936  (80 years)

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  • Name Maurice Alexander Cameron 
    Prefix Sir 
    Suffix K. C. M. G. 
    Born 30 Nov 1855  Stirling, SCOTLAND Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 16 May 1936 
    Person ID I2330  Fassifern Direct
    Last Modified 12 Nov 2011 

    Father Lt.-Col. Alexander Cameron, CB,   b. Abt 22 Sep 1814, Kilmallie, Argyll, SCOTLAND Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Aug 1857, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 42 years) 
    Mother Caroline Laura Ashworth,   b. 17 Sep 1820, Oporto, Galicia, Spain Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Dec 1907, Shirley Hall, Southampton, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 6 Apr 1847  Lymington, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F775  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Ethel Georgina Ancrum,   b. 1866, Gloucestershire, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1903, Kensington, London, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 37 years) 
    Married 1894  Gloucestershire, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Ewen Arthur Cameron,   b. 1 Jun 1895, London, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Dec 1915, Ypres (KIA) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 20 years)
     2. Lt.-Gen. Sir Alexander Maurice Cameron,   b. 30 May 1898, Kensington, London, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1986, Nottingham, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
     3. John Ancrum Cameron,   b. 27 Aug 1903, 27 Brunswick Gardens, Kensington, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Aug 1996, Bromyard, Herefordshire Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 92 years)
    Last Modified 7 Sep 2010 
    Family ID F1102  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Francis Mary Perkins,   b. 1868,   d. 1959, Hampshire, ENGLAND Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 91 years) 
    Married 1 Jan 1920  Cranley Gardens, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 7 Sep 2010 
    Family ID F1106  Group Sheet

  • Documents
    Marriage 1 - Register Listing
    Marriage 1 - Register Listing
    Marriage Banns
    Marriage 2nd

  • Notes 
    • Major Sir Maurice Alexander Cameron, K.C.M.G., the father of John Ancrum Cameron, died on 16th May 1936. The following Memoir was published in the Royal Engineers Journal [57].
      His grandfather, John of Auchnasaul, who was instrumental in raising the 79th Cameron Highlanders, was one of the Glen Nevis Camerons, who trace their descent from an early Lochiel. His father, Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Cameron, C.B., 42nd Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch), was stationed at Stirling when Maurice Cameron, the youngest of four children, was born in the castle on 30th November, 1855. Cameron had no recollection of his father, who commanded the regiment during the Indian Mutiny and died of wounds received at Bareilly on 9th August, 1858. Since then all members of the family have gone into one of the fighting services.
      Cameron's first school was that of Mr. Downes, at Brighton, where he developed the passion for sailing, which endured all his life. After Easter, 1869, he went to Wellington, then under Dr. E. W. Benson, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Here he did well; a faded scrap among his papers shows that during his four years at the college he won no fewer than 25 prizes, the majority for mathematics and geometrical drawing, and also the Modem Exhibition. At Christmas, 1873, he passed first into Woolwich, and joined the following March. Here he maintained his record, passing out first and being awarded both the Sword of Honour and the Pollock Medal. A member of his batch was the Prince Imperial, with whom Cameron became friends; he used to visit the Empress Eugenie and her ill-fated son at weekends at Chislehurst. He looked back with unmixed pleasure on his two years at Woolwich, where Sir Lintorn Simmons had recently carried out a number of reforms. In April, 1875, he was commissioned and joined at Chatham, where he went through the usual courses, among which were a construction tour which extended as far north as Sheffield and Bradford, and a geological tour in the north of Ireland. He found much to interest him in these, but their attractions palled before those of submarine mining, in which he took a long course in the summer of 1877.
      While at Chatham all his spare time was devoted to sailing and music, his real interests apart from his work. The R.E. Yacht Club owned, among others, the 13-ton schooner Violet, in which he made long cruises across the Channel when leave permitted, and the 9-ton yawl «i»Nelly, «/i»used for racing and occasional cruising. By the time he left he had gained considerable experience in sailing under varied conditions. Early in 1878, being then at Pembroke Dock with his section of the 33rd Submarine Mining Company, he bought his first vessel, the «i»Toggle. «/i»In this boat, a 4-ton yawl, he did a great deal of cruising to Tenby, Ilfracombe and other-places, generally single-handed. Here it may be noticed that in 1879«b» «/b»he passed the Board of Trade examination for his certificate as Master Mariner.
      In the autumn of 1878, he was ordered to London to edit the new War Office «i»Manual of Submarine Mining. «/i»Most of this he wrote up from notes and papers; he also designed and drew many of the plates, a responsible task for a young officer of only four years' service, and proof of the opinion held of him by seniors.
      As for his other dominant interest - music, as a subaltern at Chatham he would go to a concert in the afternoon and then directly on to an opera at Covent Garden. When he came to London, he had more opportunity to gratify his love of music, went to all concerts of note, and particularly enjoyed quartets at the houses of musical friends. He had taught himself the piano and later took singing lessons, but never had time to reach the standards he set himself.
      Work on the «i»Submarine Mining Manual «/i»completed, he was kept on at the War Office as "odd job " man. Among missions entrusted to him in this capacity was a visit to Portsmouth to take charge of the then new arc searchlights, with which experiments were being made in connection with submarine mining. Another was to Antwerp with a naval officer to see an early form of torpedo on which the two were unable to make a good report.
      He was still at the War Office in the summer of 188o, when the 33rd Submarine Mining Company, to which he nominally belonged, was ordered to Malta, and his application to go with it succeeded. Appointed Adjutant R.E. on arrival, his work on submarine mining came to an end for the time being. He enjoyed the outdoor part of the adjutant's business more than the office. Bathing and music were his principal enjoyments at Malta. He wanted a boat and, cash being short, he resorted to the expedient of building a canoe himself, the building yard being the flat roof of the house shared with other R.E. subalterns. The vessel was not«b» «/b»completed when he was ordered to Ceylon, and a projected voyage in her to Sicily was perforce abandoned.
      After two months' leave spent in Ireland, he sailed for the East, and was posted to Trincomalee. Here, with five Europeans, he carried on submarine mining, his force strengthened as required by natives, who proved apt pupils. When his immediate Chief left in 1882, he remained in charge of the district in addition to his submarine mining work. He had brought the unfinished canoe with him, and, having now completed it, made many excursions both by sea and river, eventually contracting fever by exposure in creeks and swamps where mosquitoes swarmed.
      After some eighteen months of peaceful and enjoyable work at Trincomalee, he was ordered to Singapore where he arrived in May, 1883. Singapore offered advantages over the station he had left, not the least of these being the larger and more varied society. He was also on his own, there being no other Sapper officer nearer than Hong Kong. He could thus carry on as seemed good to him. The submarine-mining practice over, he was sent on a tour of sites where it was proposed to build forts, an occupation, which lasted till the end of the year. He then accepted the post of Deputy Colonial Engineer and Surveyor-General in Penang, whither he went in December to enter upon a new phase of life. Works of various kinds were in progress-hospitals, police stations and rest houses, scattered all over Penang Island and Province Wellesley. He also had charge of all the roads, other than municipal, in both territories, and there were important Government buildings in Georgetown to be designed. It was a strenuous time. For the first six months he toiled night and day, Sundays included; then he began to feel his feet.
      The several tasks before him were greatly to his taste, and what he appreciated was the independence of his position. There were no Regulations, no returns, and none of the formalities which are necessary in the Service. He found this freedom a very agreeable change. The most important work done at Penang was the reclamation of the sea front of the town. This involved the erection of about a mile of sea wall, which had to be built on precarious mud foundations. The foundations could be laid only at low spring tides, a circumstance which compelled unceasing vigilance at unseasonable hours, and was a lasting source of anxiety. The undertaking which Cameron found most enjoyable was the construction of a hill road. round the south of the island -interesting work from the engineer's point of view, and through very beautiful scenery.
      His congenial work at Penang was abruptly though temporarily checked by a summons to Singapore to assume charge of the submarine defences in view of the Russian war scare arising out of the Penjdeh incident. The crisis passed, and in April, 1888, he took three months' leave to pay a visit to Australia. Returning to Singapore, he remained there as Colonial Engineer, and was chiefly engaged on the construction of forts for the defence of the port. As Colonial Engineer, he was «i»ex officio «/i»a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, whereby work of very different nature fell to him. From time to time he went up to Penang in connection with the building on reclaimed land of a large block of Government offices. The nature of the site compelled exceptional care in laying the foundations, and entailed more thought and anxiety than any work for which he was responsible during his service.
      In January, 1888, he left Singapore for home on twelve months' leave much of which he spent cruising in the chartered 14-ton yawl «i»Dione. «/i»In March, 1889, he was back in Penang, where, apart from the erection of a new Governor's House on Penang Hill, there was no construction work of much interest to him. That house was a novelty in the Straits, being built of granite, quarried locally as being cheaper than brick carried up from the low country.
      In 1890, he was struck off P.W.D. duty, his services being required as chairman of a Commission to investigate the conditions of imported Chinese and Indian labour. This involved travel through the Malay States, visiting numerous properties, a task which he found interesting and instructive. The Commission's Report completed, he took leave and went to Japan, which he thoroughly enjoyed; then back to Penang and more road-making, this time through country even more lovely than that«b» «/b»opened up by the hill road before mentioned.
      In 1891,«b» «/b»money was running short and much building and other work was suspended, and Cameron, disinclined to stay for mere maintenance work, applied to go Home, and left in February, 1892, when his successor arrived. He always looked back on his nine years in the Straits with unqualified pleasure. After shaking off the fever contracted at Trincomalee, he was always well; life was interesting, often amusing; he made lasting friendships, and if his appetite for music was not satisfied, he found a refuge in poker at night, and in golf by day.
      In April, 1892, he«b» «/b»was appointed Division Officer for Dover Castle and Canterbury, also having charge of the District north of the former station. Exploration of the «i»penetralia «/i»of the old castle interested him, but on the whole he did not greatly care for the work after the active and responsible business he had done in the Straits. In 1894, he was promoted major and the following year he was ordered to join the Designs Branch of the War Office. His stay there was brief; within a few months he was offered, and accepted, the post of Third Crown Agent for the Colonies, an appointment for which his abilities and experience peculiarly fitted him; moreover, in the Crown Agents' office he enjoyed the freedom from red tape which had done so much to commend his work in Penang. The establishment was one of growing importance; when he joined the staff consisted of 44 men; when he retired as First Crown Agent, in 1920,«b» «/b»it numbered about 630.
      At this time he seized every opportunity of cruising. He kept his yacht, first the «i»Doris, «/i»a yawl of about 23 tons, then the «i»Peggotty, a«/i» 50-ton schooner, at Tollesbury in Essex, and in the latter vessel made longer sea trips than of yore, visiting the Shetlands, the Dutch coast, Kiel and Castletownshend, a haunt of his early days on the Cork coast. Some of his trips were a source of anxiety to his friends, as, for example, when returning from Holland, the «i»Doris «/i»lay hove-to for 48 hours in a gale, unduly delaying his arrival home. He was elected a member of the Royal Cruising Club in 1913, and ten years later became Hon. Treasurer, retaining that office until he resigned in 1933, when he was made an honorary member of the club in recognition of his many services.
      Cameron was a man to whom idleness was irksome, almost impossible, and when his term of office as Crown Agent drew near its close, he cast about him for other spheres of work. He found one in the Professional Classes Aid Council, joining the Case and Executive Committees, on which his advice and sound judgment were of the greatest value, ultimately succeeding Major Leonard Darwin as President. While health lasted he was a regular attendant at Committee meetings, both while resident in London and after his move to Liss in Hampshire.
      He also found scope for his activities in the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which made natural appeal to one of his tastes. Lt.-Colonel C. R. Satterthwaite, the Secretary, sends the following:
      «i»"Sir Maurice Cameron joined the Committee of Management in 1921,«b» «/b»and was elected a Vice-President in 1933. He came to the Lifeboat Service with a wide experience as a yachtsman, and his engineering knowledge was of the greatest value in the many problems with which the Institution is faced from time to time; but, beyond all his technical qualifications, he brought good humour, sympathy and understanding. He was an ideal Committee member, and much of the organization of the Institution today is built up on lines suggested by him. All who worked with him feel that in his passing they have lost a very dear old friend."«/i»
      Cameron married in 1894, Miss Ethel Ancrum, the sister of his greatest friend, Arthur R. Ancrum, who joined the Sappers with him and died in the Afghan Campaign of 1879. They settled in Brunswick Gardens, and there his three sons were born: in 1895, Ewen Arthur, who joined the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in Flanders just before Christmas, 1915; in 1898, Alexander Maurice, and in 1903, John Ancrum, both of whom have followed in the footsteps of their father and two uncles, and entered the Royal Engineers. Mrs. Cameron died in 1903. Seventeen years later, Cameron married Miss Francis Perkins, like himself an ardent lover of music. They then lived in Bedford Gardens, but a few years later moved to Forest Brow at Liss. There he died at the age of 80 on 16th May, 1936, after illness following an operation.
      He received the C.M.G. in 1900, and was promoted to Knight Commander of the Order in 1914.
      Physically as well as mentally Cameron was richly endowed. Six feet two inches in height and perfectly proportioned, he was handsome in age as he had been in the fullness of his manhood. Of his abilities and mental gifts, his career is the best witness. To his friends - and it was his enviable faculty to make a friend of anyone who was brought in contact with him - the quality that impressed was his frank enjoyment of life, due to that happy nature which sees the best in men and things. Of none can it be more truly said, in the words of Savage Landor, that "he warmed both hands before the fire of life."

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