The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (434868) Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.56
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 25 February 2017
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (434868) Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

434868 Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
KIA 3 March 1945
Photograph: P07035.001

Story delivered 25 February 2017

Today we pay tribute to Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, who was killed on active service during the Second World War.

Born in Adelaide on 7 November 1913, Charles Cameron was the son of Daniel and Margaret Cameron. Before the outbreak of the Second World War he was working as a lorry driver and storeman. On 1 June 1940 he married Eileen Vera, and nine days later enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force. Posted to the 2/9th Field Regiment, Cameron commenced training at Ingleburn and Holsworthy in New South Wales.

In April 1941 the 2/9th Field Regiment embarked for overseas service, arriving in the Middle East the following month. Shortly afterwards, Cameron received news that his wife had given birth to a daughter, Joyce Marie.

Cameron served in the Middle East for the rest of the year, and in early 1942 the regiment was recalled to Australia following Japan’s entry into the war. During this period Cameron was in and out of hospital with malaria. He returned to his unit in June 1942 and got into disciplinary trouble and was court-martialled for disobeying a command.

In February 1943 Cameron requested a discharge from the AIF so he could enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force. He joined the RAAF on 2 March 1943 and commenced training to become an air-gunner. He completed his course at the No. 1 Bombing and Air Gunner School at Evans Head, and was commissioned as a pilot officer.
During this period Cameron’s wife gave birth to their second child, Renee, on 23 June 1943.

In November 1943 Cameron embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Cameron was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who joined squadrons based in Britain throughout the course of the war. He was eventually assigned to the crew of Squadron Leader Eric Le Page Langlois, learning to fly the four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bombers at No. 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit. The crew was later assigned to No. 463 Squadron, an Australian heavy bomber squadron serving in Bomber Command.

Cameron flew 11 operations with No. 463 Squadron before the crew was transferred to No. 467 Squadron, RAAF, in October 1944. On 3 March 1945 he was flying his 21st operation, taking part in a large raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Ladbergen, Germany, when the aircraft was shot down by an enemy Messerschmidt ME 110 night fighter.

Cameron and four of his fellow crewmates – Australians Wing Commander Langlois, Flying Officer Alan Reid, and Flying Officer Evan Patten, and Briton Flight Sergeant John Scott – were killed in the incident. The two survivors, Australian Flying Officers Joseph Willmott and Ray Taylor, spent the rest of the war as prisoners of the Germans. They later reported that all of the crew had managed to bail out and land safely. It is believed that the other five were murdered by SS troops. Their place of burial is unknown.

Charles Cameron was 31 years old. His name is commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial overlooking the River Thames which lists the missing British and Commonwealth airmen with no known grave.

His name is also listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (434868) Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)