Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Brian

B is for Brian. 

As in Brian Livermore Cameron.

Born in Sydney on 11 April 1922, youngest son of Harold Verney Cameron and Edith Florence Wadley, youngest brother to our Pa and only uncle to our folks of the Cameron persuasion.

1940 George Street Sydney
Brian on right
With Pa, he grew up in Lindfield and attended the local public school. But, while Pa went to Chatswood High, Brian attended North Sydney Tech. In his final years of school, war broke out in Europe. And so, on 13 October 1941, at aged 19, Brian enlisted in the Australian Military Forces.

His full war time service began a few weeks later on 5 November 1941. It wasn’t until almost a month later on 7 December 1941 that the States officially declared war after Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. For the next four years, the world was at war on two fronts – Europe and the Pacific - during which time Brian was based in Australia, serving in the Northern Territory, NSW and Townsville. On 5 May 1945, the day after the German forces surrendered to the British in Berlin, Brian's battalion arrived on the island of Morotai (part of the Netherlands East Indies, in the Indonesian archipelago). Morotai was an important Allied base from where the American and Australian army launched a number of  offensives against the remaining Japanese troops in the Pacific.

The Japanese continued fighting until August 1945 when the Americans' atomic bombs brokered their surrender. Morotai then became the site of a number of ceremonies, marking the surrender of Japanese troops[*]. After one such ceremony, Brian embarked on the Westralia for service on the Ambon Islands. There he remained until the end of Janaury 1946, returning to Australia before officially discharged from the army on account of demobilization on 26 April 1946, aged 24 years.  

1942 Brian Cameron & Edith Cameron
Brian and his mum, Edith
When he enlisted, Brian noted that his normal occupation, or trade, was advertising, but that his present occupation was a clerk. It was an occupation he returned to in the immediate post war years. He also had a number of other jobs in the proceedings years, including a  commercial traveller, like his father and his brother. But, it seems he took most enjoyment from customer service - working longest at the BP Service station in Chatswood and then the Pro Shop at Castle Cove Golf Club. He was married late in life, co-incidently enough to my paternal grandmother Beth (yes, making my parents related, but only by marriage!) but the marriage ended and they divorced some years later. Brian died in Sydney on 14 January 2006, aged 83. 

But, the dates and facts above are no measure of the man. 

Aunty Tine describes him as a "very gentle soul, quiet and private" and generous: paying for her to go on a school excursion to the Barrier Reef, and always bringing back great presents from his cruise holidays. Uncle Neil says "he was a good bloke" and "especially generous at birthday times". What the documents also fail to document is his fondness for symphonies and cricket, and his love for his VW!

[*] Based on photos, it appears Brian was present for at least one such ceremony. I believe it may have been the surrender of the Japanese Second Army at the Australian I Corps’ sports ground to Australian General Thomas Blarney on 9 September 1945. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful monument in words.

    Greetings from the A to Z trail,
    Sylvia @ Playful Creative