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The Scottish Chiefs - Cameron of Lochiel
The Scots Magazine
August 1948

Down their race-long story the men of the Cameron clan have borne like a banner their reputation of high courage and fighting skill.  It is fitting that such a clan should have as its chief Sir Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel, Knight of the Thistle and twenty-fifth of his line.  

Essentially the man is a fighter.  Whether on the battlefield or in the council chamber, he has amply demonstrated that fact.  His days of fighting with cold steel are past.  Now his weapons are words influencing the constitutional government of that place in which his forebears ruled as kings.

But first to his military career.  He was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst Military College, joined the Grenadier Guards, and fought in the South African War in 1899 and 1901-2.  Eventful years were in store for the young officer.  In 1905 his father, Donald Cameron of Lochiel, died, and he succeeded to the estates.  In the following year, he married Lady Hermione Emily Graham, second daughter of the fifth Duke of Montrose, and retired from the army with the rank of captain.  

The sword did not remain long in the sheath.  When war broke out in 1914, Lochiel at once began to rally men to the colours of the Cameron Highlanders, the Inverness county regiment.  Then in command of the 3rd Battalion, he raised the 5th (Service) Battalion, which he himself commanded in action.  In the famous charge at Loos, when he led his men through a storm of fire, the Cameron family paid a heavy price, for two of his three brothers died in that gallant attack.  After two years in the mud of Flanders, where his services earned him the C.M.G., he came home and was for a time commandant of the North of Scotland military area.  The battlefront drew him again.  He returned to France to command the Lovat Scout Sharpshooters till the end of the War.  

When the fighting ended he resumed his command of the 3rd Battalion.  In 1920 his services to his country were further recognised by his appointment as A.D.C. to the King.  

Such a record more than merits honoured retirement and "Ease after warre, but when the dark shadow of invasion lay across the land in 1940, Lochiel was in action again, commanding the Home Guard in Inverness-shire.  

It is not only in the field that Lochiel has gained distinction.  Loyalty to his country and love of the Highlands, hereditary characteristics of the Camerons, are his in full measure.  So, with vigour, sharp common-sense and fiery oratory as his allies, he carries on an untiring fight for the good of the Highlands.  It is pleasant to record that his services were recognised and high honour paid him, when in 1934 he ranked among the very few commoners who have become Knights of the Thistle.  

His fighting qualities are frequently revealed in his work as a member of Inverness County Council.  His criticism of Government departments when he feels that the affairs of his beloved Highlands, and of Inverness-shire in particular, are being neglectfully or ineptly handled is scathing and pointed.  It is largely by his efforts that within recent years Inverness-shire has obtained many substantial Government grants.  

Lochiel's connection with Local Government has been of long duration.  He joined Inverness County Council in 1905, soon after the death of his father.  In 1929 he was appointed vice-convener, and six years later he succeeded the late Lord Lovat as convener.  Then in 1939, in succession to the late Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Lochiel was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness-shire.  

One learns with some surprise that Lochiel has no Gaelic.  It is one of the keenest regrets of his life.  His parents placed him in the care of Gaelic-speaking nurses when he was a child.  But, as Lochiel confesses, "they improved their own English to the neglect of my Gaelic."  

To-day Lochiel lives where his people have always lived, at Achnacarry in Lochaber, on the shore of Loch Arkaig.  The family seat is of comparatively modern construction, standing on the site of an old castle burned by the Duke of Cumberland in 1746.  Even so, as one looks at this noble house of hewn grey stone, one is conscious of voices dim yet insistent, murmuring the old names and telling the old tales which are the very stuff of Cameron history.

Editor's Notes:  Seemingly the third article from a series on Scottish clan chiefs.