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Article on the 1938 Gathering of Clan Cameron
from The Scotsman
June 25, 1938


Approval of a plan to form a trust to take over the Lochaber lands as a permanent heritage for the Chief of the Clan Cameron was expressed yesterday by Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel, 25th Chief of the clan, when he and Lady Hermione Cameron entertained 700 of the clanspeople, drawn from many parts of the world, at their ancestral home, Achnacarry Castle, Inverness-shire.

The trend of events, the Chieftain pointed out, were making matters more and more insecure and he warmly acquiesced in the scheme, which was now under consideration by the Clan Associations at home and abroad.

That the scheme had the warmest sympathy of his clanspeople was amply demonstrated at the rally, which was the first at Achnacarry since 1745, when the "Gentle Lochiel" led 800 of his men to join Prince Charlie in the venture which ended at Culloden.  The fierce and war-like attributes of the Camerons in days gone by were singularly absent in yesterday's meeting, as Camerons and septs of the clan from all parts of Scotland greeted kinsfolk from other parts of the world.  They ranged in age from a toddler of 18 months to 94-year-old Alexander Gray, of Corpach, a former estate worker.


The company included General Sir Archibald Cameron, late General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Scottish Command; General Sir Neville Cameron, Colonel, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders; Sir D. Y. Cameron, the artist; Lord and Lady Dunalley, Colonel James Black Cameron and Mrs Cameron, Edinburgh; Lieut.-Colonel Angus Cameron, Nairn; Major John Cameron, Edinburgh; Dr J. R. Cameron, F.R.C.S., Edinburgh, and Mr Thomas Cameron, president of the Glasgow Branch, who in business life is secretary to the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

A party of 300 travelled from Glasgow by L.N.E.R. special train, manned and staffed by Camerons and drawn by the powerful locomotive named Lochiel.  The Lochaber country mustered a further 200, and the remainder travelled by car and bus from other parts.  Many of the overseas clansfolk were in Scotland in connection with the Empire Exhibition.

Each of the guests was welcomed individually on the doorstep of the castle by Lochiel, Lady Hermione, and two of their sons, the heir Donald Hamish and Charles.

Highland history was retold when the Camerons - men, women, and children - in their tartan kilts and balmorals - marched past the Chief and Lady Hermione, who took up their positions in a platform in the meadowlands in front of the Castle.  The rugged mountains encompassing the glen reechoed the music of the Clan March, played by the pipers of the 1st Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders.  Preceded by an officer and 14 men of the 4th Battalion of the Territorial Regiment, young Lochiel and his brother and sister, Mrs Stewart, headed the gathering, which took almost fifteen minutes to pass the saluting base.


In an address of welcome, Lochiel described the occasion as historic, as it was the first time, so far as he was aware, that they had had a muster of the clan since the days of the '45, when his ancestor marched from that very place at the head of 800 men to join Prince Charlie at Glen Finnan.  Pointing to a belt of trees behind the Castle, he said they could see the avenue, or rather the remains of the avenue, that was being planted by Lochiel's men to lead up to the new Castle and they could picture Lochiel returning to Borrodale, where he had been over persuaded against his better judgment to throw in his lot with his Prince, and join the ill-fated enterprise. The trees by the river side, intended to be plated in the avenue, were a living monument to the occasion when the men were called off to Glen Finnan, where Prince Charlie anxiously awaited them. Had the Camerons not arrived, there would have been no '45, and the history of the Highlands would have had to be rewritten.

That was the last muster of the clan, and they all knew the story of how the clan was broken at Culloden, how those who escaped from death had to flee to any nook or corner from the vengeance and cruelty that would otherwise have overtaken them from the "Bloody Butcher" and how Lochiel had to flee the country with his Prince, and live in exile in France.


After Culloden came the most awful period of destitution and privation, until eventually hundreds of the Clan emigrated to different parts of the world.  Many of their descendants, he was glad to say, were now wealthy men, but they had never forgotten that they were Camerons, and the ties of kinship and Clanship which bound the whole Clan together were just as strong to-day as ever.

"As you know," proceeded the Chief, " the lands of Lochiel have been in the possession of the family and Clan for a very considerable time.  At one time the Lochiels of the day owned practically all the land in this neighbourhood, on both sides of the River and Loch Lochy, up to Laggan; but most of the lands were lost by forfeiture, and in the days of James VI were subsequently restored."

How long they would remain in the family he could not say.  The trend of events was making matters more and more insecure every day.  A proposal had been made, which had his full consent, that the lands should be handed over to the Clan members to be preserved in perpetuity as Clan lands, which would save the heritage from passing into alien possession.

The proposal, which had his warmest approval, had been and was being explored.  It was quite a feasible proposition, provided the necessary capital which would be considerable, could be raised.  It was one of the aims and objects of a great many branches of the Clan, and whether it remained capable of achievement remained to be seen.

It had often been suggested that the Camerons and the other Clans should return to dwell in their own native country, but when they looked around and saw it, beautiful as it was, but consisting of nothing but heather, rock, bog, and barren soil, they could realise how impossible it was for a man to make a living.


General Sir Neville Cameron, Colonel of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, said the regiment was proud to claim Lochiel as one of their own.  He had raised and commanded the 5th Battalion in the war and had also raised the 6th and 7tti Battalions.  His brother, Alan, gave his life while serving with the 1st Battalion, and the Chief's second son was now serving with the 2nd Battalion in Egypt.

Captain Ewan Cameron of the Orient liner Orford, who was described by the Chief as the Clan's Ambassador-at-Large, and originator of the rally, said he could assure Lochiel that all round the world Camerons were ready and willing to support the Clan Trust proposal, not only with their money, but with their influence.  Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Neil Cameron, Toronto, and other speakers.


Lady Hermione, in a brief speech, acknowledges her thanks for the large turnout of clanspeople.  Cameron women, she said, would know how she felt when the young heir of Lochiel headed the march-past, looking so fine and bonny. (Applause.)  The rally ended with the singing, in Gaelic and English, of "The March of the Cameron Men."


The following message was sent to the King by Lochiel: - " Seven hundred members of the Clan Cameron, assembled for the first time since 1745, from all parts of the world, send their loyal homage and fealty to His Majesty the King.  Their motto to-day is, as always, 'Pro Regis et Patria.'"  The message added that Sir Donald Cameron had telephoned from Sydney, desiring that all Camerons in Australia should be associated with the Camerons there in a message of deep sympathy to the Queen.  The King replied: - " I sincerely thank you and all members of the Clan Cameron, celebrating this interesting anniversary, for your kind message of sympathy, which the Queen and I deeply appreciate. G.R."  Messages were received by Lochiel from Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, New Zealand, South Africa, Rotterdam , Kenya, from the Macneil of Barra, and MacDougall of MacDougall.