The Chiefs of Clan Cameron


XXV Chief:
Colonel Sir Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel, K.T.



Birth:   November 4, 1876
Death:    October 11, 1951
Parentage:   Father:  Donald Cameron of Lochiel, XXIV Chief of Clan Cameron
Mother:  Lady Margaret Elizabeth Scott
Marriage:   Lady Hermione Emily Graham; March 1906
Children:   [1] Violet Hermione Cameron (May 6, 1907-March 24, 1979)
[2] Donald Hamish Cameron (September 12, 1910-May 26, 2004)
[3] Marion Hester Cameron (October 21, 1914-1997)
[4] Allan John Cameron (March 25, 1917)
[5] Charles Alexander Cameron (September 29, 1920)
Biography:   Like his father and grandfather, Donald Walter Cameron was educated at Harrow.  He also attended Sandhurst Military College, before being gazetted to his grandfather's regiment (which has seen action at the Battle of Waterloo) the Grenadier Guards.  Donald saw action in the South African War in 1899 and from 1901-02.  The young officer was severely wounded at the Battle of Belmont in 1902.

In 1905, upon his father's death, Donald became the XXV Chief of Clan Cameron and joined the Inverness County Council.  The following year saw his marriage to Lady Hermione Emily Graham, the second daughter of the Duke of Montrose, retirement from the army with the rank of captain and his relocation to Achnacarry.

When World War I broke out in 1914, Donald was asked to raise a new battalion of the Cameron Highlanders for Lord Kitchener's army, composed primarily of Highlanders.  Poet Angus Cameron Robertson wrote, in 1915:

"...And give to Lochiel and Lord Lovat the van,
With their pipers in front, and marshalled each Clan!
For the sake of our fathers who won Waterloo!
All kilted and plaided, so gallant and true!..."

In the famous charge at Loos,  he led his men through a storm of fire.  Tragically, one of his brothers perished during that valiant attack.  Afterwards Donald was invalided home, earning the C.M.G. for services.  He returned to France to command the Lovat Scout Sharpshooters until the end of the war.  When the fighting ended he resumed command of the 3rd Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders.  Following the war Donald served as a member of the Scottish National War Museum Committee, and in 1920 his services to his country were recognized by an appointment as Aide-de-Camp to King George V. 

Donald was also a strong supporter of Gaelic in Scotland.  He served as the Chief of the Gaelic Society of Inverness on three occasions: 1909, 1919 and 1922.  In 1923 he was voted a Honorary Chieftain of the Society.  Years later The Scots Magazine wrote:

"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.'" 

Accompanied by Lady Hermione, Donald undertook a tour of Canada and portions of the United States in either 1923 or 25 (records vary.)  He was examining methods to stem the flow of emigration from Scotland to North America, in addition to being the Scottish Society of America's honored guest at its annual celebration at Red Springs, North Carolina. 

In 1934 Donald was further honored when the King created him a Knight of the Thistle.  Four years later, in 1938, he welcomed Cameron clansfolk from throughout the world to Achnacarry, for the first-ever International Gathering of Clan Cameron.  The following year Donald was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, succeeding the late Lord Lovat.

During World War II he commanded the Home Guard in Inverness-shire.  From 1942 to 1945 Donald vacated Achnacarry, handing it over to the British military for 25,000 soldiers to undergo commando "basic training" there.  Achnacarry was known to the soldiers as "Castle Commando."

Donald's lasting influence was best described by Cameron historian, John Stewart of Ardvorlich:

"In the changed circumstances of modern life, this Lochiel probably did more to promote the modern concept of clanship, and, by his own personality and achievements did more to restore the great name of Lochiel, than  did any of his immediate predecessors."