Charlie Cameron was born in 1901, educated at Haileybury and joined the 7th Hussars in India in 1922. It was not long before he impressed himself on all ranks as an individualist with a very strong and unique character.
His humour was spontaneous and pungent. Once, as a visiting Master from another hunt, he was making a speech at a puppy show in Ireland and referring to a stallion hound who had turned out to be a disappointment, he said, “We all make mistakes sometimes as the hedgehog exclaimed as he climbed off the hairbrush”. Then, his eye lighting on the Master’s wife he said, “However it is some compensation to see that the Master is making amends for the deficiencies of his hound”.
Foxhunting was Charlie’s passion in life and during the course of his career, he was Master of the Aldershot Draghounds (1932 to 1933), amateur huntsman of the Meath under Mrs Connell’s mastership up to the outbreak of World War II when he rejoined the 7th Hussars in Egypt.
After the War, he returned to the Meath as Huntsman and Joint Master with Mrs Connell until 1958, when he married Mrs Bird with whom he was Joint Master and huntsman of the Ballymacad until he became ill.
As a horseman, Charlie was courageous and effective rather than elegant; every obstacle was a challenge to him and the bigger it was the better. There is a story that he was once aiming for a fence when someone shouted “Hi Charlie, there’s a bigger place to the left” Like Marshall Ney, he was the bravest of the brave.
He was a good fisherman, a good shot and an extremely bad and impatient golfer. He ended his golfing career on the Tidworth Golf Course when he threw his clubs into a tree and walked off. Amongst his extramural activities, he carried on an unceasing war with the bookmakers whom he regarded as his natural enemies. He returned in high spirits, from Ascot on the occasion when a bookie was struck by lightning.
Before the Regiment left for Egypt in 1935 Charlie became Adjutant. This was a shrewd though possibly surprising appointment for though he was unconventional, he was undoubtedly a success as an Adjutant who tempered justice with humour and a keen sense of the ridiculous.
In 1936 the 7th Hussars were mechanised. This was a terrible blow to Charlie who abominated the internal combustion machine in any shape or form and it was probably for this reason as much as any, that he resigned his commission and retired to Ireland, but not for long owing to the outbreak of War in 1939 when he returned to take command of Headquarter Squadron.
Subsequently, he became Liaison Officer with the 2nd Armoured Division and he was still in this appointment when the Division surrendered to the Germans at Mechili in the Libyan Desert. Charlie, with an Indian doctor whom he always maintained, was called Sexualis, in defiance of the orders of the Divisional Commander drove a truck through the Germans in the night and got clean away.
After this, he was given command of the Cavalry Regiment of the Transjordan Frontier Force which he successfully commanded without knowing one word of Arabic. This was when Charlie met General de Gaulle in one of his most Anglophobic moods. The ensuing conversation carried on in pigeon English was
brief and uncompromising on both sides.
Charlie has left behind him very many friends whose lives have been enriched and enlivened by his acquaintance. The world is very much poorer without him.