A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private Ernest Cameron
Born: 1882 South Melbourne. Died: 28 January 1920 Ballarat.
Enlisted: 26 May 1915 aged 31
Served: Egypt and Gallipoli
The son of John and Sarah Cameron, Ernest lived in Pakenham, working as a labourer.
In 1911 he married Florence Huckson, daughter of local farmer Alexander Grant Huckson. Ernest was a keen cyclist and competed in local races.
In November 1915, Ernest was injured by a bomb blast. A piece of shrapnel was removed from his leg at Gallipoli, with more metal extracted from the bone in hospital at Malta.
While the wound was healing, Ernest was left with a stiff knee and mobility issues. He refused an operation and was returned to Australia in 1916, discharged as permanently unfit.
Ernest was amongst the first soldiers officially welcomed home to Pakenham in late May 1918 and later that year he took over the licence for the Havilah Hotel in Ballarat East.
He was found dead in the Gong Gong Reservoir in January 1920, with a watch chain and gold medallion given him by the people of Pakenham found on his body.
Evidence at a coronial inquest suggests Ernest was suffering from what would be diagnosed today as post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com