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No surname is more closely associated with the lands west of Fort William than that of Cameron and for the last 100 years it has been borne with pride and courage by the famous clan’s newest centenarian.
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cameron MC TD, who celebrated reaching his centenary last Tuesday at his home in Auchterarder, is the youngest son of Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel, who was the 25th Chief of Clan Cameron.
That makes him the brother of the 26th chief, Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel and the uncle of the current 27th chief, Donald Cameron of Lochiel.
He is also the great uncle of Conservative MSP Donald Cameron, who represents the Highlands and Islands.
As befits a former officer with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron’s special day was marked with a visit by a piper from the 7th Battalion (51st Highland), The Royal Regiment of Scotland, which is based in Queen’s Barracks, Perth.
This was followed by a family lunch at the Crieff Hydro and a presentation by the Lord Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross Stephen Leckie of a birthday card from the Queen.
Born on September 29 1920, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron was brought up at the clan’s ancestral seat at Achnacarry, near Fort William.
He attended Lorretto School, Musselburgh. In February 1939 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the territorial battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and between 1942 and 1946 saw active service in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Italy and Greece.
Promoted to Major at the end of the war, he commanded the 4/5 Battalion (TA) Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in Inverness as a Lieutenant Colonel from 1957 to 1960.
In 1948, Lieutenat Colonel Cameron joined Alginate Industries Limited as manager of its seaweed collection operations at its South Uist factory, later becoming general manager of seaweed production.
He married Felicia Macdonald, from Tote House on Skye, in 1953 and they had a son and a daughter. Felicia died in 2014.
The following year, he started a seaweed collection factory in North Uist and by 1963 was general manager of the Irish Seaweed Company, in addition to the Scottish factories.
In 1965, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron oversaw the start of a seaweed factory at Keose on Lewis and in 1970 opened an office in Inverness with John Sanderson, previously the company’s manager in Orkney.
Lieutenant Colonel Cameron retired from the firm in 1980 and devoted his energies to serving the people of South Uist from 1952 to 1962 and 1965 to 1974 on Inverness County Council. During this time, he chaired the police and landward health committees.
From 1974 to 1982, he was the member of Highland Regional Council representing Inverness East and Ardersier.
In 1963 and 1965 he also stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Western Isles. He served as Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace from 1956 to 1986 for Inverness-shire.
Between 1982 and 1986 he was manager of the National Trust for Scotland’s Highland properties and in 2010 he moved to Auchterarder, from Nairn.
Lieutenant Colonel Cameron’s daughter Johanna Wilson told the Lochaber Times: ‘It was wonderful to celebrate my father’s 100th birthday, which was such a great milestone.
‘The day started with a piper playing outside his house, watched by some of the neighbours. This was followed by a presentation by the Lord Lieutenant Stephen Leckie of the Queen’s birthday card and lunch with family members, including three grandsons and a few friends, at Crieff Hydro.
‘My dad enjoyed his day tremendously and our family were delighted to mark the occasion in such difficult circumstances. It was a very happy day.’
And Lieutenant Colonel Cameron agreed it had been a wonderful family occasion: ‘My birthday was a great success despite the limitations of the coronavirus.
‘I was honoured to have Pipe Major Reid from 7 SCOTS playing outside my house, as well as the CO [commanding officer] Duncan Mackinnon, who gave me a message from HRH Duke of Rothesay.
‘I enjoyed listening to the piper playing familiar tunes connected to the Cameron Highlanders.’
Lord Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross Stephen Leckie presents Lieutenant Colonel Cameron with his birthday card from The Queen. NO F41 CAC 100 Birthday 3
A piper from 7 SCOTS performed for Lieutenant Colonel Cameron on his 100th birthday last week. NO F41 CAC 100 Birthday 2
Lieutenant Colonel Cameron celebrated his 100th birthday last week. NO F41 CAC 100 Birthday 1