Cornelius was born in West Derby Liverpool on 18th September 1889. He was baptised on 28th October that year in the Parish of St Peter’s in Liverpool. His parents were Archibald and Mary Cameron (nee Dodd) and Archibald was a ‘master mariner.’ They had married in 1877 in St Marks Church Connah’s Quay.
The census of 1881 showed the family living at 7 Golftyn Street in Connah’ Quay.(Mary had been born in Connah’s Quay). Mary was listed as the head and a ‘mariner’s wife’. Presumably her husband was away at sea. They just had two children at that time Maggie White was 3 and John was 1.
By the next census of 1891, Mary was a 35 year old widow living at Penllan Street Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. A gravestone in Connah’s Quay Cemetery which is badly damaged and weathered tells the sad story that Archibald had died as the result of a shipping tragedy off the Isle of Man involving the SS Florence. This had happened on 28th September 1889, just 10 days after the birth of Cornelius. The census form tells us that she was supporting her family by being a ‘grocers provisions dealer’. The household consisted of Mary and her children Margaret W 13, John 11, Archibald 9, Joseph Wm 7, Alexander 5 and Mary Jane 3. Cornelius would have been between 1 and 2 years of age but he was not there and so far have not been able to trace him. Where was he? There was, however, a visitor at the house a 30 year old Cornelius Cameron who was a mariner. Who was he?
In 1895 we learn from Northop Parish Register that on 29th September 1895, Mary Cameron a 38 year old widow from Golftyn married William Taylor aged 28, a bachelor and a fisherman
In the next census of 1901, the family was living at 2 Golftyn Street. Mary C Taylor was 45, John Cameron was 21 and a general labourer, as was Archibald 19, Alexander was 15 and an apprentice carpenter, Mary J was 13, Cornelius was 11. The two youngest children were named Taylor, not Cameron. They were Samuel 4 and Eunice3.
The 1911 census places the family at 96 Church Street, Connah’s Quay.William Taylor, fisherman 43, was the head. Mary Cameron Taylor was 55. Living at home were Archibald 29 working in the sheet mills (close annealing), Mary Janet 23, Cornelius 21 a ‘sawyer’s labourer’, Samuel Taylor 14 also a sawyer’s labourer and Eunice Taylor 13 – a scholar.
Cornelius’s army service and pension records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk They tell us that he joined the army in Liverpool early in the war on 4th September 1914 (was he a reservist?). His records include his discharge papers. He was considered to be physically unfit for war service and was discharged on 29th November 1917. The discharge papers detail that his disabilities arose from gun shot wounds he had received on active service. He was wounded in the arm and thigh in April 1915 (in France). He was then wounded in the chest arm and face on 20th November 1916 in France.
Cornelius Cameron in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that he died after Discharge and the sole Legatee was his brother John Cameron who was paid £12. 5s 0d. on the 29th April 1920. His War Gratuity was transferred – Transfer No. 3159 d/25.3.19 Regd. Rp 21/1918 Encl 4 Serial No. 332 £14. 10s 0d. Trans. 1522 on the 19th December 1922 £2. 5s 0d to Iste (or Vote?) I U 8.
There is a card for Cornelius in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Archive Office in Hawarden. It gives his name and the address 90 Church street Connah’s Quay. It gives the reg number 3520 and the Regiment as 10th king’s Liverpool Regiment Scottish and his rank as private. It says he enlisted on 28th August 1914 and served 3 years and 94 days. It says he died 27th october 1918 and that his ‘death was accelerated by wounds received in action. The card was signed by his brother Archibald Cameron.
It seems his death certificate says that the cause of death was influenza and Lobor pneumonia. The death was registered by his brother John Cameron of the Liverpool Arms Buckley.
The excerpt from Neil’s Obituary, Flintshire Observer 7th November 1918 (Page 4 Col 5/6) is shown below. Additional text from the newspaper which the website would not let me insert, for some unknown reason, – “workmen of deceased were sent, among others. The Vicar of St. Mark’s conducted the service in the Church and at the graveside.”
Cornelius Cameron did not die in action but there is little doubt that he died because of the wounds he received in the war. He has a just and deserved place on the Connah’s Quay Memorial. His civilian status when he died, however, seems to have led to him not being recognised by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. Mavis Williams, became aware of this injustice as she researched this soldier. She believed that he was an obvious candidate for the ‘Come in from the cold’ project and set about presenting the evidence to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’. She received this e mail from them on 8th July 2011.
Good Morning Mrs Williams
Thank you for providing documentary evidence which would seem to suggest that Pte Cameron should be awarded War Grave status.
It is for the relevant service authority of the Ministry of Defence to decide whether this casualty should be commemorated by the Commission. We have therefore forwarded your correspondence to them. I will be in contact with you when we hear back. I should mention, however, that it may take many months before we have an adjudication.
Thank you for bringing this gentleman to our attention
2 Marlow Road
Berks SL6 7DX
Good News! From: Maria Choules
Date: 13/04/2012 14:24:45
Subject: Ref: Corporal Cornelius Edward Cameron- Connah’s Quay Cemetery.
Good afternoon Mrs Williams
I am writing further to my email dated 26 October 2011 regarding Corporal Cameron.
You will be pleased to hear that the grave has been visited and located the PM (recumbent 5’ sandstone). Commemoration is not adequate so we are proposing to erect a Commission war pattern headstone at the foot of the grave and seeking the necessary permission from the Council.
Thank you for bringing this gentleman to our attention.
Records Administrator Research/Library
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1628 634221 | Ext: 201 | Direct: +44 (0) 1628 507201 | Fax: +44 (0) 1628 771208 | Website: www.cwgc.org
Well done Mavis for sticking with this poor lad’s story and trying to get him the recognition he deserved.
Addendum: My family were in the Connah’s Quay Cemetery just before Christmas (2015) laying wreaths on our family grave, when I looked down the graveyard and saw a white Commonwealth Gravestone and realized it was where Cornelius is buried, we went to look and sure enough the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had kept their promise to erect one of their official gravestones on his grave. We were so pleased that at last nearly 100 hundred years after his death he has been recognized and local people will remember him.
In the Flintshire Observer dated 7th November 1918 there was an Obituary for a
Mr. Neil CAMERON:-
“The funeral of Mr. Neil CAMERON, whose death from influenza and pneumonia was reported in last week’s issue, took place last Thursday A large number of friends and sympathisers gathered at the house and proceeded to St. Mark’s Church, and then to the local cemetery. Attending the funeral there was also a firing party and bugler, commanded bySergeant-Major LEWIS of the Royal Defence Corps. These carried out the usual military honours. Mr. T.H. HASWELL, the local National Service Representative, attended, and a number of discharged soldiers also were present. Wreaths from the Discharged Soldiers Federation and from the fellow workmen of deceased were sent, among others. The Vicar of St. Mark’s conducted the service in the church and at the graveside.”