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The Family Tree - June/July 2004
Clan Cameron mourns death of its leader


IAIN RAMAGE

09:00 - 28 May 2004 Press & Journal

The Cameron clan is mourning the loss of its leader.

Tributes were being paid last night to Colonel Sir Donald Hamish Cameron of Lochiel, the 26th chief and captain of Clan Cameron, who has died at the age of 93.

He died peacefully at his home, the clan's spiritual headquarters of Achnacarry Castle, near Fort William, with his wife, Lady Margaret, and other members of the family at his bedside.

A former Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, Sir Donald is survived by Lady Margaret, four children, 14 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. His family said last night they were "deeply saddened" by their loss.

Speaking from the family home, his elder son, Donald, said: "We will always miss his optimism and enthusiasm. He got on well with everybody. He was a great Scot, living here for 50 years. He loved Scotland and never went away for any time at all. He particularly loved Lochaber.

"On hearing the news, people from the clan have been ringing from as far as New Zealand and Australia to offer their sympathy. They are very loyal friends, and loved and respected him very much."

He added: " I loved him for his sense of humour, enthusiasm and optimism. He was always looking forward and loved life. Even yesterday, he was doing the Press and Journal crossword."

Sir Donald, known simply as Lochiel, was made a Knight of the Thistle by the Queen in November, 1973. His brother, Charlie Cameron, 83, speaking from his home in Nairn, said last night: "I am very glad I saw him just a fortnight ago. We talked a lot about old times. His memory was very good. He was remarkably spry."

Born on September 12, 1910, to Sir Donald Walter Cameron and Lady Hermione Emily Graham, the younger daughter of the fifth Duke of Montrose, Lochiel was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford.

He became a chartered accountant and embarked on a business career before marrying Lady Margaret, daughter of Colonel Nigel Gathorne-Hardy, brother of the Earl of Cranbrook, in 1939. He was commissioned into the Lovat Scouts in 1929, serving with them throughout the war, rising to the rank of major in 1940 and Lieutenant Colonel commanding 4/5th Bn (TA) in 1945.

Lochiel was a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland from 1954-1980, county councillor for Kilmallie on what was then Inverness County Council, and served as Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire from 1971-85.

The tall, distinguished chief once recalled in a magazine article how a visit Down Under brought him closer to some of the more distant Cameron clansfolk, of which there are some 2,000 in Australia and 1,500 in New Zealand.

"We went to Brisbane," he said, "where some people organised a dinner announcing that I was coming. Do you know, 300 people turned up. Imagine if I went to Glasgow and it was announced that the Chief of Clan Cameron was coming. Do you think that anybody would turn up?"

A Cameron website reliably informs clansfolk that Glaswegians, among others, owe a debt of gratitude to one of their Lochiel descendants.

It was "the Gentle Lochiel" of 1745 fame, regarded as one of the noblest of all Highland chiefs, who - during the Jacobite retreat - saved the city from being sacked by Prince Charlie's men returning from Derby. The grateful citizens of the day decreed that whenever he or his descendants pass through Glasgow the bells of the Tolbooth should be rung.

Lochiel once recalled: "I have had them rung three times for me!"

Lochiel leaves two sons Donald and Johnny, and two daughters, Anne and Caroline.

His funeral will be held at the end of next week, with a service at St Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort William.

Additional information can be found on the Clan Cameron web site


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