PAINT­ING HIS MEM­O­RIES

The Oban Times - - THE GREAT WAR -

My grand­fa­ther, af­ter whom I am named, was Du­gald Cameron. He served through the First World War with the ninth bat­tal­ion of the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers.

Like many re­turnees from war my grand­fa­ther did not say much about his ex­pe­ri­ences. How­ever, he ex­pressed him­self through art. Through­out his life he sketched, and then, if he felt he could do the sub­ject jus­tice he would he ei­ther paint in oil or pro­duce a pen­cil piece.

The story fol­lows when he left home, his step mother, got rid of all his clothes as she as­sumed (hoped?) that he would not sur­vive.

The bat­tal­ion saw a great deal of ac­tion, though he shared noth­ing of this with his fam­ily. We do, how­ever, have a copy of a post­card re­pro­duced from a paint­ing he pre­sented af­ter the war to his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer. It shows the men in ac­tion. To my mod­ern mind, I won­der if this was ther­apy for my grand­fa­ther. He al­ways at­tended bat­tal­ion re­unions, where each time he was in­vited to sing a tra­di­tional song. For decades af­ter the war he went with an old com­rade to watch Dum­bar­ton FC – a shared time with a man who knew what they had gone through. In­deed, my grand­fa­ther died watch­ing his beloved Sons.

I was an in­fant when he died. What did he leave be­hind from his ser­vice and ex­pe­ri­ence? I have some Ger­man to­bacco pipes (how did he get them?), his put­tees, and his Ar­gylls cap, a post­card, and through the generations, a deep sense that war is not glo­ri­ous. Yet or­di­nary men and women are called upon to do ex­tra­or­di­nary things; we should care for them and must be cer­tain that the cause is jus­ti­fied. Rev Du­gald Cameron (Kil­more and Oban)

One of Du­gald Cameron’s paint­ings. Did he turn to art as ther­apy, a re­lease from the hor­rors of what he had seen?

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