October 22, 2017. After we paid our respects to Arthur Robinson at La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium, we made our way to Chester Farm Military Cemetery, 5 km south of Ypres, where another WW1 soldier, James Lymon CAMERON, is buried. The cemetery, one of three in the area, is in a farming area.
Chester Farm was the name given to a farm about 1 km south of Blauwepoort Farm, on the road from Zillebeke to Voormezeele. The names of these two places may be almost unpronounceable, but we encountered them over and over again as scenes of many fierce battles.
The cemetery opened in March 1915 and has 420 Commonwealth burials, 7 of them unidentified. It’s in a beautiful location, surrounded by cows. It seems fitting for an Islander to be in such a rural location.
Private James Lymon Cameron was born December 30, 1892 in Victoria, PEI, the son of Edward H. Cameron, a carpenter, and Susan Estelle Harrington of Hampton. The family was Roman Catholic and worshipped at the church in Kelly’s Cross.
With such a background on the island, it was a mystery to us why no one seemed to know the family, until Pieter’s research revealed that the family must have moved around quite a bit for Edward’s work. In a 1900 US census, the family was living in South Bend City, in the state of Washington, and James Lymon’s sister Ethel was recorded as having been born in New Hampshire in 1889. He had an older sister Lucy who was born on PEI, but was not listed in the 1900 census, suggesting that she was no longer alive, and a younger brother Otto, who was born on PEI.
In a 1921 census from Vancouver, another younger brother, Edward, is recorded as having been born in the USA around 1906. Ethel is living with her parents and brother. She is recorded as married with the last name Gilbert, but her husband is not with her.
At the time that James Lymon enlisted on March 18, 1915 with the 47th Battalion (BC) CEF, the family was living in Vancouver, and he was employed as a marine oiler. By October 1915 he was on his way to Europe, and transferred twice, first to the 30th Reserve Battalion, and then to the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (1st British Columbia).
On July 24, 1916, he was killed by enemy shell fire at ‘The Bluff’ at Ypres Salient during The Battle of The Bluff near St. Eloi. The Bluff is a mound near St Eloi, south-east of Ypres, which was created from a spoil heap during the digging of the Ypres–Comines Canal before the war.
The war diary of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion for July 2, 1916, explained what happened in three terse lines: “Bombardment of Front Line. Headquarters Shelled. Our retaliation effective.”
Unfortunately, this is all we know about James Lymon Cameron. We don’t even know what he looked like. If you can add any further information or provide a photo, please let us know.
In the next blog entry we visit Menin Gate in Ypres. Comments or stories? You can share them by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting on this blog.
© Daria Valkenburg