Between the warrior and the monk (i): my father

[ by Charles Cameron — a warrior, a monk, and where that leaves me ]

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Like one of those toy acrobats who flips up, over and under when you squeeze or release the two sticks he’s strung on, I’m strung between these two fellows…

and flip up, over and under on the string that stretches from war to peace.

So here I am at Zenpundit, and I thought it might be time for me to give you a little more background about myself, where I’m coming from, and where I hope to be going…

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To get to the figure on the left of the image above, Captain Orford Gordon Cameron DSC, RN, my father, we have to track back a couple of generations deeper into family history, to this gentleman whose first name I bear as my own second name.

Col. Aylmer Spicer Cameron, VC, CB, my great-grandfather, earned his Victoria Cross during the Sepoy Rebellion:

For conspicuous bravery on the 30th of March, 1858, at Kotah, in having headed a small party of men, and attacked a body of armed fanatic rebels, strongly posted in a loop-holed house, with one narrow entrance. Lieutenant Cameron stormed the house, and killed three rebels in single combat. He was severely wounded, having lost half of one hand by a stroke from a tulwar.

There’s pride in that, passed down from his son to my father and so on down the line…

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There’s pride, too, in the story of my own father’s DSC.

HMS Sheffield in Battle of the Barents Sea, stamp design, oil on canvas, Brian Sanders

As gunnery officer of HMS Sheffield in the Battle of the Barents Sea, Lt. Cdr. Cameron’s guns and those of Jamaica crippled the German heavy cruiser Hipper. When the news arrived in Germany, Hitler “with veins standing out on his neck” excoriated Admiral Raeder:

This operation only confirmed what he had instinctively felt all along — that the surface fleet was completely useless and that it was poorly staffed and ineptly commanded. The three battleships Tirpitz ,Schleswig-Holstein and Schlesien , the two pocket battleships Admiral Scheer and Lützow , the battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau , the heavy cruisers Hipper and Prinz Eugen , and the light cruisers Emden , Köln , Leipzig , and Nürnberg would all be decommissioned and summarily scrapped. To the extent possible their guns would be converted to land use. Henceforth, the largest navy ship would be a destroyer and all emphasis would be on the u-boat fleet.

Churchill wrote:

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