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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Cameron, Linden Arthur (1918–1986)

by Dale Blair

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

Linden Cameron, 1940s

Linden Cameron, 1940s

photo supplied by Heather Cameron

Linden Arthur Cameron (1918-1986), army officer and farmer, was born on 17 March 1918 at Warracknabeal, Victoria, fourth of seven children of Australian-born parents Finlay Arthur Cameron, farmer and later member of the Legislative Assembly, and his wife Victoria May, née Marshman. Educated at Brim East State and Warracknabeal High schools, Linden entered the Victorian Public Service on 7 March 1938 as a clerk in the taxation branch, Department of the Treasurer. He also studied (1938-39) at the University of Melbourne.

On 3 November 1939 Cameron enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was posted to the 2/5th Battalion. He was 5 ft 10 ins (178 cm) tall, with hazel eyes and brown hair. In April 1940 he embarked for the Middle East. Sent to the Officer Cadet Training Unit, Cairo, in November, he was commissioned as a lieutenant on 30 March 1941. Next month he commanded anti-aircraft defences aboard the transport City of London, which evacuated the 2/5th from Greece. Thus reunited with his unit, he served as a platoon commander in the Syrian campaign in June-July. The 2/5th left the Middle East in March 1942 and arrived in Australia in August.

The battalion sailed for Papua in October 1942 and in January 1943 was transported by air to Wau, New Guinea. During the advance to Crystal Creek, Cameron and his platoon were ordered to clear a high ridge of troublesome enemy machine-guns. On 8 February he led his men in an assault up a steep slope into the centre of the Japanese position. Under heavy machine-gun and grenade fire, the party succeeded in capturing the ridge. Cameron himself shot ten of the defenders. For this action he was awarded the Military Cross. Next month he was promoted to captain. In July, while leading 'D' Company in an attack on Mount Tambu, he was wounded in the elbow and hospitalised. He rejoined his battalion in Queensland in February 1944. On 29 July that year at the Methodist Church, Kaniva, Victoria, he married Daphne Alice Grayling, a schoolteacher.

In November 1944 the 2/5th embarked for Aitape, New Guinea. The battalion's advance was barred by strong enemy opposition along a dominating razor-backed ridge at Perembil and Cameron, commanding 'C' Company, was sent forward to clear the heights on 3 January 1945. Again a frontal assault up a precipitous slope was required. Cameron displayed outstanding leadership skills, direction and personal courage and his company secured the position. He proved an inspiring leader over the next twenty-four hours during the defence of the newly won ground against repeated enemy counter-attacks and was awarded a Bar to his MC. Returning to Australia in October, he was assigned to the Directorate of Recruiting and Demobilization, Army Headquarters, Melbourne. His appointment terminated on 28 January 1948.

Cameron was a soldier's soldier, a combat officer who led from the front and set a powerful example for his men. On leaving the army he established a sheep farm, Ardroy, on a 604 acre (244 ha) soldier-settlement block at Dunkeld, Victoria. He became a leading figure in the Victorian Farmers' Union and unsuccessfully contested Western Province for the Country (National) Party in four Legislative Council elections in 1964-76. In 1972 he stood as an Independent for Malcolm Fraser’s House of Representatives seat of Wannon, but was defeated. He was an active member of Hamilton Legacy and the Dunkeld sub-branch of the Returned Services League of Australia. A keen tennis player, he also liked fishing and supported the St Kilda Football Club. Survived by his wife, and their two sons and two daughters, he died suddenly of myocardial infarction on 19 March 1986 at Ardroy and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • D. McCarthy, South-West Pacific Area—First Year (1959)
  • D. Dexter, The New Guinea Offensives (1961)
  • G. Long, The Final Campaigns (1963)
  • S. Trigellis-Smith, All the King’s Enemies (1988)
  • series B883, item VX3347 (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Dale Blair, 'Cameron, Linden Arthur (1918–1986)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 21 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2020

Linden Cameron, 1940s

Linden Cameron, 1940s

photo supplied by Heather Cameron