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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

A photo of a caged canary that survived 10 months in the trenches


Guest TonyBrown52
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Guest TonyBrown52

I am trying to locate an unusual photograph that appeared in "all the illustrated papers and also in a well-known book of the First World War."

In a Willesden newspaper obituary in 1932 of Mr James E. Cameron, I found this intriguing article that stated:

"On returning from leave in 1916 Mr Cameron brought with him a canary in a cage which he had found in a ruined estaminet (French café or beer house) and this bird was his constant companion in the trenches for ten months."

The newspaper continued: "Mr Cameron was photographed with his canary on returning to Willesden and the picture appeared in all the illustrated papers and also in a well known war history."

Now, I ask your forum members, can anyone identify which book this appeared in and also in which illustrated newspaper did it appear. I have searched the on-line Illustrated London News from 1914 to 1918 without success. I also have a two-volume set of "The Great War" and did not find it in that either.

This is somewhat out of the ordinary but it may have stuck in someone's mind.

Mr Cameron had served for 7 years in the Middlesex Rifles in the 1890's and joined the old soldiers in 1913 under Lord Roberts Defence Scheme. He enlisted in the Regular Army on 31st August 1914 and went to France in November 1914. He served in most of the fighting around Ypres and was on active service until February 1919. He was wounded several times and lost the sight of one eye. He suffered severely from the privations he endured in the war years and that contributed very largely to his death, which was due to consumption.

If anyone can help in this matter I would be very grateful.

Many thanks

Tony Brown

Dartford, UK

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