Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Known more properly as the Cameron Dirk, ‘once in possession of the Geelong College Cadet Corps and now held by the Geelong Heritage Centre,‘ was worn by several distinguished Cameron soldiers from the middle of the eighteenth century and was in the following battles: Peninsular campaign under Wellington, Waterloo, Quatre Bras, Scinde, Afghanistan, Indian Frontier, Crimea, Indian Mutiny and several African campaigns. It was later, on 27 September 1858 presented to the Commun na Feinne Society in Geelong, a Scottish Society founded in 1856, by a relative of the Camerons to whom it had been bequeathed. Many prominent Geelong pioneers were members of Commun na Feinne. On the disbandonment of the Commun na Feinne Society in Geelong after World War II, it was in the possession of the late Senator William Plain and, after representations by former members of the Commun na Feinne Pipe Band of which J H McGregor was a member, it was handed over to the Geelong College. 'The Dirk was always worn by the Drum Major of the Pipe Band’.

‘Many of the recruits of the Gordons Regiment ‘were raised by Cameron of Lochiel, Chief of the Cameron Clan. He was assisted by his uncle Cameron of Fassiefern, whose son, John, received a Captain's commission in the Regiment, and was, in March 1809, given command of the 1st Battalion of the Regiment. He was mortally wounded at Quatre Bras in 1815 and taken in a cart to Waterloo where he died. The Regiment was embodied at Aberdeen on the 24th June, 1794, and the following day Lieut General Sir Hector Munro, who served at the battle of Buxar as a Major in the first Regiment raised by the Duke, inspected them. Every man passed the General separately running 50 paces and only one man was rejected for age. The muster roll of 1797 shows six Ewan Camerons, six Alexander Camerons, and six John Camerons’.

The following description of the Gordon Dirk appeared in Ad Astra in 1979. 'Weapons similar to this were made between 1835 and 1882 by Johnston Jermyns of London. The blade of the dirk is heavily ornamented and engraved on both sides with bluebells and thistle motifs and the number '79' is prominent on both sides. This could refer to the year of recruitment. The dirk is encased in a leather scabbard which is also elaborately engraved and decorated with gold or gilt ornamentation. In addition to the other engravings, the dirk also has a list of battle honours, viz: Egmont op Zee, Egypt, Fuente de Onora, Salamanca, Nivelle, Nive, Toulouse, Peninsular and Waterloo. These were the battles for which the 92nd Regiment of the Gordon Highlanders received royal assent to include in their battle honours. It is assumed that the dirk was a weapon worn by an officer of the Gordon Highlanders and issued after Waterloo as all honours to that date are engraved on it.' '’

Sources: Pegasus December 1971 p 13; Ad Astra May 1979 p 2; .''
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