A cabinet photo of John Alexander Cameron, war correspondent for The Standard. (k.1885), was born at Inverness, where he found early employment as a bank clerk. Subsequently, he went out to India and joined a mercantile house in Bombay. He began contributing to the Bombay Gazette, was its acting editor.
With the outbreak of the Afghan war in 1878, he was appointed special correspondent of The Standard. Joining the column under General Sir Robert Phayre sent to the relief of Kandahar, he was the first to ride with the news of the victory of General Roberts to the nearest telegraph post, beating all other competitors by a day and a half. Then returning to Kandahar he went out to the battlefield of Maiwand (July 1880), his description of which established his reputation as one of the most graphic of newspaper correspondents.
On the outbreak of the Transvaal War (December 1880) he crossed from Bombay to Natal, arriving there long before the correspondents from England. He was present (January 1881) at the battles of Laing's Nek and Ingogo, and, though taken prisoner by the Boers at Majuba Hill (February 1881), contrived on the following day to despatch his famous message describing the battle.
On the conclusion of peace, he returned to England, but on the news of the riots in Alexandria (June 1882), he left for Egypt and was present on board the admiral's ship Invincible at the bombardment of the town. He afterward continued with the British troops throughout the Egyptian campaign until their arrival in Cairo.
After a short interval, he set out for Madagascar, his letters from which attracted much attention. As the French delayed their attack on the island, he crossed the Pacific to Melbourne, and thence made his way to Tonkin, and was present at the engagement in which the French failed to carry the defenses which the Black Flags had erected.
English correspondents not being permitted to remain with the French forces, he was on his way home when Osman Digna's forces began to threaten Suakin, and on reaching Suez he immediately took ship for that port. When Baker Pasha's force was crushed by the Arabs, he narrowly escaped with his life. He accompanied the British expeditionary force in their advance upon Tokar and witnessed the battles of El Teb and Tamai. After a short stay in England, he set out to join the Nile expedition in 1884, regarding the progress of which he sent home many telegrams and letters. He was shot in the back and killed in the fighting at Metammeh, two days after the battle at Abu Klea.
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