Peter Cameron was born in Kenya in 1941 where his parents were serving in the Colonial Service. After primary education in both Kenya and Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia), he returned to UK at the age of 12 to complete his education at Stubbington House and Repton School to join the Royal Marines as a Probationary Second Lieutenant on a Full Career Commission in Nov 1959.
On completion of training at the Infantry Training Centre, Lympstone he joined 40 Commando Royal Marines in Malta to be followed by a move East in the Commando Carrier HMS ALBION to active service in Borneo as reinforcement forces to quell the Dec 1962 Brunei Rebellion. He and his Rifle Troop spearheaded the Commando Helicopter landings at Kuching and thereon to Semangang, Labuan and Brunei. During the Borneo Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia to Mar 1966, he saw active service as both a Rifle and an Air Troop Commander along the border with Indonesia. They were exciting times with periods of ferocious exchanges of gunfire in what was described at the time as “very much a subalterns’war”.
Specialising as a Royal Marines Commando Unit Light Helicopter Pilot through the Army Air Corps School of Army Avn (Course 171 - Sep 1964 to Jul 1965) led to a series of flying command and staff appointments culminating in the appointment as the Commando Officer of 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron Royal Marines (6 x Scout AH1 & 12 x Gazelle AH1 helicopters) - the “Teeny Weenies” - deployed to the 1982 Falklands Campaign with of a Flight of 656 Squadronn Army Air Corps (Capt GREENHALGH RCT - 3 x Scout AH1) under command. Three helicopters were shot down in the first week with the loss of 4 lives and an Air Gunner to lose his leg to enemy aircraft cannon and rocket fire, with a further three helicopters battle damaged in the campaign and a further Marine wounded. This was the first time a light helicopter squadron had deployed on active service in support of a Brigade in a conventional war setting and the simple conclusion was:- “that without our light helicopters many of the young men alive today would be dead, many of our attacks would have foundered for lack of ammunition and the campaign would have taken longer to win - if indeed, given the close run thing that it was, it could be won at all. The light helicopter flown by brave, skilled aircrew proved itself in battle in Op CORPORATE - the service given to units was superb”.
The Squadron and the Flight of 656 Sqn AAC under command for the first week of Operations for the Battles of Darwin & Goose Green & a Scout from the same Flight under command for the last two days of the final Battles for Stanley received many Awards and Commendations for their suberb efforts in the campaign including one Military Cross their Commanding Officer, three Distinguished Flying Crosses (incl one Posthumous Award), one Distinguished Flying Medal, ten Mention in Dispatches (incl one Posthumous Award), and six C-in-C Fleet’s Commendations - one Award for every ten men deployed to the campaign.
Peter Cameron also commanded a Rifle Company in 42 Commando Royal Marines on operations in South Armagh Northern Ireland in 1978, was the Commanding Officer of RMR Merseyside from 1984 to 1986 and had the dubious experience of being mortared by the Tamil Tigers when appointed as British Defence Adviser to Sri Lanka & the Maldives from 1987 to 1990. He attended No 67 Advanced Staff Course at RAF Bracknell in 1976.
Retiring from the Royal Marines in 1991, he served with the AAC(V) as a TA Gazelle pilot until finally retiring as a Major AAC(V) in 1997. Apart from regular employment as an Escort Officer for Royal British Legion Pilgrimages to Sri Lanka and his continued interest in flying, his main thrust is his investment properties in Plymouth. He is a member of the Army & Navy Club (since 1959), The Air Squadron (since 1992) and is on the committee of the Friends of Sri Lanka Association (since 1991).