9th Brigade landing on 25th April 1915.
Commander of the 9th Battalion at Gallipoli.
James Campbell (Cam) Robertson (1878-1951), Toowoomba.
He married Ada Elizabeth Godsall d/o Richard Godsall, Mayor of Toowoomba and Eleanor Godsall on 4th January 1911 in the Chapel at St. Savior's Convent.
In 1903 he was commissioned Lieutenant in the 14th Light Horse Regiment. He was seconded to Cairns, where he was Area Officer. On the outbreak of World War I Cam Robertson was appointed Major and second in command of the 9th Battalion, A.I.F. On the 25th April 1915 he helped lead the Australian 9th Battalion and led his men onto the beach at ANZAC Cove with one his most precious charges being the Battalion's flag. The first day, the men fought their way towards Gaba Tepe and were close to the Turkish forces in the Dardanelles.
Without reinforcements the 9th Battalion could not advance and were marooned on the peninsula until the final withdrawal.
Cam was badly wounded being shot in the chest and was evacuated to Alexandria, Egypt. His wife Ada packed up their two children Ian and Campbell, and with the help of a maid, travelled to Alexandria to help nurse him. In total Cam was to be wounded 7 times during his years of active service. For his service at Gallipoli he was awarded the C.M.G. and Mentioned in Dispatches.
The 9th Battalion reformed and re-equipped in Egypt. During that time he held temporary command of the 3rd Brigade. In 1916 he resumed command of the 9th and went to fight in France. On 20th April, 1916 at Rouge de Bout, Petillon sector, it suffered its first casualties on the Western Front.
Early in July 1916 the 9th Battalion moved to the Somme and for the next six months took part in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, especially at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm. In the attack on Pozieres he ordered no fewer than 8 attacks against stiff German opposition. Most of the attacks were led by Major A. S. Blackburn. V.C.
Also in these months at Armentieres General Birdwood had decided that the methods of raiding the German lines be varied, Cam was put in command of the raids and the records relate that "they were the most brilliantly executed of raids".
After a spell at Gueudecourt the 9th Brigade resumed offensive operations in April 1917 fighting at Bullecourt, Messines, and eventually at Passchendaele. For a short time Cam had temporary command of the 4th Division. In 1917 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Mentioned In Dispatches three times. Cam had a number of commands including; Director of Training at AIF H. Q. in London, command of the 6th Brigade, and in 1918 temporary command of 2nd Division and again in 1919.
After WWI as a career soldier he was General of the 3rd and then the 7th Infantry Brigades. A.M.F. until 1926. He retired as a Hon. Brigadier General in 1944. On his return to Toowoomba he was Hon. Colonel of the 25th Battalion, Darling Downs Regiment.
When his wife Ada Elizabeth (nee Godsall) returned from Alexandria during WWI she organized the first Anzac Day Committee, being wife of Toowoomba's Senior Officer and also started the Mothers' Memorial Appeal. She strongly supported the Vitoria League and the C.W.A. and the raising of Comfort funds for the 9th Battalion, 1st A.I.F. and the 2/25th Battilion, 2nd A.I.F. WWII.
This story is submitted by Janice Drake (nee Godsall) and Pamela Godsall-Smith.
21st March 2015