Alan, always known as Tom Cam, was the youngest son of the Rev. W. H. Cam and was born in 1894. He came to the Dragon as a day boy in 1904 and left in 1906. He obtained an entrance scholarship at Dover College, and at both schools had a perfect record for steady work and honourable conduct. At the outbreak of war he was studying Electrical Engineering at the Central Technical College, where he had just completed his second year’s course. He was doing practical work with Dick, Kerr & Co., Preston, in August 1914, and wrote to his father: ‘I have been thinking things over, and it seems to me that I both ought and should like to be doing something. I should prefer, if you approve, to apply for a temporary commission.’ This he did not obtain; so he enlisted in the Engineering Company, organized by Mr. Winston Churchill, to be attached to the Royal Naval Division. In 1915 he went to the Dardanelles and served at Cape Helles from May to November when he was invalided home. In December 1916 he was given a commission in the Royal Engineers and went to France on the 1st January 1917.
He was bugler to the Company and had to carry communications from the Headquarters near the cove to the advance lines where the Engineers were working every morning, returning at night. His horse was twice wounded, and he had to do the night journey on a bicycle without light over very rough ground under practically incessant fire. After several months in Haslar Naval Hospital, he joined the Depot Camp at Blandford, leaving in September 1916 to train for a commission in the Royal Engineers. He went out to France in January 1917 as Lieutenant in the 150th Field Company Royal Engineers, attached to the 36th (Ulster) Division. He went through the battle of Messines, being wounded for the first time just before the attack, but refused to report, lest he should miss it. In June he came home on leave for the last time. All of August he was fighting until he received his fatal wound on the 16th, having been wounded a second time two days previously.
Major Fordham, commander of his Company, wrote:
He was killed by machine gun fire whilst leading his section to the site of the work they were to do. The fire was very heavy indeed there, and by getting up to lead and encourage the men he met his death.’
It was on the Ypres-Menin road on the 16th August 1917. His Corporal and a Sapper went back soon afterwards under fire and recovered his revolver and wrist watch, which they sent home to his parents.
The Corporal wrote to his father:
Your son died facing the enemy, a British officer, at the head of his men. I told some of the boys of the section that I had heard from you and they asked me to tell you how much he was beloved by them and how they feel his loss.
Colonel Boyle, who commanded the Company for the first six months Tom was in France, wrote of him:
He was such a good boy, so keen on his job, so full of life and fun and always wanted to do the daring jobs, and did everything as though he thoroughly enjoyed himself. His men were so fond of him, and so was every one. It is always the boys like this that are caught. He was wounded near me one day, June 6th, and would not give his name or do anything for fear he would not be allowed to go into our big battle (Messines) the following day. He was a really stout-hearted, good lad, and a lovable one, and a loss to our Company and army. I left the Company early in July, and within six weeks three out of the four subalterns were killed and the fourth wounded. I was much interested to meet your other son (also an Old Dragon), and hope to take him some day to see some of the work your boy did in April and May by the sea.
He is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.