Ewen Cameron (banker)

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KCMG insignia

Sir Ewen Cameron KCMG FRGS (23 June 1841, Aberdeen – 10 December 1908, London) was a British merchant banker and chartered accountant of the late 19th century, who rose to be chairman of Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in London. He played a key role in arranging loans from the Rothschild family to the Empire of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War.[1][2][3]

Early life and family[edit]

Muckovie, Inverness-shire

Cameron was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland, the eldest child of William Cameron (b. 4 February 1806 at Abertarff)[4] of Upper Muckovie, near Culloden by Croy,[5] by his wife (m. 16 June 1840), Catherine Cameron (b. 22 January 1809), daughter of Ewen Cameron (1775–1842), a farmer and kinsman of Tomchrasky, Glen Moriston and Helen McDonnell (1776–1861).[6][7]

Caledonian Bank, former HQ in Aberdeen


In 1859, Cameron joined the Caledonian Bank in Aberdeen as an accounting clerk. After qualifying as a chartered accountant he was posted to the Bank of Hindustan, China and Japan before being transferred to Hong Kong in 1866. His abilities, described as "remarkable" by The Times, helped him to land a senior position with the newly formed Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank after the Bank of Hindustan went into liquidation.

A chartered accountant, Cameron became principal agent to the Calcutta branch of HSBC, following which he acted as manager of its Shanghai branch, where he served until 1890. Cameron's success in reorganizing the bank was rewarded by his appointment as a director before he returned to Britain, where he became chairman of the bank in the City of London.

Cameron was appointed KCMG at the end of 1901 for his "services to overseas banking",[8] and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) in February 1902.[9]

During 1904 Cameron and other leading London financiers, including Lord Revelstoke of Baring Bros., Arthur Francis Levita and W. M. Koch of Panmure Gordon (Levita's daughter Enid would later marry Cameron's grandson Ewen Donald Cameron in 1930), Sir Marcus Samuel (later Viscount Bearsted) of Samuel Samuel & Co and Royal Dutch Shell, Sir Carl Meyer, and Otto Kahn, took part in negotiations with the Japanese central banker Takahashi Korekiyo (later Prime Minister of Japan) for the selling of war bonds to finance the Japanese war effort during the Russo-Japanese War.[1]

Marriage and issue[edit]

In 1878, Cameron married Josephine Elizabeth (born at Shotford, Norfolk in 1857), daughter of John Houchen of Thetford, Norfolk (Wereham, Norfolk, c. 1818 - Thetford, Norfolk, 6 October 1898[10]) by his wife (m. St James's, Westminster, 29 November 1845[11]) Susannah Vautier (Stanton, Suffolk, c. 1819 - Thetford, Norfolk, 1859), by whom he had five children.

His eldest son, Ewen Allan Cameron, senior partner in Panmure Gordon & Co.[12] and member of the Council of Foreign Bondholders[13] (who died 14 November 1937 in Vienna[14]) was the great-grandfather of David Cameron, Conservative Party Leader (2005–2016) and British Prime Minister (2010–2016).[15][16]


After suffering bouts of ill health in 1903 and at the end of 1904, Sir Ewen retired in February 1905 and later died at home in Hampstead NW3 on 10 December 1908 at the age of 67.

Coat of arms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smethurst, Richard, Takahasi Korekiyo, the Rothschilds and the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–1907 (PDF), retrieved 26 March 2017
  2. ^ Geoffrey Levy, Christian Gysin (5 June 2009). "Claims that David Cameron has a £30m fortune sit uneasily with taxpayers. So what is the truth about his money?". Daily Mail (online). London. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  3. ^ The Guardian: David Cameron's family fortune: the Jersey, Panama and Geneva connection | Politics, The Guardian, 26 April 2012
  4. ^ www.scottishchurches.org.uk
  5. ^ www.strathnairnheritage.org.uk
  6. ^ Pedigree for Ewan Cameron, Cameron Genealogies
  7. ^ http://www.wargs.com/noble/cameron.html
  8. ^ The Times, Obituary, 11 December 1908
  9. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36689). London. 12 February 1902. p. 9.
  10. ^ The Times 11 Oct 1898, 1A
  11. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine Jan. 1846, p. 88
  12. ^ The Times, "Committee for Bondholders", 2 November 1935
  13. ^ The Times, "Council of Foreign Bondholders", 24 July 1936
  14. ^ The Times, "Deaths", 16 November 1937
  15. ^ Pedigree for Ewen Donald Cameron, Cameron Genealogies
  16. ^ Ewen Donald Cameron, thePeerage.com

External links[edit]