Who is Private James McFarlane?


Private James McFarlane, the author of these diaries and letters, was born on August 16th 1887 in the Hardgate, Johnshaven, south of Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1901 he left school at 14, two years later in November 1903, he had moved to Dundee and gave his age as 18 years 2 months to enlist in the Royal Highland Regiment (more commonly known as The Black Watch). He enlisted in the army for 3 years with 9 years as a reservist. He was still a reservist when war was declared on August 4th, 1914, therefore he reported to Edinburgh Castle the following day. What you will see in the diaries and letters, was that he was sure Germany would be beaten eventually but the price paid in lives would be high. He also believed he was one of the lucky ones who would survive the war. By the end of the war in 1918, just over 700,000 British servicemen had been killed.

Who is making these diaries and letters public?

I am Jessica Scott, the Great-great Granddaughter of Private James McFarlane. I live in Auckland, New Zealand – the other side of the world from where these writings originated from. I happened to come across copies of these letters in 2015 – my first time reading them, and believed that more people should have access to this little piece of history.

The owner of these letters and the person who has put them together and given me permission to make them public, is James McFarlane, the grandson of Private James McFarlane, and my Grandpa’s cousin.