Ian Macfarlane

Ian Cameron Macfarlane was born in 1896 in West Hartlepool.

Both his parents; Charles and Nancy, were from Scotland and at one time were the Mayor and Mayoress of West Hartlepool. They lived in Hutton Avenue, a well-to-do area of large Victorian houses. The 1911 census shows three servants employed by the family.

Ian went to Mill Hill boarding school in London before returning home to a job at shipping company, Furness Withy & Co Ltd in West Hartlepool.

black and white image of Ian MacFarlaneThe 14 letters we have included here were written by Ian to his sister, Janet and span the period of almost a year, from November 1915, when he was preparing for events at Gallipoli through to September 1916 when he was in the Somme area of France.

Ian initially joined The Royal Fusiliers when the First World War began. He was later commissioned into the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant in February 1915 to serve with the 11th Battalion. By November 1915 he was at Gallipoli, attached to the 6th Battalion. He then moved on for a brief stay on the Turkish island of Imbros, before embarking for Egypt.

At the beginning of July 1916 the battalion sailed for France, where, by the 17th they were entrenched at Agny, south of Arras. The battalion took no part in the early stages of the Battle of the Somme until early September (the battle began on 1 July).

Read the letters here.

On 14 September 1916, 20 year old Ian was reported as missing, then confirmed as having been killed in action. His name is on the Thiepval Memorial to those who have no known grave.