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John McFarlane

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Voormezeele Enclosure No.3. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District.
Private John McFarlane. Authors image

202171 Private

4th/5th (Angus and Dundee) Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), 118th Infantry Brigade, attached to the 21st Division

Age: 28

Date of Death: 24.4.18

Buried: Voormezeele Enclosure No.3 XIV.K.8

Family History: Son of Peter and Marion McFarlane, Williamson’s Buildings, King Street, Stenhousemuir.

4/5th (Angus & Dundee) Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

The Battalion is the descendent of the pre-Territorial 1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions of the Black Watch. In 1859 the 1st Forfarshire (Dundee) Rifles were formed and in 1881 joined to the Black Watch and given the title of 1st (City of Dundee) volunteer Battalion The Black Watch. The 2nd (Angus) Volunteer Battalion was formed from the independent Volunteer companies raised in Forfarshire in 1859 and organised a year later into two administrative battalions. In 1874 these two battalions were amalgamated, and in 1881 this Battalion became the 2nd Volunteer battalion The Black Watch. In 1908 it formed the 4th (Territorial) Battalion The Black Watch.

The action leading to his death

During the German Spring offensive of 1918, the 39th Division effectively ceased to exist owing to the heavy casualties incurred. On the 30 March the 4/5th Battalion numbered only one officer and 30 other ranks and the divisional strength was reduced to 700 men in all ranks. On 10 April the battalion was at Arques were a composite brigade was formed out of what remained of the battalions that remained of the 39th Division. Number 4 battalion consisted of men belonging to the four units of the 188th Brigade and included 4/5th The Black Watch. On the same day that this composite brigade was formed it entrained at St Omer and the following morning arrived at Voormezeele and proceeded to Reninghelst-Ouderdom area and here it was attached to the 21st Division. The Battalion War Diary is short on information concerning the fighting in which the Battalion took part in during this time and simply mentions being in and out of the line.

(Linesman Map)

Medals Awarded

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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