CarylW Posted 4 November , 2013 Share Posted 4 November , 2013 A book, that should have been and could still be written, (in my opinion, which probably counts for nothing) is one about the colourful, enigmatic character Robert Andrew Scott Macfie, Quartermaster with the Liverpool Scottish. If nothing else, Macfie's many letters written home to family and friends that span the entire war, field note-books and papers would surely make interesting reading in a published form? Robert Scott Macfie, educated at Cambridge and Edinburgh a member of a prominent sugar refining family in Liverpool, was a volunteer pre-war, and at the outbreak of war rejoined aged 44 as a private in the Liverpool Scottish and rose to colour sergeant. Eventually becoming the Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant Viewed as ideal officer material, he rejected many offers of a commission. A prolific letter writer, there is apparently, a large collection of his letters written to family members and friends throughout the entire war, full of detail and largely uncensored, except for a few written while he was in hospital, these are held by the Liverpool Scottish museum (I haven't had the chance to read them) and the Macfie papers are held at the IWM. Post-war he became an expert in gypsy lore, wrote at least one book on the subject and travelled extensively. He also wrote a cook book for Army cooks. Quite a lot of anecdotes about him and extracts from his many letters are in Helen McCartney's 'Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War'. He's also referred to quite a bit in McGilchrist. 'Liverpool Scottish 1914-1919. There was a memoir about him called 'Friend of all the world: A memoir of Robert Scott Macfie', written in 1935 as part of the series from the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society - a society revived by him post-war. Copies on Abe. As far as I'm aware, no other book has been written specifically about him. There is also a section about him in 'Bravest of hearts' Hal Giblin In one letter after the terrible events of the Battle of Hooge, which nearly annihilated the Liverpool Scottish, he wrote to a friend '..don't imagine that we are gloomy. Perhaps we should be. As a matter of fact the remnant is very fit, singing, talking and joking as if there was nothing melancholy or even serious in the whole world. In the midst of death we are in life'. Yet by 1918 he wrote to a friend 'I'm rather lonely now. All my friends are either dead or invalided home and I don't take to their conscript successors. We lost again very heavily in Cambrai counter- attack. Now there are only 72 of us to wear the 1914 Star ribbon: out of more than 1800 who came out in France in 1914'. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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