The LFF Diaries project

This is a project to transcribe and publish the diaries of my grandfather, Leonard Findlay.

Leonard Findlay was born at the end of the 19th century and lived in Harrow (West London). His father was a merchant, trading in decorated porcelain tiles. Leonard played the piano and the organ, and was a member of the Officer Training Corps while at school and later at university. He spent a year as an undergraduate at Oxford studying Divinity until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, when he immediately volunteered for the army and was commissioned by the 9th Middlesex Regiment.

After very basic training his unit was posted to India, travelling via the Suez Canal. They remained there until 1919, moving around the North West Frontier but not seeing much enemy action.

The majority of the diary describes the day-by-day life of the junior officers. The men under their command only get occasional mentions, though there do seem to have been a lot of them. On one occasion Leonard describes an expedition to a nearby base as if it is a handful of officers out on a social visit, but part way along happens to mention the 150 mules and 75 camels that are carrying their equipment!

Scanned diaries

There are several books and also some loose typed sheets. I am photographing each page (much faster than using a scanner) and putting the images online here. The first part of the transcription job is being done by the Amazon Mechanical Turk (or rather by the Turkers). As the results come in I am attaching them to the scanned image. There will then be a clean-up stage to correct typing errors and deal with unclear words. Finally I plan to extract the text onto more easily-readable pages, though still with links back to the original images.

Further background information

The briefing for Amazon Mechanical Turk workers includes lists of relevant acronyms, slang words, people and places.

A page from the Army List 1915 showing the names of all the officers of the 9th Middlesex Regiment.

Some pictures from Leonard Findlay's photograph albums

Some pictures of the trunk that Leonard Findlay took to India

Andrew Findlay