LFF Diaries: background information

This is part of 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 in less than a week.

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. Through most of this time, LFF held the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

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!

Names and abbreviations

If you come across acronyms or abbreviations in the text, please type them exactly as found in the original. The lists here may help you to check and understand them.


LFFLeonard Frederick Findlay
TedA cousin (may appear to be Jed in handwriting)


&cand etcetera
slackedrested / did very little
MTSMerchant Taylors School
LNWRLondon and North Western Railway
GWRGreat Western Railway
LanternMagic Lantern (projector for glass slides)

Home, School and Oxford University

UggerProbably slang form of The Oxford Union
HallGathering in college hall to eat
BalliolBalliol is an Oxford College
MagdalenMagdalen is an Oxford College
JaggersProbably Jesus College
collekkerProbably "colloquium"
TubbingLearning to row a racing boat
YonaProbably refers to the Greek Language
the HillProbably the church at Harrow on the Hill, west London
H.C.Holy Communion
CEMSChurch of England Men's Society
OMT or O.M.T.Probably "Old Merchant Taylors (school)"


COCommanding Officer
OOOrderly Officer (slang form: Orderly Dog)
MGMachine Gun
OTCOfficers Training Corps
OUOTCOxford University Officers Training Corps
TerriersTerritorial Army
HewettMajor W P Hewett
BeachCaptain G Beach
HewlettCaptain Lionel Hewlett or Captain J H Hewlett
LamontLieutenant J E Lamont
Hickling2nd Lieutenant J C Hickling

A useful page listing the officers of the 9th Middlesex on 1st Nov 1914.


GOIGovernment Of India
DinaporeA garrison town
Dak BungalowA hostel for travellers


I plan to put the diaries on the web when I have collected and edited the text. They will end up on www.findlays.net and I may also do a print-on-demand book version. Here is a quick hack that I am using to track progress: http://www.findlays.net/lff/

Thanks very much for your help - I could not do this on my own!

Andrew Findlay