‘Dear Mother, just a note to inform you that I have seen the war through safely’

By Claire Keane

Hi I’m a Glasgow University student who is currently on a cataloguing placement in the Glasgow University Archives. I’m re-cataloguing a collection belonging to Daniel McFarlane who was a soldier in the Cameron Highlanders in WWI and a medical graduate of the university.

I’ve come across some interesting finds like the letters and postcards he sent to his mother and sisters during the war. However, when searching through one of Daniel’s old notebooks I found a three page handwritten letter he wrote to his mother just after the cease fire.

Daniel’s writing to his mother to let her know he has ‘seen the war through safely’. In this letter he writes about the feelings of the troops stating ‘they took the news quietly without any outwards sign of emotions’. Daniel also writes about the civilians who suffered at the hands of the German soldiers and states ‘We expected quite a demonstration here on the part of the civilians but nothing much out of the ordinary took place. I think most of the spirit has been crushed out of them, although they did have a smile for Tommy’.

This may seem unusual as most people would believe both the troops and civilians would be celebrating the end of the war. On the first page of the letter Daniel writes how memorable the11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918 will be. As Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day approaches I thought this was an important and significant find to highlight.

If you’re interested in looking at the collection, you can see the catalogue for it here.



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  1. The First World War and the University of Glasgow: The Participation of Students and Staff – by Nichola Jones « University of Glasgow Library

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