World War 2 (1939 - 1945)

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Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

John McFarlane

Service: Army
Regiment: 4th Queen's Own Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps
Rank: Corporal
Service number: 7943045

John McFarlane was born in Glasgow in 1916, the son of James and Margaret Walker McFarlane.* He married Irene Edna Picton in Blythswood, Glasgow and they set up home in Newton Mearns in 1940. John's father owned a shirt factory in Pollokshaws and John was learning the business to eventually take it over. He was by nature a pacifist, played the oboe and enjoyed nothing more than hill-walking and climbing. He turned down the opportunity of a commission, choosing instead to join up as an ordinary soldier.

John was 28 years old when his tank received a direct hit in the Battle of Coriano on 5 September 1944. He is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial - Panel 1.

Information from the Regiment Diaries:
During September 1944, John’s Regiment was in continuous battle. The period immediately preceding first contact on the 4th being occupied by long forced marches by day and night. The great majority of officers and men therefore had no sleep for over 60 hours before entering the battle. In spite of this and the difficulty of carrying out normal maintenance, the condition of the tanks remained excellent and the health and morale of all ranks was maintained at a high level. The contention previously expressed that the removal of the turrets from Stuart Recce Tanks to increase speed and manoeuvrability was a mistaken policy and was amply and sadly proved by the experience of battle. On the 5th, the regiment was ordered to probe forward to Coriano, to find out if it was held by the enemy. At 09:45 the patrol entered Coriano from the east. They were heavily engaged, and 2 turretless Stuarts were KO'd [knocked out] and 1 missing. Heavy shelling pinned down forward Tps [Troops] and remnants of the Coriano patrol. By 10:00 it was certain Coriano was strongly held by the enemy.  The strength of the Recce Tp [Troop] in personnel and tanks was reduced by 50% during this operation through enemy artillery concentration.

 


 *As a young child John had carved his name on a good table for which he had received a huge row and doubtless a thrashing. After his death this table with its carving was his mother's prized possession.


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