The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Lieutenant John McFarlane

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: John Archibald (Jack) McFarlane (also in Murray as MacFarlane)

Ancestor's date of birth: 04/12/1879

Ancestor's date of death: 01/08/1945

Cause of Death: Renal Failure

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Left School at 14 in 1893. Worked for a short time in the family business of C J McFarlane and Son but the life of a watchmaker and jeweller did not appeal. During the next few years John McFarlane had a number of jobs. He frequented the Findon Hunt Club, and worked as a roustabout. He saw pre-war service in the militia, and was able to enlist for the Boer War as a corporal.

Service Number: 259

Colony or State of enlistment: VIC, Place of Enlistment: Melbourne

Unit: 4th Victorian Imperial Bushmen, and 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: LT, Date Effective: 27/03/1902

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): No evidence of post Boer War service.

Murray Page: 266 and 281

Contingent: Fourth and Fifth Victorian

Ship: Victorian, Date of Sailing: 01/03/1901

Memorial details: VMR Memorial, Melbourne; Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Transvaal, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 clasps.

Personal Characteristics: Strong personality, born leader.

Reasons to go and fight: Fight for his country.

Details of service in war: With 4VIB from May 1901, relieved garrison at Schweizer Reneke, also operations at the town of Wolmaroansstad. Marched 600 km in 15 days. On 22 June 1901, 4VIB returned to Australia, McFarlane, by now a sergeant did not return with them. Commissioned, he served with 5VMR until 27/03/1902. He joined the 5VMR after Wilmansrust. On 8 Feb 1902, the now Lieutenant McFarlane and a party captured 12 Boers and 40 Horses in the Elendsberg district.

Service and life after the Boer War: The 5 VMR returned home to Melbourne in April 1902. He worked as a jackaroo and wool press hand, started his own business with friends, McFarlane and Burns, wax paper company "Tiger Brand"e, at the time a very successful company. His Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps was donated to the Australian War Memorial by his granddaughter Wendy Laing together with his photo and a Boer Mauser 8mm bolt action carbine (a Gewehr 88) serial number 6459 made in Berlin.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Wendy Laing, Roxburgh Park QLD
Relationship to Ancestor: Granddaughter - my mother's father


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields