Image of Jesus College war memorial

Ian Calcutt Findlay, 2nd Lieutenant, York and Lancaster Regiment

Ian Calcutt Findlay came up to Cambridge from the Imperial Service College at Windsor in October 1914, aged 17.

Born: Wellington, New Zealand on 8 December 1896

Died of wounds: 10 August 1915

'...swallows gathering, discussing flight.'

He had also entered at the Inner Temple. Unable to serve until his 18th birthday in December, he was one of a very small group of undergraduates left in College during Michaelmas Term 1914.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Regius Professor of English Literature, described that first term after the war had started: “We came up in October to find the streets desolate indeed.”

Troops that had been there had departed for France and few undergraduates had come up. He goes on to describe the scene in College “one seldom met, never heard, an undergraduate. A few would gather in Hall, the most of them in their OTC uniforms after a strenuous afternoon out at Madingley.”

He continues: “As I looked down the hall, this one undergraduates’ table reminded me of a road in the West Country I had followed a few days before, with the telegraph running beside it and on the wires the swallows gathering, discussing flight” (Arthur Quiller-Couch: A biographical study of Q, by F Brittain, p80).

Findlay obtained his commission as 2nd Lieutenant at the end of term, presumably on his 18th birthday. He died of wounds in Flanders on 10 August 1915 (Jesus College Society Annual Report).

You can email us on, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War

Hear from our students