Hugh Wallace Mann was born to a middle class family in Shettleston, Glasgow on 13 January 1891. His father, John, was a minister. Hugh studied at the High School of Glasgow before matriculating, in 1908 as a student of Arts Faculty of University of Glasgow. He studied Latin and Greek in his first year (1980-1909), Moral Philosophy and English in his second year (1909-1910), and Political Economy Political Philosophy, Social Economy and Geography in his last year (1910-1911). He was awarded a certificate for Political Philosophy Class (Section B) in 1911. He graduated with an MA on 20 June 1911.
After graduation, he attented the United Free Church College in Glasgow to study Church ministry in order to follow his father's footsteps and for two years acted as Student Missionary in Wellpark United Free Church, where he was highly esteemed.
Jessie Hunter Reid was born in Alva, Clackmannanshire, in 1886. She was the fourth of seven children of a middle class family. Her father, William Reid, was an educator in Glasgow. She was a pupil of Glasgow High School for Girls. According to her summer report she was commended as a "most intelligent pupil" and "a pupil of great promise". In 1913 she matriculated at the University of Glasgow as a first year Arts student and studied Latin and Mathematics. It looks like she didn't go on to graduate.
Hugh and Jessie first met at Hugh's graduation ceremony and their friendship began then. They got married on 15th October 1914. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Hugh was just entering the last session of his Divinity course, when he answered the call to his country's service. During that winter he trained with his battalion, and threw himself with wonted enthusiasm and determination into the work. In the early summer of 1915 orders were issued for France. For several months the battalion was engaged in minor operations. Then came the great onslaught at Loos on 25th September. Hugh survived the battle and escaped with only minor injuries. During his military service he was promoted three times until he became Captain . On 12 Otober 1917, Hugh was wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele. Two days later he wrote a letter to his wife, Jessie, with an optimistic attitude to his injuries. However, he died one month later on 14 November 1917.
Hugh and Jessie had one son, Cameron, who was born in 1915 but sadly died in 1931 after catching the mumps. After her son's death Jessie devoted herself to the church. She died on 19 January 1976.
Brid Hetherington, a relative, published a book of Hugh's letters to Jessie titled Under The Shadow: Letters of Love and War 1911-1917 (1999) a copy of which is included in this collection.