The diary was written contemporaneously in 4 small notebooks, copied in 1919 into 2 larger notebooks, and this typed transcription written in 1972 so that he could give copies to each of his four children. The pen and ink copy of the original booklets, dated 1919, was in the possession of Mackay's elder son, namely, Dr Alan L Mackay, MSc, Dept of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, London University in 1975.
There is a letter to his children at the start of the transcription explaining about the diary and why he had transcribed it. This version also includes at the end, his own review of his diaries, looking back after 53 years. There are appendices: " A Battalion Song of the 11th Argylls "; two extracts from the London Gazette, 1917 and 1918, regarding Robert Lindsay Mackay (RLM) being awarded the Military Cross, and a Bar to the MC; " Epilogue, 1972"; Review of Mackay's Diary by "Senex" [RLM himself] in 1972.
Page 83 has a list of the officers of the 11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in France, Sept 1916 until amalgamation and absorption by the 1st/8th Territorial Battalion of the Regiment, 10 June 1918, and notes whether each soldier was killed or wounded or went to the UK.
There is also a list of officers of the old 1st/8th Argylls who joined up with the 11th Battalion Argylls to form the new 1st/8th Argylls, in June 1918.
At the beginning of the transcript is a photo of RLM in 1975, then two pages of original photographs of officers, with Mackay's handwritten identification of the officers as follows:
- 1) Officers of B Company, 11th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders before the battle of Arras, 9 April 1917; back row (standing) - R L Mackay, Alan Whyte, George Beattie, Miller, Hunnybun. Front row (seated): Capt Wright, Capt "Gib" Mitchell, Lt Farquharson. Group photograph, in uniform (Hunnybun wearing a kilt), with steel helmets and walking sticks;
- 2) Officers of 11th Battalion, 11th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders before the battle of Ypres, 1917; back row (standing) : David Robertson, A W Gray, D G Prosser, George Mitchell, J F C Cameron, Lt Harrigan, T W Bradshaw, Ruthven, Billy Irvine. Middle row (seated): Capt Dickson, RAMC, Capt A G Cameron, Major W F C Mc Clure, Capt & Adjt G F Macleod, Lt Col G L Wilson, Capt Richards, Capt Leitch, Capt C A Mackean, Capt & QM Bennett. Front row (seated on grass): D R Cameron, R L Mackay, David Sorley, G N D Sinclair, MacCallum, William Haldane, Colin Mitchell. Group photograph, in uniform (wearing kilts);
- 3) Photograph of Alan H White (killed 9 April 1917) and R L Mackay before battle of Arras. Wearing uniform, with kilts (and kilt covers) and gas mask bags round necks;
- 4) No 7 platoon 11th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, O C Company before the battle of Ypres (1917); Capt C A Maclean with McCallum and RLM. Group photograph of 41 soldiers (and dog);
- 5) Photograph of Lt Col G L Wilson and Major W F C McClure on horses, 1918;
- 6) Photograph of Capt & Adjt George Macleod, Jan 1919;
- 7) Photograph of Jimmy Dickson, RAMC, on horseback;
- 8) Photograph of RLM and another officer in uniform, with kilts and sporrans, in England 1915/1916.