Hugh, I just found this thread yesterday, topic surfing.
I joined the Forum specifically to thank you for your
research, which is a benefit to all who read old travel
books and wonder at their authenticity. I had done a
similar investigation of another voyage book published
in London, detailing a trip from China to France in 1917, in which all the key figures were given false names and even the author used a pseudonym. So I understand some
of the steps you took. In my case the author was long dead and family could not be located.
I have printed out your entire thread and folded it into the book. I have the first edition which I found in San Diego in 1990 and a later edition picked up here in Vancouver.
I didn't know that the author had also written his autobiography. Can you tell me if he mention a Dr. Thomas Hately Macfie in that memoir of his life? I have
a suspicion that they knew each other pre-WW1.