Birth of a Regiment

 

Lt Col Francis Farquhar, DSO

Commanding Officer 12 August 1914 – 20 March 1915
Born in England in 1875. Educated at Eton College, he spoke French, Somali and Chinese. He served in South Africa 1899-1900 and Somaliland 1903-1904. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Farquahar was serving as Military Secretary to The Duke of Connaught in 1914. The role was much more than ceremonial. As the senior regular British officer in Canada, he was a respected and important link between the Imperial General Staff and the Canadian Army. It was the partnership and social connection between Farquhar and Gault that was the key to the formation of the regiment. An officer of the elite Coldstream Guards with a superb record and Royal connections, there is little doubt that Farquahar could have commanded a battalion of his own regiment and would very likely have quickly risen to command a brigade. That he chose instead to help rally a regiment of former soldiers is testament to his commitment to duty above self.

It was Farquahar’s name and position as much as the name of a beautiful Princess that appealed to the former British soldiers who made up most of the original battalion. His early rejection of the Ross Rifle during trials at Levis before embarkation was the beginning of a lengthy battle the ended when the rest of the Canadian Expeditionary Force converted late in 1915.

His wife, Lady Evelyn Farquhar accompanied the Patricia’s to England and remained a strong supporter of her husband’s regiment throughout the war, visiting wounded soldiers and sending comforts to troops in the field.

Francis Farquhar died of wounds received at St Eloi on March 20, 1915. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was twice mentioned in despatches.


 

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