Alexander Milne Farquhar

Alexander Milne Farquhar

9th Battalion Gordon Highlanders

Died 28 June 1917 age 24

Sergt. A.M. Farquhar – Gordon Hrs

Alexander Milne Farquhar was born in the parish of Kincardine O’Neil on 26 January 1893, the son of Alexander Farquhar and Mary Milne or Farquhar. In 1901 the family was living at Woodside in Aberdeen, but both parents came from Lumphanan originally. He had a sister May, who was two years younger. Later, Alexander (senior) and Mary lived at Sawmill Cottage, Torphins. In 1911, aged 18, young Alexander was employed by Charles Birse as a horseman at Little Maldron, Torphins, where there was a water- and horse-driven mill.

Farquhar enlisted in the 9th Bn. Gordon Highlanders (Service no. 705). The 9th were a pioneer battalion. In the early part of June 1917 they were on the Western Front behind the lines of the Ypres salient, engaged in drill and training. On 17 June they were transported by train to the railhead at Hopoutre near Poperinghe. (It’s said that the soldiers, displaying our national genius for mangling other people’s languages, liked to say that Hopoutre was so named as it was where they were accustomed to “hop out”, or in the case of the Gordons probably “hop oot”, of the trains transporting them back to the front.) In the latter part of the month the 9th were deployed in digging and repairing trenches, sandbagging and laying cables and trench boards, at times under heavy fire. Farquhar died of wounds on 28 June 1917 at the age of 24.

The battalion diary sheds no light on when he was injured or what exactly happened to him, and his personal records were destroyed in the bombing of London in September 1940. Possibly his wounds were sustained in the course of the battalion’s operations in late June 1917, but it is impossible to tell. His place of burial suggests a strong likelihood that he was treated at the medical facilities close to Lijssenthoek. He is commemorated at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.