Profile

FARQUHAR, Alexander
(Service number 24/1981)

Aliases Alex, Alec, Aleck
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman

Birth

Date 8 September 1896 Place of Birth Fairlie

Enlistment Information

Date 2 November 1915 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment P. O. Wellington South
Occupation Post Office cadet
Previous Military Experience PTO Corps Wellington (still serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin J. FARQUHAR (father), Clayton, Fairlie
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 11½ inches. Weight 152 lbs. Chest measurement 32-36 inches. Complexion medium. Eyes blue(?) Hair brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. No illnesses. free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Fit.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 4th Reinforcements 2nd Battalion, F Company
Date 4 March 1916
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Egyptian EF; Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date 24 May 1919 Reason Termination of his period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

23 June 1916 - admitted to General Hospital, St Omer, France. 2 August 1916 - France - bullet wound to back; admitted to field Ambulance. 23 January 1917 - admitted to Field Ambulance - influenza. Mid 1917 - admitted to field Ambulance; August sent to UK. September 1917 admitted to hospital - sick; admitted to Field Ambulance - VD. 31 December 1917 - sprained ankle on duty; not to blame. 2 January 1918 - admitted to Field Ambulance - sick. 24 March 1918 - admitted to hospital - sick. April 1918 - admitted to 2nd Canadian General Hospital, France - trench fever. 26 August 1918 - wounded - gas shell poisoning; admitted to hospital at Rouen; transported by Hospital Ship "St Andrew" to England; admitted to Brockenhurst; transferred to Hornchurch. 9 November 1918 - United Kingdom - fracture of right shoulder - not severe.

Post-war Occupations

Farm manager

Death

Date 7 September 1937 Age 41 years
Place of Death Lake County Hospital, Queenstown
Cause Pulmonary tuberculosis
Notices Timaru Herald, 8 September 1937; Press, 8 & 11 September 1937
Memorial or Cemetery Fairlie Cemetery
Memorial Reference P2 31
New Zealand Memorials Ashwick Flat Roll of Honour (Returned)

Biographical Notes

Alexander Farquhar, known as Alex (Alec, Aleck), was the second son of John and Marion (Mareia Marion, née Silvester) Farquhar of Clayton, Fairlie. Alex was born on 8 September 1896 at Fairlie. Scotsman John Farquhar had gone to Clayton Station, Fairlie, in 1884, firstly as a shepherd, before becoming station manager, for G. I. Hamilton. John Farquhar retired when Mr Hamilton disposed of Clayton. On a bitterly cold night in early June 1919, friends gathered from far and near at Clayton to farewell Mr Farquhar and his family, and to show their esteem and appreciation. Feeling reference was made to the services rendered by his sons in the late war – Allan had laid down his life, Aleck would receive a presentation at the next patriotic social. Mr and Mrs Farquhar and family moved to Poplar Downs at Kimbell. Alexander was educated at Pleasant Point and Fairlie schools. He met with considerable success at Fairlie School – first in general proficiency in Standard II in 1905 and a prize in Standard III in 1906. 1909 was a really good year for Alex. At the annual sports meeting and prize distribution he was named Dux and presented with a gardening prize. He passed the sixth standard examination, gaining his proficiency certificate, and also passed the Junior National Scholarship examination.

On leaving school in June 1910, Alexander Farquhar started work in the Post Office at Fairlie. 1915 found him working at the G.P.O in Wellington. A cadet in the P. and T. Corps, he responded to the Call to Arms, being medically examined and handing in his recruitment papers. The Wellington district ranked highly in the recruiting ratios. He enlisted on 2 November 1915, in fact only 19 years old. He was a Post Office cadet and serving in the P T O Corps Wellington. Single and Presbyterian, he nominated J. Farquhar, Clayton, Fairlie - his father - as next-of-kin. Alex stood at 5 feet 11½ inches, weighed 152 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 32-36 inches, blue eyes and brown hair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all good, as were his limbs, joints, heart, lungs and teeth. He was vaccinated and free of diseases and defects.

Rifleman Farquhar embarked with the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Reinforcements on 4 March 1916 at Wellington, destined for Suez, Egypt. About a month after reaching Suez, he embarked at Port Said for France and was attached to the NZ Base Depot at Etaples, before being transferred to the Rifle Brigade. He was admitted to the No 7 General Hospital, St Omer, France on 23 June 1916, and was discharged to Details in the Field and rejoined his Unit ten days later. It was reported that A. Farquhar, 24/1981 Rifleman, was wounded on 2 August 1916 in France. A bullet wound to the back resulted in admission to No 1 Field Ambulance. He was able to rejoin his unit from hospital just two days later. On successive days, 23 and 24 January 1917, Farquhar was admitted to No 1, then No 2 NZ Field Ambulance, suffering with influenza. After rejoining his Unit in the Field, France, he was again sent to hospital and admitted to the 2nd NZ Field Ambulance, rejoined his Unit, attached to NZ Reinforcements Camp, rejoined his Unit, all in mid 1917, and finally went on leave to the UK in August 1917. No sooner had he rejoined his Unit, when he was again sent to hospital, sick, and admitted to No 133 Field Ambulance on 16 September 1917, VD. In the days following he was successively admitted to No 41 Casualty Clearing Station, No 2 Stationary Hospital at Abbeville, and No 51 General Hospital at Etaples. It was November when he was discharged and was able to rejoin his Unit in the Field (8 December).

But, on 31 December 1917, he sprained his ankle while on duty; he was not to blame. Two days later he was admitted, sick, to No 3 NZ Field Ambulance and then to No 2 and No 3 Casualty Clearing Stations. More than two weeks afterwards he was discharged to duty and was able to rejoin his Unit. Another transfer followed – to the Signallers, and another hospital admission, sick, on 24 March 1918. In April 1918 Alex was admitted to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital in France, Trench Fever, and on 26th transferred to the Convalescent Depot. His was not a severe case. In June he rejoined his Unit and shortly after was transferred to the Field Artillery. On 26 August 1918, Farquhar was wounded – gas shell poisoning, and admitted to the NZ Field Ambulance. On 1 September 1918, he was admitted to hospital at Rouen, gassed. Transported to England by the hospital Ship “St Andrew” on 3 September, he was admitted to Brockenhurst. In early October, he was transferred to the Convalescent Hospital, Hornchurch. While there he forfeited one day’s pay for failing to obey orders, viz. failing to hand in his pass to the Police Office. After discharge from Hornchurch he suffered a fracture of the right shoulder on 9 November 1918 in the UK, and was discharged from hospital on 15 November. Again, his was reported as a not severe case.

In February 1919, just before his return home from the front, Alex was confined to Barracks for three days and lost pay for being absent without leave. Rifleman Farquhar embarked for New Zealand per the “Ionic” on 14 March 1919, after more than three years in Egypt and Western Europe, for which he received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The “Ionic”, a “clean” ship, berthed at Auckland on 23 April after an uneventful voyage. The southern troops travelled by train to Wellington, where they crossed over by ferry. Alec and four comrades received a very enthusiastic welcome home from the people of the Fairlie district. The Brass Band turned out to enliven the proceedings with patriotic music and the M.P. gave a short address. The crowd at the station cheered the men again and again. At a May 1919 meeting of the Ashwick Flat Patriotic Committee, Alexander was incorrectly mentioned as among those who had given their lives. The name should have been Allan Farquhar, M.C., who was killed in action in August 1918. Alex Farquhar was discharged in May 1919, on the termination of his period of engagement.

After the war he was the farm manager of the family farm "Poplar Downs" at Kimbell. At the Fairlie Show, held on Easter Monday, 1920, A. Farquhar was awarded third prize for flock sheep – crossbred lambs, ewes. He had successfully made the transition from post office cadet to sheep farmer. In 1935 he was a farmer residing at White Star House, Pembroke. Alexander Farquhar died at Lake County Hospital, Frankton, Queenstown on 7 September 1937, the day before his 41st birthday. The cause of his death was pulmonary tuberculosis, with which he had been afflicted for 23 years. An item in the Cromwell Argus said that he had resided at Pembroke (Wanaka) before going to Frankton about two years prior to his death, which occurred after a long illness. Rifleman Alexander Farquhar, 24/1981, was buried in the Fairlie Cemetery alongside his parents, on 9 September 1937. The Mackenzie County Returned Soldiers’ Association paid respects at his funeral at the Fairlie Presbyterian Church and cemetery. The name of his brother, Allan Farquhar, M.C., who was killed in action in August 1918, is also inscribed on the headstone in the Fairlie Cemetery. Alexander’s name is also inscribed on the Ashwick Flat War Memorial, in the list of Returned men.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [13 March 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5537 0039019) [02 April 2015]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal affairs) [2014]; Timaru Herald, 18 December 1905, 15 December 1906, 20 December 1909, 12 & 22 January 1910, 29 April 1919, 14 & 15 May 1919, 6 June 1919, 6 April 1920, Star, 11 January 1910, 13 September 1918, Temuka Leader, 13 January 1910, 14 June 1921, Evening Post, 13 August 1915, New Zealand Times, 14 August 1914, 5 November 1915, 15 August 1916, 30 April 1918, 13 September 1918, 21 November 1918, 15 April 1919, New Zealand Herald, 15 August 1916, Otago Daily Times, 15 August 1916, Ashburton Guardian, 23 November 1918, Sun, 14 April 1919, Press, 8 & 11 September 1937, Cromwell Argus, 13 September 1937 (Papers Past) [13 March 2014; 05 September 2014; 10 & 11 August 2015; 07 February 2018; 01 & 02 July 2019]; Timaru Herald, 8 September 1937 (Timaru District Library) [17 October 2014]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2014]; Fairlie Cemetery burial records (Mackenzie District Council) [28 March 2014]; Fairlie Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG cemetery records) [01 April 2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [2014]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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