Many mountains in K-Country are named after famous people, places or things.
Mt. Farquhar is located in Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park at the south end of K-Country along the headwaters of Cataract Creek and sits on the Continental Divide. Access to its base is though the Caratact Creek Snow Vehicle Public Land Use Zone. It is at the far reaches of the Upper Cataract Creek snowmobile trail, and the Great Divide Trail runs along its flanks. It’s named for Lieutenant-Colonel Francis D. Farquhar, DSO, who was born on September 17, 1874 in England.
Who was Francis Farquhar?
Farquhar joined the Coldstream Guards in 1896, and saw action in the Boer War in South Africa between 1899 and 1900. He also served with the ‘Weihaiwei’ Guards Chinese Regiment of Infantry in 1901 where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
When World War I broke out, Farquhar was serving as Military Secretary to the Duke of Connaught, who was the Governor General of Canada. In 1914, he accepted an offer to lead the privately founded Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (“PPCLI”), named in honour of Princess Patricia, daughter of the Duke. The Patricias became the first Canadian regiment in the field when they landed in France in December 1914. The Regiment has served Canada continuously for more than 100 Years.
As the PPCLI’s first Commanding Officer, Farquhar led the Regiment through its introduction to trench warfare. In Belgium, on the night of March 19, 1915, while supervising wire- laying during the relief of another unit in the front line, Lt.-Col. Farquhar was shot and died soon after. Although his tenure was short-lived, he was credited for establishing the professionalism and sense of duty within the Regiment, and contributed greatly to its fighting spirit.
When Farquhar was killed, he was succeeded in command by Lt. Col. H.C. Buller, who also has a mountain named after him in K-Country. You can read Buller’s story here. Buller and Farquhar are buried side by side in the Voormezeel #3 cemetery near Ypres in Belgium. The photo at right is of Farquhar’s and Buller’s gravesites from WW1Cemetaries.com. We thank them for permission to use the photo.
In 2017, the PPCLI Foundation together with the Calgary Health Trust unveiled a plaque at the Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area to commemorate Farquhar and the events that lead to the mountain being named after him. The event was called “Reaching the Summit for Mental Health and Wellness 2017”.
At the 2017 event, Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, and Alberta MLA Dave Rodney, the first Canadian to Summit Mt Everest two times, led a climb of Mt. Farquhar. You can read more about the event here.
You can read more of the service of Lieutenant Colonel Farquhar at Veterans Affairs Canada’s Virtual War Memorial page here.