Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Remembering a Veteran: John Giles Farquhar, 25 Squadron, RAF

Dad in His Trench Coat with His DH-9A Aircraft and Air and/or Ground Crew

Contributed by His Son:  John W. (Jack) Farquhar, MD

My father, John Giles Farquhar, was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 13 July 1897. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916 and was assigned  the 196th Infantry. By 1918 he had earned a lieutenant's commission and his pilot's wings with the RAF. He was assigned to 25 Squadron, flying a DH-9A on bombing and reconnaissance missions. He was shot down several times and survived, but on one mission his observer was killed.

After the war, he returned home, renewed his athletic career, and earned recognition as one of the finest hockey goalies of his era. His subsequent career also involved sports, both coaching and operating sporting businesses. His interests brought the family to the U.S., first at the University of Wisconsin, then Pasadena, California.

2nd Lt. Farquhar

He passed away in 1974.

My uncle Charles also served in the Canadian Army. He was four years older than my father and chose to stay in England after the war, where he became an exporter of Scotch whiskey.

Dr. Jack Farquhar is Professor Emeritus at the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California.


  1. E8557 was a DH9A, not a DH9 - the difference matters; the "9-Ack" was a greatly improved aeroplane with a 400hp Liberty engine rather various less powerful and less reliable engines. Your grandfather would have felt more confident in a 9A; it remained in service until 1930.

    1. Thanks Adrian, correction noted.

    2. Adrian — I'm an assistant editor here at Roads. Your detail here on the DH9A is interesting. Send me an email so we can talk research tools. Thanks:

    3. I am curious, I have recently taken a flight in a small plane, thinking of the Great War's air arm at what altitude they operated in. I know that oxygen at increased altitude becomes an issue for the pilot as well as the performance of the engine; am curious about the aircraft. I surely can look this up, but would appreciate your insight.

  2. Hello Jack!
    I’ve recently discovered an envelope full of photos belonging to my grandfather. He was British and served with 57 Squadron in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1.
    One of the smaller photos that caught my attention was that of a pilot (or Observer?) standing by a DH9A.
    I think it’s the same plane shown in your photo, showing E8557, but it’s definitely seen some service and is badly damaged. The wooden building in the background of both photos looks very similar.
    I have no idea how my grandfather came across the photo but I believe he served in Belgium during the war and when he could, was a keen photograph collector but also liked to take photos when he could, so it’s a possibility he may have even taken the photo himself.
    Please let me know if you’d like me to send you a copy, if so I’ll try to enlarge it to get a better view to see if this is your father or his ground crew.

  3. Hi,
    I am interested in the photo that you have! John Giles Farquhar was my grandfather. My mother is his daughter, brother of John W, (Jack) Farquhar. I am not sure if Uncle Jack got your post, but I will make sure his family and my relatives get a digital copy as well.
    Please send to
    Thank you!