Obituary: Walter Farquhar

Walter Farquhar, engineer, air-force officer and local councillor: born Bathgate, West Lothian 22 February 1921; foundryman, Renton and Fisher 1936- 39; flying officer engineer, RAF Bomber Command 1940-45; costing engineer, Monro and Miller 1945-86; member, Bathgate Town Council and Senior Bailie 1960-75; elder and session clerk, St David's Church, Bathgate 1970-90; married 1944 Mary Bryce (one daughter); died Lancaster 3 April 1993.

THE LAST occasion on which I saw Walter Farquhar was when he waited patiently until the rest of my constituents had conducted their business at my weekly surgery. His visit was prompted by the controversy surrounding Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris. His point was simple. He hated war. He had deep distaste for what he had been asked to do over Hamburg and other German cities. But, was Britain in the 1990s going to disown what the RAF aircrews had done, risking their lives on every mission in the 1940s?

Farquhar would say that he was just plain lucky to have a half-century of active life that was denied so many of the aircrew with whom he served. Having participated in a couple of score of Halifax bomber missions over German targets, he believed he was living on borrowed time, that was not accorded to so many of his contemporaries. From the moment he returned from the war, Farquhar devoted his spare time and considerable energies to good works, visiting wounded ex- servicemen, and the elderly, and keeping in touch with those less well placed than himself, above all, those who had served in the same Halifax squadron. The wives of Farquhar's 76 Squadron banded together to make a memorial tapestry which was placed in York Minster in 1986.

Walter Farquhar was born the youngest of the 10 children of Alec Farquhar, a coalminer at Riddochhill Colliery. One of Walter's brothers, Robert, was a prominent official of the National Union of Mineworkers, and pit delegate at Riddochhill at the time of closure.

Farquhar was elected to Bathgate Town Council in 1960, and became Senior Bailie two years before Local Government Reform changed the system in 1975. It was a tribute to his personality that he stood and was elected as an Independent - and independent Farquhar really was. He was one of a generation whose style of life was determined by the shared dangers of the Second World War. He was sustained by a supremely happy marriage to Mary Bryce.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower