After education at Ludgrove and Eton Ian Farquhar was commissioned from Sandhurst into The Queen’s Own Hussars in December 1965.

Captain Ian Farquhar, LVO
Captain Ian Farquhar, LVO

His father, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Peter Farquhar had commanded the 3rd Hussars at El-Alamein for which he was awarded a DSO. Following the catastrophic losses that the regiment incurred in that battle, the regiment had to be pulled out of the line. Sir Peter reformed the 3rd Hussars as an efficient fighting force and commanded the regiment during the early stages of the Italian campaign.

At the end of the war, Sir Peter became Master of the Portman Hunt. He was an experienced huntsman having been MFH of both the Tedworth and the Whaddon Chase before the war. Ian was therefore brought up in a hunting environment first in Dorset and latterly in Gloucestershire. By the time he joined the regiment, Ian was already an accomplished horseman and he soon attracted the attention of Major Charles Lockhart, the mainstay of regimental polo, who developed Ian into an excellent regimental player.

At the time of Ian’s commissioning the regiment was the RAC Training Regiment at Catterick so his first command in ‘B’ Squadron was taking intakes of recruits through sixteen weeks of General Military Training. There was hunting with the Bedale and Zetland Hunts and polo at Toulston so this was a popular post for cavalry officers.

In 1967 the regiment moved to Maresfield Camp, Uckfield, Sussex to convert to armoured cars prior to deployment in July of that year to the Middle East. Whilst the main body of the regiment was in Aden, ’B’ Squadron was detached to Sharjah in the Persian Gulf where they carried out desert patrols often in conjunction with the Trucial Oman Scouts. The lack of topographical features demanded skilled navigation and the sharp desert stones caused many punctures; consequently, all ranks became adept at changing the spare wheel on a Ferret. Two troops of ‘B’ Squadron including Ian’s were sent to Aden to cover the final withdrawal before being taken off on HMS Fearless.

In 1968 Ian became Regimental Signals Officer based with RHQ alongside ‘A’ Squadron in Singapore and he was given the additional responsibility of Jungle Warfare Training Officer for the regiment. This of course meant that he had to undertake a jungle warfare course on which the majority of his fellow students were paratroopers, Borneo veterans and prospective SAS candidates. Like most cavalry officers, Ian found the jungle a most unpleasant place – wet, and full of leeches and snakes. However, he was put in a lead position during the final exercise and he passed the course well. Those in the regiment whom he trained in jungle warfare shared his opinion of the jungle and he was relieved only to have to send them off and not to be back trudging through it again.

Singapore presented plenty of opportunities for polo as Ian was introduced to the Sultan of Johore who asked him to become part of his polo team.

In 1969 Ian returned as UK Adjutant at Rear HQ in Maresfield before becoming Equerry to HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother with whom he was a great favourite. When he overslept and failed to arrive in time to escort her to an important event, Her Majesty accepted his apology and presented him with an alarm clock. At the end of his term as Equerry, Ian was created a Lieutenant of the Victorian Order.

On return to regimental duty in Hohne Ian served as Second in Command of ‘B’ Squadron until he retired from the army in 1973.

Ian had a natural talent for polo as, eighteen months or so after learning the game he was part of the regimental team that won the Inter Regimental Tournament. This earned the team the right to represent the British Army at a tournament in Persia as it was then. He continued to play polo for the regiment until his retirement and he competed in a number of point-to-points.

In 1972 Ian married Pamela-Jane Chafer whose father, Charles, was Master of the Derwent Hunt to which she and her two sisters were whippers in. It was always an ambition of Ian’s to hunt hounds and he accepted an offer to become Master and Huntsman of the Bicester and Warden Hill Hunt with Pammie-Jane as his whipper in. This very successful partnership lasted until 1985 when the Duke of Beaufort invited Ian to join him as his joint master and huntsman. This was the start of an era which only ended when Ian retired in 2019.

Ian and Tim Easby, ex QOH and Master of the Middleton, at a joint meet at Birdsall 2008.
Ian and Tim Easby, ex-QOH and Master of the Middleton, at a joint meet at Birdsall 2008.

Regarded as a legend in the Beaufort Hunt, Ian was highly regarded throughout the hunting fraternity both as a huntsman who provided excellent sport and as an expert breeder of hounds. In all this, he was staunchly supported by Pammie-Jane and their three daughters.

Ian was at the forefront of campaigns to preserve hunting including on the Countryside Alliance March where he and others astounded the police by persuading the whole march to go past the Cenotaph in silence. He was equally active in the Masters of Foxhounds Association where he was deputy to Major Tim Easby (late QOH and Master, and Huntsman first of the West of Yore and then of the Middleton), the Director.

When Ian ran a London Marathon on behalf of the charity SANE, he was so fit after years of hunting four days a week that, after no training, he put on the plimsolls with which he had been issued at Sandhurst, stubbed out his cigarette and completed the course. When he ran the following year on behalf of BFSS however he took the precaution of investing in a pair of running shoes and doing some training thus ensuring that he was better prepared.

Captain Ian Farquhar died on 6th March 2024. His thanksgiving service was attended by over one thousand mourners including HM Queen Camilla representing HM, The King, Miss Helen Asprey representing The Prince of Wales and Mrs. Timothy Holderness-Roddam representing The Princess Royal. Baroness Mallalieu KC, President of the Countryside Alliance, who read a lesson, once described Ian as ‘a legend in the world of hunting’.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The Queen’s Own Hussars