JAMES CASAMAJOR FARQUHARSON
James Farquharson was born on 20th of January, 1829, at sea “while crossing the line” and baptized on the 18th of May,
1829, at St Marylebone, London. He was the son of Charles Farquharson, Esq, of Lower Berkeley Street, and his wife Louisa.
James received a classical and mathematical education under the Rev. G. Greis of Wanstead, Essex. He was nominated as a
Cadet for the East India Company’s Bombay Cavalry, for the 1847/8 season, by EIC Director Major-General Archibald
Galloway, at the recommendation of James’ father, who was then described as “Captain, Retired”
James passed the Military Committee at East India House, London, on the 24th of November, 1847. He embarked for
India by the ‘overland’ route, i.e., via Marseilles and Egypt, on the 3rd of December, 1847, and was commissioned a Cornet
as of the same date.
Cornet Farquharson arrived at Bombay on the 28th of January, 1848, and was attached to the Bombay Horse Artillery.
He was directed to join its Headquarters at Poona pursuant to General Order dated 12 February 1848. However, before
joining the Horse Artillery, James was posted to the 2nd Bombay Cavalry by General Order dated 18 February 1848 and
was ordered to proceed and join his new regiment by General Order 18 April 1848.
James was promoted to Lieutenant on the 19th of October, 1849. He was granted a furlough to the UK on private affairs
from May 1855 to April 1857. During his absence from India he volunteered to serve with the Turkish Contingent Cavalry
in the Crimea from the 13th of Ju1y, 1855, to the 15th of June, 1856, with the local rank of Captain. Captain Farquharson
received the Turkish Crimea medal (unnamed as issued) for his services with the Turkish Contingent Cavalry. (Note that
British officers serving with the Turkish Contingent did not meet the criteria for entitlement to the British Crimea medal).
Following the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny at Meerut on May 10th, 1857, James was appointed on August 10th to be
Staff Officer to a force under Lt-Colonel Foulerton which was proceeding to Nusseerabad on field service. He was then
appointed Adjutant of the 2nd Bombay Cavalry on the 23rd of November, 1857.
His war service during the Indian Mutiny are stated in Hart’s Army List to have been:
“Present at the action of Nimbhara on the 18th of September, 1857 and at Jeerum on the 23rd October 1857. With
the troops in the pursuit of Tantia Topee in 1858 and 1859.”
The Times in discussing the relief of the garrison at Neemuch reported:
“On the 15th day of the siege, Sunday the 22nd, the rebels, hearing of the approach of the Mhow force, moved off for
Mumndisore, and thus the garrison of Neemuch was relieved. Meantime the cavalry had been hovering about, and going
from village to village, to encamp for the night. On one occasion a troop, under Lieutenant Farquharson, surprised a
number of the enemy, and cut them to pieces in a village close to the walls of Neemuch; but staying rather longer than was
advisable in the vicinity of so large a force, they were forced to retire, being surrounded by overpowering numbers. They,
however, had effect all they came for, or that could be expected of them; and the enemy ever after kept a good look out to
prevent another such surprise.” (Times, 19 January 1858.)
According to the House of Common Papers, for "charging the rebel's picquets at the siege of Neemuch", Lieutenant
Farquharson was “strongly mentioned for his gallantry in General Orders, by the Commander in Chief, 17th December,
For his services during the Indian Mutiny, Lieutenant Farquharson received the Indian Mutiny medal with the clasp for
Central India named to him in the Bombay 2nd Regiment Light Cavalry.
Captain Farquharson was appointed 2nd Squadron Officer, 3rd Bombay Cavalry, on 1 January 1864. He was granted a
furlough to the UK on medical certificate from the 24th of August, 1864. James did not return to India, and his
retirement in England was reported during the fourth quarter of 1869 at which time he held the rank of Major.
James Farquharson is shown in the 1871 Census as living in Brixton and his occupation is given as Governor of H.M.’s Prison,
Brixton. In the 1891 Census, he is shown as living in Portsmouth and employed as the Governor of Portsmouth Prison.
James Farquharson died on the 14th of February, 1910, in Brighton, Sussex. He was 81 years old.
Major Farquharson’s medals are accompanied by his Officer’s Crossbelt Pouch which bears
the mounted stylized initials BLC in ornate gilt script for Bombay Light Cavalry. The Pouch
is hallmarked for Birmingham and is sterling silver with the maker’s mark of “J & Co.”.
The original buildings date from 1819. In 1862 the prison was sold to the Government and converted into
a Prison for females. Twenty years later it was again converted, this time as a military prison, and in
1898, when it was returned to the Prison Commissioners, the buildings were enlarged and improved and
made the trial and remand prison for the whole of the London area. The prison now serves a number of
courts in South London and houses a mixture of remand and sentenced prisoners. Brixton aims to operate
as a Community Prison in the context of the Government of London's Resettlement