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Ballater Highland Games

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson M.C. of Invercauld and Monaltrie, 16th Chief of Clan Farquharson, died on 6th October 2021 at his home in Valley Farm, Norfolk. Alwyne was born on 1st May 1919, eldest son of Major Edward Compton of Newby Hall in Yorkshire and Sylvia Farquharson, younger daughter of Alexander Haldane Farquharson of Invercauld. Alwyne had no issue but had a twin sister Mary and a younger brother Robert (known as Robin), both of whom had children. He had several nephews and a niece, as well as five step-children from his two marriages and was an affectionate uncle and step-father. Alwyne’s Aunt Myrtle, sister of his mother Sylvia, was killed in a bombing raid in 1941 and shortly after the end of World War Two he moved to Aberdeenshire to assume the role of Chief and become the laird of Invercauld, roles he cherished for many decades. He dedicated himself to becoming a responsible and benevolent landowner, was known affectionately by tenants and staff as ‘The Laird’, and this role was important on account of the scale of lands he inherited. His lands spread from Aberdeenshire to Perthshire and included an estate on the Isle of Mull called Torloisk, which he later inherited from his father.

Alwyne must have been the oldest chief in Scotland, and was certainly the oldest chief in Farquharson clan history. The progenitor of the clan was Finlay Mor Farquharson, born in about 1480, died at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, when he was hit in the chest by a cannonball fired from an English ship. He was the Royal Standard Bearer. Finlay Mor had many children, and they in turn had descendants who have spread far and wide; the clan is now scattered around the globe, with clan societies in many disparate countries ranging from the United States to Australia and New Zealand. Alwyne was always keen to meet clan members and welcomed them, regaling them with stories of Farquharson activities.  He was always interested in their ties to genealogy and Scotland.

Educated at Eton College and then Magdalen College, Oxford, Alwyne’s studies in Land Economy were interrupted by the outbreak of the World War Two, just after his twentieth birthday.  At the outbreak of war he enlisted for training, and joined the Royal Scots Greys. He went through the ranks, and attained the rank of Captain, an achievement he was proud of and became known as Captain Farquharson, or to some simply; ‘the Captain’. He was injured at the Battle for Caen, on June 10th 1944, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1945.

Alwyne married firstly, in 1949 Frances Gordon (born Oldham), and after Frances’s death in 1991 he married secondly Patricia de Winton (born Simms-Adams). Alwyne held many appointments in Aberdeenshire, including being a Member of the Aberdeenshire County Council from 1949 to 1975, Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games for over 70 years, and Vice-Patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. In his role as Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games he never missed one, marching onto the field every year for 73 years, including his last in 2019 at the grand age of 100. The only reason Alwyne resigned from his Chiefship (one year before his death), was that he felt it would be improper to be wheeled onto the field, that it would bring down the tempo of the event.

The funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church in Burnham Deepdale (date and time to be confirmed). A memorial will be held at Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire at the beginning of the second week of August, alongside other clanship celebrations, in 2022.

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