L.Col. George Franklin McFarland was born in Markdale, Grey County, Ontario, in June 1880. Raised in the Markdale area, he received his high school education at Owen Sound Colligate and Vocational Institute, before carrying on with his studies at the University of Toronto. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from University College in 1902 and Bachelor of Law in 1905.

Taking his commission with the 31st Regiment, George McFarland progressed through the ranks and was detached out from the 31st Regiment, working as the Musketry Officer for No. 2 Military District when his name was put forward to command the newly authorized 147th Battalion, being formed in Grey County.

No. 2 Military District was under the command of Colonel Logie, who did not want to lose his Musketry Officer, so he appointed Major Begy of the 19th Lincoln Regiment as the first Commanding Officer of the 147th Battalion. Even before Major Begy could take command this decision was overturned, as within a week the Adjutant General's Office telegrammed new orders appointing Major McFarland as the Commanding Officer of the 147th Battalion. It was hoped that by appointing a local Officer to command the Battalion its recruiting efforts would be made easier.

Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland, took charge of the Battalion and through his efforts over 1,100 men attested into the 147th Battalion. While training at Camp Niagara he fought to get his men the required leave so that they could make their way back to Grey County to see their families.

From Niagara the Battalion was moved to the newly founded Camp Borden and from there they left for England. En-route the Battalion was put in quarantine at Amherst, Nova Scotia. While laid up there, the Colonel formed and become a member of a Glee Club under the direction of Lieutenant Jucksch. This Glee Club also included Majors Fleming and Dobie, and this quartet entertained the local dignitaries and socialites of the town.

When the Battalion finally sailed for England, the Glee Club entertained the Officers aboard the S.S. Olympic. A subsequent performance in the Metropolitan Hotel in Brighton, England, was added to their building list of venues.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it and the 110th and 159th Battalions became the nucleus of the 8th Reserve Battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland was put in command of this Battalion and he staffed it mainly with Officers from the 147th. His command of this unit was short lived as he gave it up so that a returning Officer from the front could have a command, as was the policy. At this time he took a tour of the front, visiting the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, as so many Grey County men had been assigned to it from the 8th Reserve Battalion. Here he he made an impression on its Commanding Officer, who offered him the position as his 2nd I/C, which he readily excepted. He thereby relinquished his rank to Major in the process.

Major McFarland was struck off strength from the 4th CMR in August of 1918, and thence was again given the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, this time as the Assistant Judge Advocate General at Military Headquarters in Ottawa. Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland honoured his Battalion through sponsoring the purchase of the fifth bell of the Carillon held within the Soldier's Tower, in the University of Toronto's War Memorial. Inside the Memorial Room of the tower a stone tablet holds the inscription, "In memory of members of the 147th (Grey) Battalion, C.E.F.".

Credit and thanks for the biography and image are extended to George Auer.

4cmr.com recognises George Auer for the extensive work he has put into researching men of the 147th and 248th Battalions.