The First World War
Officers of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Lieut. Horace Westmorland, C.P.A.S.C.

Soldiers of the First World War database entry - H. Westmorland


Date of Birth - 24 ? 1888

Biograhical Notes (Source)

Horace "Rusty" Westmorland was born in Penrith, England in 1886 and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. He worked in the families tannery and leather business until the death of his father in 1909 and then the estate was divided between his mother, his sister and himself. With no professional training he was advised by the brother of the British Ambassador in Washington to enter the Forestry Service in Canada. In 1911 Westmorland went to the prairie province of Saskatchewan but prospects were poor there so he moved on to Vancouver where he met Arthur Wheeler for whom he had a letter of introduction from G.A. Solly of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. He asked to spend the summer working on one of the mountain survey parties as he was a rock climber and had some alpine experience in the Engadine and Dolomites. He spent the next six months working with the surveyors around Tetachuck Lake as part of the Alberta/British Columbia Interprovincial Boundary Commission and continued working seasonally for the surveyors until 1914 as a mountaineer. In the winter of 1913/14 Westmorland did the tracing work over the working maps for the Mount Assiniboine region.

In 1912 Westmorland was invited to take a commission in a Canadian 'Territorial' Highland Regiment. He qualified at Military School and was transferred to the Canadian 'Regular' Army where he served in Belgium and France from 1915 to 1919. In 1943 Lieutenant-Colonel Westmorland used his indomitable personality and connections in Ottawa to found the Number One Pack Horse Troop, as he wanted to revive the Canadian Cavalry heritage. The Horse Troop was called to help in several exercises but never survived long because of changing technology. In October 1944 Westmorland was invalided out where he then returned to his family roots at Threlkeld in the Lakes District for his remaining years.

Westmorland was elected into the Fell and Rock Climbing Club in 1909, was President in the early 1950's and remained a life long member. In Canada he was a member of the Alpine Club of Canada and attended their camps in 1912, 1913, 1919 and 1944. Some of his ascents in the Canadian Rockies include The Mitre, Mount Storm, Mount Whyte, Isolated Peak, Mount Magog, Mount Louis and the second ascent of Whitehorn Mountain in 1913.

Westmorland was elected to the Lake District Ski Club at a committee meeting at Treadfoot Windermere on May 13, 1938 and was elected as President of the club at the AGM held at the Langdales Hotel, Chapel Stile, Great Langdale on November 24, 1946. He organised the first slalom race in March 1947 and was the first skier down. Westmorland remained President until December 1, 1951, but continued to ski into his eighties on the local slopes.

Horace "Rusty" Westmorland passed away at the age of ninety-eight on November 24, 1984, but will be remembered for turning up immaculate on the crags and for his concern with upholding the highest traditions of the mountaineering sport.