The AIF Project

William Oliver FARTHING

Regimental number2023
Place of birthWalthamstow, Essex, England
SchoolCouncil School, England
Age on arrival in Australia21
ReligionChurch of England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Next of kinMrs F E Williams, 401 Chingford Road, Walthamstow, Essex, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date7 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 16 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Pioneer Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingMaubrugge
Age at death24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Transferred to 2nd Pioneer Bn, Moascar, 13 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 26 March 1916.

Admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance, 2 June 1916 (conjunctivitis); transferred to England, 2 August 1916 (fractured right radius; accidental injury while on duty; Court of Inquiry found soldier not to blame); admitted to Tirvale Hospital, Sheffield, 4 August 1916. Granted furlough, 5 October 1916; reported to No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 24 October 1916. Marched into Pioneer Training Bn, Larkhill, 11 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 May 1917; rejoined unit, 12 June 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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