Walter Russell FARR Update Details

Badge Number: S3521, Sub Branch: Colonel  Light Gardens

FARR, Walter Russell

Service Number: 4734
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Circumstances of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

23 Jun 1917: Involvement Private, SN 4734, 32nd Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1917: Embarked Private, SN 4734, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Adelaide
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN 4734, 43rd Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Wounded SN 4734, 32nd Infantry Battalion

Walter Russell Farr

During the summer of 1894, in the regional South Australian town of Paruna, a child was born. This child was Walter Russell Farr, he went through his basic school with good marks, and quickly found a job as a clerk. It paid well, and conditions were good, but in the hot summer of 1917, he upped and left his Australia, drunk on patriotism and the promises of seeing the world for the first time, to go and fight for his country. At home, he left no spouse, only his mother Mirva, she would be waiting for him, sending him small trinkets to make conditions more bearable.

Walter first joined the army in 1915, where he was entrusted with training soldiers, so that they would be fit for the battlefield. However, he wanted to be tangibly involved, but, the force would not allow a highly ranked uniformed officer on the frontlines, so he was forced to resign, then re-enlist as a private, where he moved up the ladder again to be a Lance Corporal. Walter re-enlisted in Paruna, and travelled up to Adelaide, where he embarked on a seven-month boat journey to the port of Plymouth, a strapping six-foot soldier, he quickly rose through the ranks and, became a sergeant in less than a year. then after training in Plymouth for a few short months, he traversed the English Channel with the 43rd battalion and into the hotly contested French battlefield. He fought in the Somme, in gritty trench warfare which damaged the mind just as much the body. While the war started to turn, conditions on the ground were as hard as ever. Walter continued his slog through France, a slow march to reclaim France and push the Germans back. But his luck ran out on the 20th of April 1918, where he was hit with shrapnel and wounded in his thigh while marching the Brie-Corbie Road, he was taken to a field hospital and sent to England four days later. He would stay there for four months. Before being sent home to Australia to heal.

An interesting side note is that he was wounded in the same place that the Red Baron was shot down, just one day after Walter was taken to a field hospital. What makes this fact more interesting, is that we know that Milne Durward (S114746) is known to have been there, as he was part of the battalion that shot the Red Baron down. Milne would later father a daughter, Erica, that would marry Walter’s son, Russell. We know they were both in and around the small French town of Corbie around the 20th and 21st. So, it is plausible they would have seen each other, not knowing they would one day be family.

After Walter returned to Australian shores, he took up his job as a clerk once again, and eventually met Nelly Andrews, they married soon after, they had two children and moved to Murray Bridge. Where they lived out the rest of their days. Walter died of natural causes in 1958, ate the age of 63. He didn’t talk about the war if it could be avoided, the only constant reminder was the slight limp from the wound in his thigh.

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