Service Number: 986
Enlisted: 18 August 1914, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Farrier Sergeant
Last Unit: 4th Field Ambulance
Born: Carcoar, New South Wales, 30 March 1876
Home Town: Fremantle, Fremantle, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Accidental (lacerations to head), Toowoomba, Queensland, 18 June 1956, aged 80 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: East Victoria Park Memorial Wall, Victoria Park Church of the Transfiguration Honour Roll, Victoria Park War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

18 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 986, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Farrier Sergeant, SN 986, 4th Field Ambulance
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Farrier Sergeant, SN 986, 4th Field Ambulance, HMAT Berrima, Melbourne
13 Dec 1917: Discharged AIF WW1

Sergeant Farrier George Fardell

4th Field Ambulance "A" Company AIF: Reg No. 986

George Fardell was born 30th March 1876 at Carcoar near Blayney. Orange, New South Wales, the second son of John Fardell and Ann Stoke. HIs father, John Fardell, was a carpenter, who arrived In Australia with his parents Thomas and Jane Fardell nee Cook and sister Annie Hewitt Fardell, in Australia in 1848 from Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire, England. This Fardell family settled initially in Bathurst and later in Orange and surrounding districts.

On 27 July 1900, George age 24, enlisted in the Anglo Boer War as a Farrier Corporal in Kitchener's Horse, Service No. 9570. Believed to have travelled independently to England or South Africa to enlist at his own or private military expense. George had tattoos including his service number and "H.K.H. 1900-1901" with a Horseshoe representing his role as a farrier. Unbelievably 300,000 horses perished during the Boer war due to unsuitability of horses, overwork, lack of food, lack of care, insufficent number of vets and farriers and slaughter and as too expensive for British Government to pay for transport back home. A dreadful situation for responsible Farriers and the men who rode them.

He served for 12 months in the Boer War and following his return married Ellen Elizabeth Spicer from Orange. His first son George died in 1903 and George was reported as missing by his wife. He was described as 27 years of age, 6 feet ¾ inches high, dark eyes, thin building, dark moustache; “G. Fardell” tattooed on one arm, also “K. H. K. Farrier,” stripes, horse-shoe, 1900 and 1901, and other tattoo marks, on shoulder and body; a returned solder from South Africa; supposed to have gone to Sydney. George apparently booked a passage to Fremantle, WA, where he found work as a Sawmill Labourer at the Worsley Sawmill. His wife joined him and they had two more sons and two daughters in Western Australia.

No doubt responding to Kitchener's "We want you" campaign, George again enlisted on 18 August 1914, the first of our twelve men to enlist in the Great War. It seems George put his age down one year to be eligible to enlist.

Between 18 August and 18 November 1914, George trained at Blackboy Hill Training Camp in Western Australia with the 3rd Field Ambulance Brigade (Reinfts) where he trained along with John Simpson (Kirkpatrick) who was accepted into the army as a field ambulance stretcher bearer on 23 August 1914 in Perth. George later transferred to the 4th Field Ambulance "A" Section - embarking from Melbourne on board Transport A35 Berrima on the 22 December 1914 arriving in Alexandria, Egypt on the 15th February 1915. George trained and served in Egypt prior to the landing on the beach at Gallipoli on the 25th August. It is presumed George was with the 4th Field Ambulance at the landing at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915 and later returned to Alexandria after Gallipoli was evacuated.

Sergeant Farrier responsibilities are wide and include ensuring the 4th Ambulance Brigade's horses were kept in good condition if a horse was critically wounded he would have the duty of shooting the horse. He would also be responsible for injured horsemen in that brigade. Photos show horses were off loaded at the landing and show horses carting supplies and injured men. It is not clear in what other capacity he served in the 4th Ambulance Brigade at Gallipoli or later in France.

It would be nice to believe George was there to quickly help his young cousin Edwin Hercules Fardell who was wounded in the neck by shrapnel on landing on the 25th….-

"Obedient to the calls of his officers, he rose to follow them up the slope when he saw ‘the first man I ever saw dead’ – one of the first of the Lost Boys to die, laying half in and half out of the water, shot in the neck. Like almost all of the Lost Boys who died on the beach, he is unnamed". Excerpt from "The Lost Boys of Gallipoli"

Red Cross Report: Edwin Hercules Fardell - E.M.W. 11.5.1916, Cairo
No record in hospital index – British Consulate have no record of his having been buried in Cairo. Witness states that although he did not see Fardell wounded, his brother Lieut. S Perry told witness that he saw him wounded on the beach on 25th April. Fardell had shrapnel wounds in the back of the neck, almost severing back of neck. Heard that he died in a hospital at Heliopolis on 9th August 1915.

Witness’ brother told him he knew Fardell well. Was a married man, wife in Sydney came from Orange Was about 5 ft. 8 ins medium complexion, about 22-23 yrs. of age. Witness: Ref. Corp. RS Perry, 4871, 4th Bat. 1st NSW Training Bat. Tel-el-Kebir, 7th May, 1916.

Although his young cousin Edwin “Ned” survived this injury, he was not married and did not die in a hospital at Heliopolis on the 9th of August - sadly Ned was critically wounded in the abdomen and legs on the 7th August 1915 at the battle of Lone Pine… and died on the 9th on the Hospital Ship Delta and was buried at sea.

George returned from Gallipoli and was ttransferred from Alexandria to Maadi Camp (or hospital) in Cairo on 25th November 1915 and four months later he was admitted to the NZ Auxiliary Hospital, Moascar Camp, Ismailia with influenza on 19th February 1916 (discharged on the 28th).

George rejoined his unit in Tel-el-Kabir on 5 March and embarked for France on 1 June 1916 arriving on the 9th. About six months service in the field, George was evacuated to 36th Casualty Clearing Station suffering with Rheumatism and ten days later admitted to 2nd Gen Hospital, Havre France with Myalgia, a strain to set of muscles caused by repetitive actions (rejoining his unit in the Field eighteen days later).

29 January 1917 George embarked from Rouen, France on HM Hospital Ship St. Patrick for England. The St. Patrick was staffed by four British Officers, four Nurses and Sisters, 28 RAMC and St John Ambulance. It had accommodation for 17 officers and had twenty eight cots and one hundred and forty five births. It was in service between 19 August 1914 and 26 January 1919.

George disembarked in England 5 February, where he was admitted to the hospital at "Clandon Park", Guildford, London, an estate owned by the Count and Countess of Onslow. During the 1st World War "Clandon Park" was used as a veteran's hospital. The Countess of Onslow was the Commandant of the hospital. George Fardell spent approximately five months as a patient at "Clandon Park Hospital".

George was discharged from Clandon Park Hospital to the Depot at Weymouth on 17 April 1917. Weymouth was the depot for the Anzacs Gallipoli casualties sent to UK hospitals for treatment and then discharged as convalescent. By 1917 the Weymouth Nursing Home had become Miss Pollack's Hospital for Officers. It had 12 beds and was affiliated with Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital in Millbank. Weymouth had accommodated those men not expected to be fit for duty within six months, therefore, most of the Diggers repatriated as a result of wounds or sickness passed through Weymouth. During the years 1915-1919 over 120,000 Australian and New Zealand troops passed through Weymouth.

George embarked in England on the HMAT A71 Nestor on 22 July 1917 disembarking Fremantle WA on 13 September. George was discharged medically unfit for duty suffering from from Myalgia, Neurasthenia and depression.

A military doctor’s medical report in 1927 described his long term disabilities - Rheumatism, Neurasthenia, age 50, weight 10st. 8lb. General tired feeling only able to do light work, gradual progression each year. Rheumatic pains in all joints, feels depressed and very nervy. Color and muscular tone good, but very thin. Incapacity 60% - 40% due to war service 20% due to emphysema. Works on his small farm at Mokine (about 50km west of Perth, WA), potters about, lot of time lost.

Prior to enlisting George had been a teamster, a sawmill labourer and a carpenter. He continued his occupation as a carpenter and builder after the war. George sold up his small farm and horse at Mokine in 1928 and left his family in WA, in an attempt to improve his physical and mental health by taking a prolonged sea voyage ... and so, in March 1929, George, age 52, departed Sydney, on the "Aorangi" disembarking at Vancouver, British Columbia.

Aorangi Passenger records indicated he intended to stay in Canada and purchase land so his family could follow later. George did not stay in Montreal but continued onto England it was thought on his return voyage he disembarked in New Zealand. He failed to return home to his wife and four children. His wife tried for close to 20 years to find him before she remarried c1949 after the Court declared George was presumed dead.

Earlier this year I tracked down George Fardell's wanderings following his return from his sea voyage in 1929. He had moved around seeking work as a carpenter and builder in South Australia (same address as another ambulance driver), a small town in Victorian Alps, Dubbo and Sydney in New South Wales. George probably learned his wife had remarried in Western Australia. In 1950 George age 74 married Annie Elizabeth Watts (born c1876 Liverpool, England) daughter of George Watts, Engine Driver and Ann Hannah Elizabeth Humphries.

George Fardell, former Builder and Carpenter, of 10 Dunraggon Street, Toowoomba, born Orange, New South Wales, died on the 28th June 1956 from cerebral lacerations to the head. George had been in the Toowoomba General Hospital two weeks prior for treatment for shingles. He was in severe pain and while his wife Annie was out getting him some medicine for his pain, he died alone…...

Tragically, after a lifetime of physical pain and mental torment, George left behind his very sad elderly wife of the same age. Though originally buried separately, Annie’s ashes were later buried in George’s grave (perhaps arranged by her brother, who was still living at the time, at Bentleigh, Victoria).

Georges WA descendants indicated at the time he went missing it was thought he had left with a nurse he met while away at war or on a ship. If so, George and his nurse (perhaps it was Annie) eventually came together in marriage even if only for a few short years. Annie died in 1961 age 85 from Broncho-pneumonia, cerebral arteriosclerosis and associated depression, at Jubilee Hospital, Dalby, Qld.

Fardell cousins and nephews who served in WW1

*George Fardell – 4th Field Ambulance - my 1x cousins 2x removed
*Edwin Hercules Fardell KIA Lone Pine , 2nd Battalion- my grand uncle
*Frederick Fardell KIA Peronne, 56th Battalion - my 1x cousin 2x removed
*John Henry Fardell – 45th Battalion - nephew of George and my 2x cousin 1x removed
*Norman Arthur Fardell – 45th Battalion - nephew of George and my 2x cousin 1x removed

As part of my research into twelve men connected with our family who served in the Great War, I undertook research to find out more about each of these men. Noni Brown 18 Nov 2014.

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