Image from the Suffolk Chronicle And Mercury – 1917.
Born: 1897, Ipswich.
Died: 29th September 1917; age 20; Died of Wounds.
Employed: Messrs. Packard and Sons, Ipswich.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Next of Kin: Mrs. Osborn, of the Saracen’s Head, Ipswich – sister & Mr. & Mrs. Farthing, of 4, Goodings Court, Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich – parents.
Date of Entry Therein: 27th October 1915 – France.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 290232
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion.
Formerly 3433, Suffolk Regiment.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
Pas de Calais,
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Robert & Elizabeth Farthing, of Ipswich.
1901 4, Reeves Yard, Ipswich.
William was 3 years old and living with his parents & sister.
Robert Farthing, 49, born Trimley, Suffolk.
Mary Ann Elizabeth Farthing (nee Brill), 42, born Ipswich.
Alice Farthing, 11, born Ipswich.
1911 3, Union Court, Ipswich.
William was 13 years old and living with his parents.
Robert, 59, a Quay Labourer – out of work.
Elizabeth, 51, Nursing.
Soldiers’ Effects to Elizabeth Farthing – mother.
William is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Michael’s Church, Ipswich.
Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion:
The Battle of Polygon Wood
The Battle of Polygon Wood took place during the second phase of the Third Battle of Ypres in World War I and was fought near Ypres in Belgium 26 September – 3 October 1917, in the area from the Menin Road to Polygon Wood and thence north, to the area beyond St Julien. Much of the woodland had been destroyed by the huge quantity of shellfire from both sides since 16 July and the area had changed hands several times
The British had 15,375 casualties; 1,215 being killed. German official historians recorded 13,500 casualties from 21–30 September
The 4th Australian Division suffered 1,717 casualties and the 5th Australian Division had 5,471 dead and wounded from 26–28 September.
26th September 1917
In the area of Bellegoed farm near Reningheltst the 4th Battalion taking up positions in the support trenches under heavy shelling from the 23rd– 25th September waited as the Germans attacked the frontline trenches gaining a foothold repelling counter attacks from the British. On the afternoon of the 25th the 2nd Argyll and Sunderland Highlanders and “B” company 4th Suffolk’s under intense shell fire recaptured the frontline battered trench sustaining many casualties.
Just after midnight the Battalion took up an attacking line between Glencorse wood to FitzClarence farm, collecting “B” company. The moon had gone into the clouds and the shelling increased with mist rising, the visibility became worse with the troops unable get to their positions in time for the attack. By 05:45 the order for advance given, men were ordered to link hands so not to get separated in the darkness. The advance came under a heavy barrage, despite the poor terrain the attack made some progress capturing two machine guns and 15 prisoners and all of the planned objectives were taken by the division. By the evening of the 27th the Battalion had returned to Bellegoed farm having sustained 265 casualties.