Friday, 5 June 2015

Milton Ernest Officer Killed

Captain John Harold Farrar

Saturday 5th June 1915: The last officer of the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment to remain unscathed has fallen in action. Captain John Harold Farrar was the only son of Mrs. Mary Farrar of Milton Ernest House and the Alpine mountaineer Captain John Percy Farrar, DSO, and the nephew of the late Colonel Sir George Farrar who died in South Africa two weeks ago following a tragic accident.[1] Captain Farrar joined the Northamptonshire Militia in 1905 and transferred to the 3rd or Special Reserve (Territorial) Battalion when the Militia was abolished. On the outbreak of war he transferred to the 1st Battalion and went to France on August 12th. He took part in the retreat from Mons, the battles of the Marne, the Aisne, and Ypres. On October 27th last year he was promoted to captain and was mentioned in despatches earlier this year. He acted for a time as Adjutant to the Battalion, writing cheerful letters of thanks for gifts of cigarettes and other comforts sent to his men. Captain Farrar was a keen hunter, riding regularly with the Oakley Hounds and at local point-to-point meetings. His mother has received the following letter from a Company Sergeant Major of 1st Northamptonshire Regiment:

“I am more than sorry to write and tell you that our brave soldier officer, Captain Farrar, was killed in action on the morning of May 9th, at the hour of 5.40 a.m. He was shot through the heart, his death being instantaneous. I must tell you that he was one of the most popular and bravest of officers in the regiment, loved and respected by all ranks of his regiment. He received orders to advance. He then got up, gave the order to the men in his company to advance, and it was at that time he met his death, within one hundred yards of the enemy’s trenches. I can assure you of the regiment’s deepest sympathy in your great and sad loss.”[2]

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 4th June 1915

[1] Both Captain John Percy Farrar and Colonel Sir George Farrar were old boys of Bedford Modern School.

[2] The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website gives the date of Captain Farrar’s death as 9th April 1915.

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