Heroes of the Line: Major H W F B Farrer MC and 2 Bars.

 In Heroes

Major Henry Wyndham Francis Blackburne Farrer Military Cross and 2 Bars, RFA

Record of Service:

  • Born  Salisbury 10/8/1894
  • Volunteered for service on 12/8/1914 and joined as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 39th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
  • Left for France on 17/10/1914 from Southampton on SS Winifriedan.

The 39th Brigade was part of the 1st Division. One of the earliest Divisions to move to France, the First Division remained on the Western Front for the whole duration of hostilities and took part in many major actions; including Mons, Marne, the First Battle of Ypres, Somme, Passchendaele, and the Hindenburg Line.

  • Promoted to Lieutenant on 12/8/1914
  • Mentioned in Dispatches: 22/6/1915
  • Invested with the one of the first Military Crosses to be awarded on 30/7/1915
  • Mentioned In Dispatches: 1/1/1916
  • Invested with the Bar to the Military Cross on 20/6/1916
  • Appointed Acting Captain from 28/7/1916 until 13/1/1917
  • Mentioned in Dispatches: 4/1/1917
  • Appointed Acting Major from 14/1/1917 until 24/9/1917
  • Invested with the Second Bar to the Military Cross on 19/10/1917

Major Farrer was Killed in Action less than 2 weeks from the end of the War, during fighting at Mazinghein on 30/10/1918. The battalion war diary recalls this unfortunate event:

Mazinghein, 30/10/1918

At 0530 hours S.O.S. was signalled by our infantry and immediately responded to by us, but the enemy managed to penetrate our lines S.W. Cattilon. At 1200 hours an attack was made under cover of our barrage, and the ground captured by the enemy in the morning was retaken. At 1415 hours a single gun from the 54th battery was sent forward to deal with an enemy M.G. emplacement. The gun moved up but before coming into action our infantry had captured the gun.

Further serious loss of officers was inflicted on the Brigade the following being killed in action:

            Major H.W.F.B. Farrer MC   30th Battery

            Lieut. F.A.H. Sharp                 51st Battery

            2/Lieut. W. Dunlop                  51st Battery

 National Archives: WO95/1249

  • Major Farrer was buried the next day at Vallee Mulatre Cemetery, France


WW1 Medal Entitlement:

1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Mentioned in Dispatches: 22/6/1915, 1/1/1916, 4/1/1917

Belgium Croix de Guerre (Listed in Gazette issue 30631 – 12th April 1918)

Military Cross and 2 Bars:

  • Military Cross listed (no Citation) in Gazette issue 29202 (22nd June 1915
  • 1st Bar Citation published in Gazette issue 30023 (17th April 1917)
  • 2nd Bar listed (no Citation) in Gazette issue 30308 (25th September 1917)
  • 2nd Bar Citation published in Gazette issue 30466 (8th January 1918)


1st Bar Citation – 17th April 1917

Lt. (A./Capt.) Henry Wyndham Francis Blackburne Farrer, M.C., R.F.A.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when a gun team became casualties.  He went to the gun and rendered assistance to the wounded under very heavy fire. He has at all times set a splendid example of courage and determination.


2nd Bar Citation – 9th January 1918

Lt. (A./Maj.) Henry Wyndham Francis Blackburne Farrer, M.C., R.F.A.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when a cottage full of ammunition had been set on fire by enemy shells close to the battery. He took a party and saved some 400 rounds by pulling away the boxes. Some of the shells, however, exploded, killing one man and wounding four, causing his party to retire. This officer, hearing cries from a man who had been left behind wounded, gallantly ran back into the middle of the burning cottage, pulled him to the door and, with the help of two others, got him away in spite of the exploding shells. He was much bruised by falling masonry, and his hands were scorched and his hearing damaged. His example of self-sacrifice and devotion was beyond all praise.

The information in this blog post has been taking from the book ‘For Conspicuous Gallantry…The Winners of the Military Cross During the Great War’. (Vol. 1) by Scott Addington.

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Showing 2 comments
  • david carrigg

    Another terrible waste. To last that long only to die toward the end.

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