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Farrar Harold John.

The 1901 Census for Quebec, Canada on Ancestry.co.uk advises us that the Farrar family were living at 45, St. Gabriel, Quebec.

The Head  of the household was Joseph Farrar age 43, born on 30th December 1857 in England, a machinist by trade having emigrated to Canada in 1880.

His wife, Grace age 27 was born on 8th April 1874 in Vermont U.S.A. Their children are shown as Harold J. age 3 born on 17th August 1897 and Phyllis age 2 born on 10th January 1899 both born in Quebec.

The 1910 Census for America on Ancestry.co.uk  shows us that the family were now living at 533 Highland place, Bellevue, Pennsylvania having emigrated from Canada in 1908. Head of the family, Joseph Farrar was 52 years of age his trade being Superintendent at Locomotive Works. His wife Grace was 36 years old and the two children Harold J. and Phyllis L. are 12 and 11 years old respectively.

Harold John Farrar enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionery Force, 72nd Battery at Kingston on June 17th 1916. He gave his trade as Student and stated that he had completed eight months in the Officers Training Corps. His address was given as 119 Alfred Street, Kingston, Ontario and his next of kin as Joseph Farrar (Father) of the same address.

After basic training in Canada, Harold embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the S.S. Mauretania on 23rd November 1916 and arrived in England on 30th November 1916 when he was posted to Shorncliffe Camp in Kent to complete his training.

Harold remained at Shorncliffe until 27th March 1917 when he was transferred to 1st Heavy Battery and embarked for France arriving on 28th March 1917 and joining his unit on 4th April 1917.

He remained in the Field until  28th December 1917 when he contracted Pleurisy and was transferred by Ambulance train to the Canadian General Depot where Harold remained until 3rd March 1918 when he was discharged from hospital and rejoined his unit on 20th March 1918.

Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute (KCVI) was founded in 1792 and moved to its current location in 1892. It is considered the earliest secondary school in Ontario. The oldest remaining wing dates to 1915 (the original was destroyed by fire) and building modifications and additions were made in 1932 and the 1960s. It is the only high school in Kingston built in the distinctive Collegiate Gothic style, known for its craftsmanship and elegance of design.

The following information is from The Library of Canada Website.

Battle of Vimy Ridge

The Battle of Vimy Ridge began at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917. The first wave of 15,000-20,000 Canadian soldiers, many heavily laden with equipment, attacked through the wind-driven snow and sleet into the face of deadly machine gun fire.

The Canadians advanced behind a “creeping barrage.” This precise line of intense Allied artillery fire moved ahead at a set rate and was timed to the minute. The Canadian infantrymen followed the line of explosions closely. This allowed them to capture German positions in the critical moments after the barrage moved on to the next targets but before the enemy soldiers could emerge from the safety of their underground bunkers.

Canadian battalions in the first waves of the assault suffered great numbers of casualties, but the assault proceeded on schedule. Most of the heavily defended ridge was captured by noon. Hill 145, the main height on the ridge, was taken on the morning of April 10. Two days later, the Canadians took “the Pimple,” as the other significant height on the ridge was nicknamed. The Germans were forced to withdraw three kilometres east and the Battle of Vimy Ridge was over. The Allies now commanded the heights overlooking the Douai Plain, which was still occupied by the enemy.

The Canadian Corps, together with the British Corps to the south, had captured more ground, prisoners and artillery pieces than any previous British offensive of the war. Canadians would act with courage throughout the battle. Four of our soldiers would earn the Victoria Cross, the highest medal for military valour, for separate actions in which they captured enemy machine gun positions. They were: Private William Milne, Lance-Sergeant Ellis Sifton, Captain Thain MacDowell and Private John Pattison.

Sacrifice

The Battle of Vimy Ridge proved to be a great success, but it only came at a heavy cost. The some 100,000 Canadians who served there suffered more than 10,600 casualties, nearly 3,600 of which were fatal. By the end of the First World War, Canada, a country of less than eight million people, would see more than 650,000 men and women serve in uniform. The conflict took a huge toll with more than 66,000 Canadians losing their lives and over 170,000 being wounded.

The Legacy

At Vimy Ridge, regiments from coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian triumph, helping create a new and stronger sense of national identity in our country. Canada’s military achievements during the war raised our international stature and helped earn us a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended the war.

Today, on land granted to Canada for all time by a grateful France, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits atop Hill 145, rising above the now quiet countryside. This great monument is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were listed as “missing, presumed dead” in France during the First World War. It stands as a tribute to all who served our country in the conflict and paid a price to help ensure the peace and freedom we enjoy today.

Harold remained in the Field until 12th March 1919 when he again became ill with Pleurisy  and was transferred to the 16th Canadian Hospital in Orpington on 19th March 1919. He was discharged on 1st April and transferred to Kinmel Camp in North Wales for repatriation to Canada

Unfortunately Harold became ill at Kinmel Camp and was admitted to 12th Canadian General Hospital on 1st May 1919 where he became critically ill and died at 12.45 pm on 30th May 1919, cause of death, Tubercular Meningitis. Harold was 21 years of age.

Harold John Farrar is buried in St. Margaret’s Church Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, North Wales, U.K.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Bodelwyddan Memorial

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