ID: WW2_ABF

TitleArthur Bernard Farthing - Durham Light Infantry
AbstractWW2 Memorial Profiles for East Mersea

ARTHUR BERNARD FARTHING
Private 14631482
6th Bn., Durham Light Infantry
Born c1924
Attended East Mersea School and West Mersea School
Died 11 July 1944 age 20.
Buried Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery, Calvados, France
Commemorated on East Mersea War Memorial and West Mersea War Memorial

Son of Walter Henry and Mabel Lily Farthing, near The Hall, East Mersea. Attended East Mersea School. Worked at East Hall Farm. Killed by German mortar fire (moaning minnies) at Lingevres nr Caen. Brother George R.E.M.E attached to 2nd Battalion, Northants Yeomanry, 11th Armed Division discovered Arthur's Battalion was nearby and visited to try and find him. Met the padre who advised his brother was not there and believed that he may have been killed in the last couple of days. George 'borrowed' a motorcycle to search for his brother and came upon his and other bodies in a field. Hiding his helmet in a nearby oak tree, he buried his brother in a temporary grave against a hedge.

East Mersea School 1926
Front row George Farthing is 2nd from right and Arthur Farthing 5th from right

In 2003 George Farthing was interviewed by Paul Jasper for Colchester Recalled, and described finding his brother:

My youngest brother Arthur was killed in Normandy, and I buried him with these, with my hands. I was in Normandy, I was with the 6th Armoured Division, when we took Caen nearly all our tank crews were killed. As we were advancing, the tanks pulled back, and somebody said to me "The Durham Light Infantry is in the next field". So, I crept in the hedge, and I saw his padre. I asked him about my brother and he said "Yes, they went up last night, and they are gradually coming back". The infantry used to hold the line at night - the tanks could not fight in the dark. He said "come back tomorrow night".
I went back next night and he told me my brother was killed. He gave me the map reference.

"I went back, and we had a couple of motorbikes, spare ones about, I used to ride a motorbike quite a lot. So I jumped on this motorbike and I went about a quarter or half mile up, and I hunted round this battlefield, and I looked in this field, it was only a small field, there were ten or a dozen bodies lay there, scattered out there, they hadn't been buried, and I couldn't find him. Coming away, I saw three more, with little sticks made into crosses, near a ditch. One of them was my young brother. His tin hat was like a pepper pot, shrapnel had all gone through it and he was cut to pieces. He never suffered, he never suffered at all, he just lay there, where he dropped. I put that tin hat in a poplar tree, where the branches had been cut off. I shined up that, I was fit then, different to what I am now. And I put his hat in the tree, so when I came back, I would know where it is.

I went back to my Unit, they said, you are on a charge, taking a motorbike. I thought, I couldn't care less. Our officer was Dave Arckle, a Captain, I told him. He said, there won't be no charge. Take a motorbike, and take a spade, and bury your brother.

This was 12th. I didn't dig a hole, just chucked a little earth, keep the rooks and birds away - and that's how I came to bury my brother.
"I didn't tell anybody at the time, I just went back to my unit. I didn't even look in my brother's pockets to find anything; he didn't suffer because he was cut to pieces. Terrible. It was a moaning minnie. A mortar. They were moaning when they were coming."
"He was given a proper burial later. He is in a lovely little cemetery now. I went over 50 years afterwards".

[ The interview with George Farthing is available in Mersea Museum, ID AA011311 ]

Arthur Bernard Farthing's body was later removed from the battlefield and buried in the Hottot-Les-Bagues War Cemetery, Calvados, France. He name is inscribed on the East Mersea War Memorial inside the church. He is the only East Mersea casualty of the Second World War.

Essex County Standard - llth August, 1944

Mr & Mrs Henry Farthing of the Hall Farm, Church Lane, East Mersea are deeply grateful for the many letters and expressions of sympathy received in the loss of their dearly loved son, Arthur Bernard, killed on active service July 11, 1944

With thanks to:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Roger Bullen
Paul Jasper - Colchester Recalled

SourceMersea Museum
IDWW2_ABF
Related Images:
 Hottot Les Bagues War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
 Arthur Bernard Farthing is buried here, killed in action 11 July 1944.  WW2_ABF_011
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_011
Title: Hottot Les Bagues War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
Arthur Bernard Farthing is buried here, killed in action 11 July 1944.
Date:2000s
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Territorial Army. Record of Service Paper.
 Church Lane, East Mersea.
 Date of birth 10 October 1923.
 Home Guard 18th Essex Oct 1942 16 June 1943.  WW2_ABF_031
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_031
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Territorial Army. Record of Service Paper.
Church Lane, East Mersea.
Date of birth 10 October 1923.
Home Guard 18th Essex Oct 1942 16 June 1943.
Date:c1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Territorial Army. Record of Service Paper.
 Tractor Driver
 Mother Mabel Lily Farthing, Church Lane, East Mersea  WW2_ABF_032
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_032
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Territorial Army. Record of Service Paper.
Tractor Driver
Mother Mabel Lily Farthing, Church Lane, East Mersea
Date:c1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing
 Statement of service and Regimental Entries
 17 June 1943 enlisted. Transferred to Northants Regiment.
 4 August to 31 August 1943 Granted Agricultral Leave
 19 Nov 1943 transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers
 13 Feb 1944 transferred to the Durham Light Infy.
 11 July 1944 Killed in Action N.W. Europe
</p><p>Medals and Decorations 1939-45 Star; France & Germany War Medal 1939-45.  WW2_ABF_033
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_033
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing
Statement of service and Regimental Entries
17 June 1943 enlisted. Transferred to Northants Regiment.
4 August to 31 August 1943 Granted Agricultral Leave
19 Nov 1943 transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers
13 Feb 1944 transferred to the Durham Light Infy.
11 July 1944 Killed in Action N.W. Europe

Medals and Decorations 1939-45 Star; France & Germany War Medal 1939-45.

Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.  WW2_ABF_035
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_035
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Date:11 jULY 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.  WW2_ABF_036
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_036
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Service and Casualty Form  WW2_ABF_037
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_037
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Service and Casualty Form
Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Service and Casualty Form  WW2_ABF_038
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_038
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Service and Casualty Form
Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Casualty Card  WW2_ABF_039
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_039
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Casualty Card
Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection
 Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
 Casualty Card  WW2_ABF_040
ImageID:   WW2_ABF_040
Title: Arthur Bernard Farthing killed in action 11 July 1944.
Casualty Card
Date:11 July 1944
Source:Mersea Museum / Roger Bullen Collection