The AIF Project

James Stephen FARRELL

Regimental number2130
Place of birthCastlemountain, New South Wales
SchoolCastle Mountain, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressQuirindi, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 10.5"
Weight163 lbs
Next of kinFather, Thomas Farrell, Castle Mountain, Quirindi, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date30 August 1915
Place of enlistmentNarrabri, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 18 February 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France (Battle of Fromelles)
Age at death23.4
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Thomas and Hanorah FARRELL, Castle Mountain, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 18 February 1916; disembarked Suez, 23 March 1916.

Taken on strength of 31st Bn, Duntroon Plateau, 1 April 1916.

Admitted No 8 Australian Field Ambulance, Ferry Post, 19 May 1916 (mumps); transferred to Acting Casualty Clearing Station, Ferry Post, 19 May 1916 (parotitis); discharged, 25 May 1916; rejoined unit, Ferry Post, 26 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 23 June 1916.

Reported missing, 21 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 1 August 1917, concluded: 'Killed in Action, 21 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1040511, 2169 Pte G. SENIOR, C Company, 31st Bn (patient, Huddersfield War Hospital, England), 5 August 1916: 'Informant states that at Fleurbaix about 1.5 miles from Armentieres the following men were lying, to all appearances dead, outside the parapet of our trench. 2130 Pte. J. Farrel (sic) ... 1552, Pte. Tom McDonald ... Informant saw the dead bodies, - the time was 6.30 p.m., [t]he ground advanced over was held.'

Second statement, 2948 Pte E.R. HATTON, 31st Bn (patient, No 6 General Hospital, Rouen), 10 March 1917: 'He was wounded at Beaumelles (?Fromelles) on the 19th July and the stretcher bearers carried him out, probably to the 8th A. Field Ambulance.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsOccupation incorrectly entered on Embarkation Roll as 'settler'. Father's address subsequently Underwood Street, Quirindi, New South Wales
SourcesNAA: B2455, FARRELL James Stephen
Red Cross file 1040511

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