No.8750, Lance Corporal, Robert FARTHING
Aged 17

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on/since 26th August 1914

Robert Farthing was born in Exning (3rd qtr 1896 Newmarket 3b:534) (son of William and Alice FARTHING (née WILDING)

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at 71 Out Westgate,Bury St.Edmunds with his father William FARTHING [38] domestic gardener's labourer; his mother Alice [38]; sister Lily [12]; brothers Alfred [13] grocer's errand boy and Walter [10], all these born in Culford; sisters Ethel [8] and Caroline [6] both born in Exning.

1911 census...Aged 14, he was at Ickleton Road, Duxford with his parents and brother George [9] born Bury St.Edmunds

On the pension card his father was at Hawkedon but when he died his mother Alice moved to Waresley, Gamlingay. The connection with Hawkedon seems fleeting but as with many gardeners, the family moved around quite frequently

His brother Walter died of wounds on Sept.25th 1914, serving the Royal Field Artillery see here

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds
The 2nd Suffolks were at Le Cateau during the retreat from Mons.
Having reached Le Cateau the Suffolks received an order to stand and fight, which they did, despite being in the most unsuitable defensive position. They, and the Argyll Highlanders, fought for around nine hours before being overwhelmed by the Germans. No-one seems to admit to issuing the first order for them not to retreat, but their heroic endeavours held the Germans long enough for much of the British Division to escape. The battalion suffered over 720 casualties, killed,wounded or missing.

CWGC records show that they had 74 killed on 26th, only 7 having known graves.

After the stand at Le Cateau, so many were captured that tracing the missing was obviously extremely difficult and this led to many confusing reports in the Press.

photo CWGC

Robert Farthing is commemorated on the La Ferte sous Jouarre Memorial, France

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details