CAPTAIN JOHN FREDERICK FARRAR
WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT
2ND NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 33
BURIED: DOUAI BRITISH CEMETERY, CUINCY, FRANCE
On 28 October 1918 the 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment were in billets at St Armand having been withdrawn from the line on the 20th after a period of fighting. The war diary for the 28th records 'A/Capt. JF Farrar admitted hospital sick', and then for 1st November '2Lt (A/Capt) JF Farrar died at 62nd CCS from influenza'. The War Graves Commission gives his date of death as 2 November.
Farrar had originally joined the army as a private in the Cameron Highlanders. It looks as though he first entered a theatre of war, France, on 12 July 1916. A year later he was commissioned into the West Yorkshire Regiment and although still officially a Second Lieutenant at the time of his death he held the rank of acting captain.
His mother, Sarah Farrar, chose his inscription from 'Justice' a poem by Rudyard Kipling, which was published in The Times on 24 October 1918, syndicated to at least 200 other newspapers and later included in several collections of his work. For all the honourable sounding intent of these the last two lines, the poem is a vehement plea that there should not be a negotiated peace with Germany. The 'sword of justice' must be used on her, Germany, 'evil incarnate', must be made to answer for her atrocities:
For agony and spoil
Of nations beat to dust,
For poisoned air and tortured soil
And cold, commanded lust,
Germany must be made to 'relearn the law' so that her people will never again develop 'the heart of beasts'. This retribution will be the means -
Whereby our dead shall sleep
In honour, unbetrayed
And we in faith and honour keep
That peace for which they paid.