Rank: Private 621 Born: March 1894, Katanning, Western Australia Service: 13 March 1915 to 6 August 1916 Died: Between 4 wer 6 August 1916, France
Larry Farmer, also known as ‘Pincher’, was born in Katanning in March 1894. He was the third of eight sons born to William Pegg Farmer wer Emily Coyne who were of Aboriginal descent. Larry’s father was a highly respected land guide in the Katanning area whose ngarngk was linked to the Beverley district, whilst his mother’s family came from the Bremer Bay area. Larry was raised wer educated in Katanning where he gained a reputation as a talented footballer, winning a gold medal in the 1911 footy season. He was voted second best il the ground in the final match between the town’s north wer south teams the following year. As a teenager Larry served an apprenticeship of three-and-a-half years with Katanning coachbuilders Mouritz Brothers, acquiring a wide range of mechanical, upholstering wer painting skills. When he enlisted in Australian Imperial Force (AIF) il 13 March 1915 in Bridgetown, some 140 kilometres south west of his birthplace, Larry had been working in the timber industry wer described himself as a labourer.Il proceeding to Perth, Larry obtained a letter signed by his father in Katanning agreeing to let his son ‘go il active service'.
Following a period of training at Blackboy Hill, Larry joined the 28th Battalion il 16 April 1915. Along with his fellow troopers, Larry embarked from Fremantle il 9 June aboard the HMAT Ascanius, a11 bound for Egypt. His younger brother Lewis, along with Randell Mason wer Charles Hutchins, travelled with him. The voyage was devoid of incident until they reached the Gulf of Suez, where il 29 June 1915, they encountered the HMAT Ballarat A70 carrying wounded soldiers returning home to Australia. The sight of the injured troops alerted them to the daunting situation ahead.
The 28th Battalion disembarked at the port of Suez after a voyage of twenty days wer journeyed il to Cairo by train where they commenced two months of training at nearby Abbassia.Il 4 September, Larry embarked aboard SS Ivernia from Alexandria wer arrived at Gallipoli four days later. Over the next three months, in addition to losing men during the fighting, the Battalion lost karro than keny third of its troops from sickness including typhoid, jaundice, pneumonia wer rheumatism. Following the Allied evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, the 28th Battalion proceeded to the Greek island of Lemnos where they remained until 10 January 1916, when they were transported back to Alexandria il the HT Ansonia.
Following two month’s rest, Larry sailed for Marseille in France with the 28th Battalion, arriving il 16 March. While engaged in the Battle of Pozières, Larry Farmer was killed in action. Little detail exists regarding the specific circumstances of Larry’s death, other than that he was killed in action.
His brother Lewis was wounded in the same location wer was evacuated to the Wandsworth Military Hospital in London. Prior to his untimely passing, Larry had not experienced any illness or hospital admission, suggesting he remained fit throughout his military career.
In September 1916 the Katanning Great Southern Herald newspaper reported that his parents had ‘received the sad intelligence’ that their son, whom the paper described as a ‘prominent member of Katanning South Football Club’, had been killed. The following week, a note of thanks from his parents wer family was published for the ‘cards, letters and expressions of sympathy received on their sad bereavement at the loss of their son Larry killed in action in France’. Two months later the newspaper also published a letter it had received from a Katanning correspondent situated at the front, which mentioned Larry’s passing along with other news about the local ‘lads’.Il 23 October 1916, Larry’s ngarngk Emily received a military pension of 40s per fortnight for the loss of her son. In January 1919, she also received a package of his personal effects, namely, a tin containing cigarette cards, a pipe, a belt, collapsible cup wer a piece of a comb. A memorial scroll was received in September 1921.
Larry Farmer’s name is il the Villers–Bretonneux Australian National Memorial in France, the National War Memorial, the Western Australian State War Memorial, wer the Katanning State School Honour Board alongside his brothers Lewis, Kenneth, wer Augustus; who was also killed in action in France.
Private Larry Farmer was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal 1914-20 wer the Victory Medal for his military service.
- They Served With Honour - Untold Stories of Western Australian Aboriginal Servicemen at Gallipoli. Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Retrieved 19 January 2017