Farrow, William Glover “Bill”.

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Farrow, William Glover “Bill”, born 24-09-1918, in Darlington, South Carolina , His father Isaac Farrow was employed at a cigarette company in Raleigh, North Carolina; his mother Jessie Griffin, born in 1897, was the daughter of the wealthy tobacco warehouse owner  Griffin, John Chandler.. At age sixteen, William became an Eagle Scout. He graduated from St. John’s High School in May 1935, and went on to attend the University of South Carolina. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth.

In the fall of 1938, Bill Farrow (top left) posed with fellow pledges of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on the steps of USC’s Rutledge Chapel on the Horseshoe.

During the fall of 1939, he received his pilot training at the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics in Orangeburg, South Carolina. On 23-11-1940, Farrow joined the United States Army Air Corps’ Aviation Cadet Program. He joined the Air Corps training program in November 1940, and was commissioned in July 1941.

In July of the following year, he obtained his aviator badge and a commission as a second lieutenant at Kelly Field in Texas. Following his completion of the B-25 Mitchell   training program, he was sent to Pendleton Field in Oregon as a member of the 34th Bomb Squadron.

under command of Major John W Monahan

In February 1942, following the squadron’s transfer to Columbia Army Air Base in January, Farrow volunteered to participate in the Doolittle Raid, an attempt to retaliate against the Japanese as a result of their attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time, however, the mission was secret and its target unknown to the volunteers. On 01-04-1942, after training in various places around the United States, the crews and their respective aircraft departed from San Francisco aboard the USS Hornet (CV-8). The mission took place on April 18. The B-25 which Farrow piloted, named Bat out of Hell, was the sixteenth and final aircraft to depart from the Hornet. Number 16, under his command, had targeted Osaka in the plan but invaded Nagoya and bombed the city. After the aircraft’s targets in Nagoya, which included an oil tank and aircraft factory, had been bombed, Farrow intended to land in Chuchow. However, the Japanese had deactivated the beacon that Farrow was using for direction.

he Imperial Japanese Forces was desperately searching for the whereabouts of Number 16. Sixteen hours after departure from the Hornet, the aircraft’s fuel exhausted, Farrow and his crew bailed out near Japanese-controlled Nanchang, China. The Japanese captured Farrow and all members of his crew, and subjected them to imprisonment, interrogation, and torture. The men were subsequently tried and sentenced to death. Most of the crew members’ sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by the Emperor of Japan , but the sentences of three men, including Farrow, stood. The night before their execution, the men were permitted to write final letters. The International Red Cross was to mail the letters after receiving them from the Japanese. The Japanese, however, did not pass on the letters, and they were never mailed. Farrow wrote letters to his mother and to a friend, Lieutenant. Ivan Ferguson. In the letter addressed to his mother, Farrow wrote:

You have given much, so much more to me than I have returned, but such is the Christian way. You are and always will be a real angel. Be brave and strong for my sake. I love you, Mom, from the depths of a full heart… Don’t let this get you down. Just remember God will make everything right and that I’ll see you all again in the hereafter…  So let me implore you to keep your chin up. Be brave and strong for my sake. P.S. My insurance policy is in my bag in a small tent in Columbia. Read Thanatopsis by Bryant if you want to know how I am taking this. My faith in God is complete, so I am unafraid.

Death and burial ground of Farrow, William Glover “Bill”.


At dawn on October 15, the men were taken to a public cemetery near Shanghai, where they were shot by a Japanese firing squad. Following the bodies’ cremation, the ashes were taken to a mortuary. After the war ended, the men’s ashes were recovered and their letters found in a secret file of the War Ministry Building in Tokyo. In 1946, Farrow was interred with honors at the Arlington National Cemetery, Section 12, Grave 157. His neighbour there is Basilone, John, “Manila John”. Basilone, John, "Manila John" who was killed on Iwa Jimo as a warrior with the Marine Corps gunnery, sergeant of the “D” Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division..

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