Edward Nicholas Farrell
Serial No. 467
1st Light Horse Regiment
Edward Nicholas Farrell - Information
Edward had a propensity for military service. He was born in Picton, and grew up on the family property in Wilton. Edward served during the Boer War in South Africa and completed 3 years service with the NSW Mounted Rifles. He was working as a labourer, when news that Britain, and therefore Australia, was at war with Germany reached the town. Edward quickly rushed into Sydney to sign up at Rosebery Park on the 26th of August 1914, aged 34. With his superior riding skills, he was allocated to the 1st Light Horse Regiment as a Corporal. He was sent overseas from Sydney, setting off on the 20th of October 1914 on the HMAT Star of Victoria.
Edward landed in Egypt, where the troops had to contend with the heat and flies. He and his mates endured lengthy training, bonding with their horses. However, they had to leave them behind when Light Horse units were mustered to reinforce the infantry on the Gallipoli Peninsula. On the 9th of May, Edward and his unit proceeded to the Dardanelles. Edward inspired his men, keeping them together as they realised the horrors of trench warfare, while manning the lines. Stalemate had developed, and in August, the Allies launched a series of assaults to break it. The 1st Regiment attacked the Turks at a section of the line known as the ‘Chessboard’ on the 7th of August. The Allies were unable to break through the lines, and the men continued to suffer as the weather turned bitterly cold. Towards the end of the year, the campaign wound down and the men were evacuated. On the 4th of December, Edward was promoted Sergeant, and a few weeks later Edward and his mates left the Peninsula to return to Egypt on Boxing Day. Edward proved to be an outstanding soldier, and was mentioned in despatches to the Middle East Commander, General Murray, on the 14th of January 1916.
For the first half of 1916, the 1st Regiment patrolled the Nile Valley. In May, they were sent to protect the Suez Canal, when the Turkish forces threatened it. The Allies then launched an attack in Romani in August. The Turks withdrew, and in November the mounted units followed them into the Sinai Desert. In 1917, patrols spread into Palestine with many encounters, including Rafa in January and Gaza in April. Here, Edward was troop leader, instructing his men during operations under heavy shell fire. He managed to get his men whom were on an exposed ridge to safety. Then, on the 19th of July while on patrol, Edward was ordered by the Colonel to inform the left flank that they were to retire. After he rode off, he noticed a group of Turks approaching from the rear. Protecting his column, he led them away from the main body of Light Horse troops and started to chase them with a small party. Unbeknownst, he followed them to a hut filled with Turkish soldiers, and was concurrently fired upon. For his heroic actions, Edward was recommended for the Military Medal. In September, Edward attended a School of Instruction in Zeitoun. He returned to his unit in mid October, before they attacked Beersheba at the end of the month. Gaza fell to the Allies in November followed by Jerusalem in December. Operations then shifted into the Jordan Valley in 1918.
Edward continued his valued service to the unit. He was mentioned in despatches that passed through High Command on several occasions. In late April, he was recommended for a Romanian Decoration. The Allies continued to chase and attack the Turks driving them back. The Turkish government surrendered on the 30th of October 1918. Not long after, the entire war was over when the Germans signed the Armistice on the 11th of November. Four days later, Edward was granted special 1914 home leave to Australia. He departed Egypt on the 15th of November onboard the Port Darwin.