Today in Darlington County History

We honor the life sacrifice of  1st Lt. William Glover Farrow, a native of Darlington, SC.  It was on this day in 1942 that William Farrow was executed by the Japanese. He served his Country with honor and today we remember his sacrifice as one of the foundation blocks of our American Freedom. 


Lt. Farrow was born September 24, 1918, in Darlington County, South Carolina and on October 15, 1942, was executed by the Japanese Government. His ashes are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but he has a memorial stone in his hometown of Darlington South Carolina located at Grove Hill Cemetery. 

 

Graduation Photo, William Farrow from St. John’s High

He graduated from St. John’s High School in Darlington in 1935, and later attended the University of South Carolina. In 1939 he began military training at Hawthorne Aviation School in Orangeburg, SC and then to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas where he received his silver wings July 11, 1941. His first assignment was with the 17 Bomb Group in Pendleton, Oregon, followed by the B-25 Mitchell Bombers. 

 In January of 1942 Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle asked for volunteers for a secret hazardous mission. Farrow volunteered.

 

Farrow’s Mitchell Bomber – “The Bat Out Of Hell” on the deck of the USS Hornet.

On April 1, 1942, the crews and the B-25’s and their crews were loaded aboard the USS Hornet for the mission that became known as the Doolittle Raid, to bomb Tokyo and other industrial Japanese cities. On the 19th, after 16 hours from leaving the USS Hornet and successfully completing their mission, the planes ran out of fuel. Lt. Farrow and the others were forced to bail out over Hanchung, China. 

 

They were captured, interrogated, and tortured by the Japanese. By October, the Emperor sentenced 5 crewmen to death, but Farrow and two others were the only ones to die.


 Farrow was permitted to write a short letter to his mother. The letter was never sent but was discovered in a Japanese file after the war was over. Farrow and two other crew members were tied to crosses and killed by a bullet in the head from a Japanese firing squad. Their remains were cremated and their ashes hidden away to be found in 1945 by American investigators. 

 

William Glover Farrow finally came home in 1946. He was and is a very honored individual in the state of South Carolina. Some of the listed credits to him include:

  • The Distinguishing Flying Cross.
  • A road in Darlington County named for him.
  • A Street on the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base named for him.
  • A road in Columbia named for him.
  • A Squadron at the University of S.C. was named in his honor.
  • The Purple Heart.
  • Chinese Medal.
  • The Presidential Citation.

Lt. William Glover Farrow was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006.  Aviation Hall of Fame Article  

He gave his life for the United States, the ultimate sacrifice.

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