|Date of Birth||May 4, 1888|
|Place of Birth||Stratford, Perth County, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||James Farr (father), Stratford, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Accountant|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Maple Leaf Milling Company, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||January 10, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 12, 1917|
|Age at Death||28|
|Buried At||Villers Station Cemetery, France|
|Plot||X. A. 1.|
Lieutenant Cecil Jardine Farr enlisted in Winnipeg in January 1916 and arrived in France in March 1917. He was killed in action at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, while serving with the 46th Battalion.
Cecil was the youngest son of James Farr and Elizabeth Jardine of Stratford, Perth County, Ontario. James and Elizabeth were both born in Ontario, called Canada West at the time. They were married in January 1876 in the village St. Mary’s, about 20 km southwest of Stratford. James worked as a railway driver and engineer and they had four children: Edward James (1876), Mabel Elizabeth (1878), John William (1882) and Cecil Jardine (4 May 1888). Cecil was born in Stratford and when he was about four years old his family moved to the nearby town of Goderich, where they lived for at least fifteen years.
Cecil’s parents were back in Stratford for the 1911 census but Cecil was no longer living at home. He had left Goderich around 1907 and moved to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario, where he worked in the office of the Maple Leaf Milling Company. About three years later he moved further west and continued to work for the company as a bookkeeper and accountant. By 1913 he was living in Winnipeg, first at the Waldorf Hotel then in an apartment on Hargrave Street. He was still employed by the Maple Leaf Milling Company and he belonged to a local militia unit, the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry.
The war entered its second year in August 1915 and Cecil enlisted that winter, signing up in Winnipeg on 10 January 1916 with the 222nd Battalion. He was given a commission as a Lieutenant and after training in Manitoba for almost a year he headed overseas with his unit. They embarked from Halifax on 15 November 1916 on the SS Olympic. In England the troops were transferred to the 19th Reserve Battalion, to be used as reinforcements for other units. In December Cecil was appointed to an administrative position, assistant adjutant. According to an article in the Toronto Star (1 May 1917) he was offered a permanent clerical position in England, which meant he would not be sent to the front, but he didn’t accept the offer.
In early March 1917 Cecil was sent to France and transferred to the 46th Battalion, which was in 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade. He joined his new unit in the field a short time later. That spring the Canadians were holding a section of the front line between Arras and Lens, across from Vimy. They were carrying out raids on the German trenches and undergoing intensive training for the upcoming assault on Vimy Ridge. The 46th Battalion was relieved in the front line on 1 April and for the next week the men continued with their training. On 6 April the 10th Brigade held a sports event that included football matches, rowing and boxing. The next day the units began to move into position for the Vimy operation, where they would initially be in support for the 12th Brigade.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge began early on Easter Monday morning, 9 April, in a snow and sleet storm. By the following day most of the objectives had been reached and the southern part of the ridge was in Canadian hands. The next part of the operation was to take the Pimple, a heavily defended knoll at the north end of the ridge. Originally the task had been assigned to the 1st British Corps but early in April it was decided that the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, including two companies of the 46th Battalion, would carry out the operation. At 2:30 am on 12 April companies ‘C’ and ‘D’ of the 46th moved into position for the attack. Their advance that morning took place in a driving snowstorm and the men faced heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the Germans but by nightfall the Pimple and nearby areas were captured. Cecil was killed in action during the operation that day, one of 10,600 casualties suffered by the Canadian Corps at the Battle of Vimy Ridge
From the War Diary of the 46th Battalion, the Pimple Operation began at 5 am on the morning of 12 April: ‘operations were carried out under very adverse conditions. There were very heavy snow storms at intervals. Beyond the original enemy front line the ground was terribly cut up, and knee deep in mud. The following casualties occurred during these operations ‘Lieut Farr C.J. Killed.
Cecil is buried in Villers Station Cemetery in the village of Villers-au-Bois, 10 km west of Vimy. The cemetery has 1,200 First World War Commonwealth burials, many of them Canadian soldiers who died at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Cecil is commemorated on the War Memorial at Augustine United Church (formerly Presbyterian) and on the Next of Kin Monument, both in Winnipeg. He is also remembered on the memorial marker erected by Gold Hill and Minnetonka Lodges of Kenora/Keewatin in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Cecil belonged to Lake of the Woods Lodge No. 445 and the marker honours members who fell in the Great War.
Cecil’s mother had died in 1915 before he enlisted and his father passed away in 1924 in Stratford. Cecil is commemorated on the Farr family grave marker at Avondale Cemetery in Stratford, where his parents, brother Edward (1876-1926) and sister Mabel (1878-1968) are buried.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the War Memorial at Augustine United Church in Winnipeg.