William ‘Billy’ Farrow recognized for his heroism and sacrifice
By Melissa Rollins, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
On October 15, members of the Darlington community gathered to remember Billy Farrow. The day of remembrance started at First Baptist Church and then moved to the Darlington Veteran’s Memorial where a wreath was placed at the monument honoring Farrow. The service marked the 75th anniversary of Farrow’s death.
Farrow was born in Darlington on September 24, 1918. He earned Eagle Scout honors in the Boys Scouts at 16-years-old and graduated from St. John’s High School.
In 1939, Farrow was one of three students from the University of South Carolina that began pilot training at Hawthorne Aviation School in Orangeburg. He was commissioned as an Army Aviator in 1941, transitioning to the B-25 Mitchell Bomber.
In April 1942, Farrow was part of what would become known as the Doolittle Raid. At the time it was a secret mission with an unknown destination.
Farrow’s plane the ‘Bat out of Hell’ was sent toward Nagoya, Japan where it dropped bombs on the Mitsubishi Aircraft Factor.
After running out of gas over China, Farrow and his crew bailed out of the plane and were captured.
Shortly before he was executed in October, Farrow wrote a letter to his family. That letter never reached them and was later discovered in a Japanese archive from the war. In his letter he told his family, “don’t let this get you down. Just remember that God will make everything right and that I will see you again in the hereafter.”
Farrow’s body and that of two other airmen were cremated and put in a Japanese mortuary, where they were found in 1945; Farrow’s remains were returned to his family in 1946 and were buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
During the service Sunday, Darlington County Councilman Bobby Kilgo read a resolution.
“A resolution creating an annual local day of remembrance honoring William G. Farrow on Oct. 15, 2017, the 75th anniversary of his death…
Whereas William G. Farrow volunteered to participate in an unknown mission that would later become known as the Doolittle Raid which took place in 1942. Farrow was the pilot of the ‘Bat out of Hell’ the number 16 bomber to take off from the U.S.S. Hornet. He and his crew performed their mission flawlessly.
Whereas William G. Farrow along with his crew were captured in occupied China, he and two other members were tried and sentenced to death after being subjected to harsh imprisonment, interrogation and torture.
Whereas William G. Farrow as Darlington County resident died in hostile hands at dawn on Oct. 15, 1942, by means of a firing squad.
Now therefore, be it resolved by the governing body of Darlington County, South Carolina, the Darlington County Council, that on Oct. 15, 2017 the 75th Anniversary of the execution of William G. Farrow, begin an annual day of remembrance of his heroism and sacrifice for the causes of freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”