b. 16/02/1893 Carlton, Leicestershire. d. 30/04/1918 Crombeke, Belgium.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/04/1918 Crombeke, Belgium.
Joseph was born in the village of Carlton, Leicestershire, one of three children of Charles and Mary Farren. He was educated at the local village school, before he became a farm labourer. He then gained employment with the London & North Western Railway Company between 1908 and 1910. He rose to the position of Porter / Goods Guard, before he enlisted with the Royal Engineers in 1916 as Sapper 267361. He was unmarried at the time of his death.
In Flanders, on the 30th April, 1918, a train of ammunition had been placed at an ammunition refilling point, and after the engine had been detached, and was being run off the train, the second truck suddenly burst into flames. Furlonger immediately ordered Bigland, the driver, to move the engine back on to the train for the purpose of pulling away the two trucks nearest the engine. Bigland did so without hesitation, and the engine was coupled up by Furlonger, assisted by Farren, while the burning truck was uncoupled from the remainder of the train by Woodman. The two trucks were then drawn away clear of .the ammunition dump, it being the intention to uncouple the burning wagon from the engine and the first wagon, and so isolate it, with the object of localising the fire as far as possible. The uncoupling was about to be done when the ammunition exploded, completely wrecking the engine and both trucks, killing Furlonger, Farren and Johnston (a member of the train crew), and seriously wounding Bigland. Had it not been for the prompt and courageous action of these men, whereby three of them lost their lives and one was seriously injured, there is not the slightest doubt that the whole dump would have been destroyed and many lives lost.
BURIAL LOCATION: HARINGHE MILITARY CEMETERY, POPERINGHE, BELGIUM.
PLOT III, ROW D, GRAVE 33.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ENGINEERS MUSEUM, CHATHAM, KENT.