b. 29/05/1924 Sedgefield, Durham. d. 30/03/2007 Cardiff, Wales.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 21/06/1948 Cardiff, Wales.
Kenneth Farrow (1924-2007), an only child of William and Christina (nee Iveson), was born on May 29th 1924 in Sedgefield, Co Durham, and educated at Sedgefield Junior School and St Michael’s School in Buckingham Palace Road, London. From 1938 to 1943 he worked as a shop assistant, and then joined the RAF. Posted to No 218 Squadron in Suffolk, he served as a rear-gunner on Lancaster bombers and was eventually promoted to flight sergeant. In December 1944, he married Phyllis Joan Chittenden and they had a son, Simon.
In February 1947 Farrow joined the Cardiff City Police Force (later the South Wales Constabulary). At the time of the rescue attempt Farrow was a constable serving with the Cardiff City Police Force. On June 21st 1948, at about seven o’clock in the evening, he was on patrol duty when he saw some people running, and, on asking what was going on, was told that a four-year-old boy had fallen into the Feeder – an aqueduct supplying water from the Taff river to Cardiff docks.
Farrow ran to the Feeder, tore off his uniform and dived into the water. He swam underneath a covering of concrete slabs for some 180 yards in search of the boy. Over that distance the headroom – which was just over two feet at the point where the boy had fallen in – decreased to some six inches.
It was impossible for Farrow to stand upright with his head above the water level; the current was flowing at about six miles per hour; the water was black; and there were heavy deposits of mud and silt at the bottom. Farrow had been in the water for about a quarter of an hour when he came to the conclusion that it was hopeless to venture any further downstream. He began to work his way back towards the open section where the boy had fallen in. The current was against him and he was an indifferent swimmer. He was in pitch darkness, the roof was slimy, and the only fingerholds that he could find were at the points where the slabs fitted together, and in a few places, where they were damaged. Farrow finally reached the open air, completely exhausted after his rescue attempt. The boy’s body was later recovered from the water.
He received the Albert Medal from King George VI at Buckingham Palace in October 1948. After the Albert Medal was revoked by Royal Warrant, he exchanged the award for the George Cross in November 1972. He presented his Albert Medal to the National Museum of Wales. A few months after his rescue attempt he received a Life-Saving Certificate with medallion and the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust Certificate. He retired from the police force in 1972 as a road safety officer with the rank of Sergeant.
After leaving the police with an Exemplary Service Medal, Farrow joined the traffic management section of Mid Glamorgan County Council. In retirement he lived at Llandaff, where his recreations were fly-fishing and gardening. Kenneth passed away, aged 82, on 30th March 2007 in Cardiff, and was cremated at Thornhill Crematorium. Kenneth’s medals including his GC, 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal, 2002 QEII Golden Jubilee Medal and Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal are privately held by the Farrow family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: THORNHILL CREMATORIUM, CARDIFF, WALES.
National Museum of Wales – Image of Farrow’s Albert Medal.