Edwin “Neddie” Hercules Fardell was born in 1890 at Orange NSW, the first son of Alderman Thomas Fardell Jnr and Martha Ellen Fardell nee Toms.
He enlisted in the AIF at Randwick on 19 August 1914, aged 24. Ned was 5’ 6” tall with fair complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair. His older brother Claude went missing in 1913 and his younger brother Aubrey was excused from service. His father died in January 1915 while Neddie was in Egypt, and his mother lived until 1939 when she died at home the night that World War II was declared.
Neddie served in the 2nd Battalion which landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. During the landing Neddie was wounded; hit in the neck by shrapnel. According to an eyewitness he sustained shrapnel wounds to the back of the neck, almost severing it. He survived, spending a month in hospital in Cairo before returning to Gallipoli to fight again.
Ned’s older first cousin, Sergeant Farrier George Fardell, born in Carcoar, was with the 4th Field Ambulance on Gallipoli. Another cousin, Frederick Fardell, born in Orange, was killed on 1 September 1917 outside of Peronne, France.
The 2nd Battalion was chosen to take part in the initial assault at Lone Pine. After gaining possession of the main enemy line, the Australians were subjected to a series of determined counter-attacks which would last the next three days, which, although successfully repulsed, proved very costly for the Australians. The 2nd Battalion suffered considerably; having started the action with 22 officers and 560 other ranks, they lost 21 officers and 409 other ranks killed or wounded.
Among those killed was commanding officer, Scobie, who was shot dead while attempting to repulse a counter-attack on 7 August 1915. Neddie was seriously wounded in the stomach and legs during the attack. Sergeant Cookson was present and witnessed the occurrence and helped to carry Private Fardell to the Casualty Clearance Station. Gangrene set in and he died on 9 August 1915 on the HMHS Delta and was buried at sea.
Prior to enlisting in the Army, Edwin had trained with the Orange Infantry. He played rugby league and was a member of the Orange club. Neddie worked in the family general store Fardell & McIntyre in Byng Street, East Orange. His brother-in-law Edward John “Daisy” McIntyre was one of five rugby union players from Orange who toured with the first Wallaby team in 1908.
In the Sydney Morning Herald of 30 October 1915 “Neddie” was lovingly remembered by his mother Martha, his sisters May, Grace and Ada, his brothers Claude and Aubrey, his brothers-in-law, Eddie McIntyre, James Ryan and Paddy Power. Ned was also remembered by “his loving friend Kathleen Ryan”.
The Orange Rugby League Club and the Methodist Church held memorial services for Ned and other members that had died or were wounded.
On 25 April 1917 the second ever Anzac Day service in Orange was held at the Orange Public School. Mayoress McNeilly placed a laurel wreath on the Union Jack for each fallen soldier who had attended the school, including Neddie Fardell.
In July 1917 a tree was planted at Orange Public School in Edwin’s memory. It was one of 26 trees planted in honour of fallen soldiers who had attended the school.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte EH Fardell”; it was donated by J Paravacini. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Edwin is also remembered in Newman Park in Orange, where his name appears on a plaque commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action.
Edwin Hercules Fardell is commemorated on the honour rolls of Orange Public School, Orange East Public School, and the Methodist Church Orange. His name appears on panel 17 of the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and panel number 32 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
* Noni Brown, 2017
Edwin Fardell was from Orange, NSW, and worked as a labourer before enlisting in 1914. Since first linking Edwin to my family I have always felt a close affinity to him primarily I think because he went to the same primary school as me and probably walked the same streets as me…even if they were some 70 years apart.
Edwin enlisted on the 19th August 1914 at the age of 24 and so was amongst one of the earliest to sign up.
Edwin was at the landing at Gallipoli where he was wounded in action. He was then shipped off to Egypt and admitted to No 2 General Hospital, Cairo, on 29 April 1915. After recovering sufficiently he returned to Gallipoli on 31 May 1915.
The next we hear of Edwin is when he is given three days’ punishment for disobeying orders on 29 July 1915. We don’t know what orders he disobeyed but I like to think he was standing up against one of those disastrous orders that the Gallipoli commanders are renowned for giving.
Then on 8 August 1915 in the middle of arguably one of Australia’s most famous battles – The Battle of Lone Pine – Edwin was again wounded in action. He was shot in the abdomen and transferred to the hospital ship Delta. He died of his wounds and was buried at sea on the 9 August 1915.
* Lisa Apfel, 2015