James Joseph Farley
|HOME OF RECORD:
4620 Maypole Avenue, Chicago, IL
|NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Thomas C. Farley
|DATE OF BIRTH:
January 14, 1942
|DATE OF DEATH:
October 9, 1942
|CAUSE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
|STATUS OF REMAINS:
Lost at sea, Sealark Channel
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Birth and Early Life:
James Farley was born to Thomas and Julia Farley of Chicago, Illinois around the year 1924. He grew up surrounded by siblings on West Maypole Avenue, worked as an usher in a nearby theater, and graduated from high school in 1941.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
After enlisting on January 14, 1942, Farley was sent to MCRD San Diego. He had a harder time than most in boot camp, and was confined to a hospital in San Luis Obispo for several weeks; by the time he was allowed back on active duty the rest of his recruit platoon had long since graduated.
Private Farley was sent to the Second Marines at the eleventh hour; within weeks of his arrival, his battalion (First Battalion; Farley was a member of Company B) boarded the USS President Jackson for a two-month sail across the Pacific. After leaving the United States, Farley set foot on land only once before making an awkward and embarrassing mock landing on the island of Koro. There was no time for a second rehearsal; the ships weighed anchor and steamed off for the Solomon Islands.
At dawn on August 7, 1942, Private Farley made his first combat landing on August 7, 1942; his company assaulted Florida Island in support of the landings on Guadalcanal just a few miles away. They encountered no live enemy and quickly secured their objective. Later that day 1/2nd Marines re-boarded their landing craft to return to the USS President Jackson, but Company B was diverted and ordered to make a landing on Tanambogo under cover of darkness. Planners hoped that the assault would relieve some of the pressure on the Paramarines fighting on nearby Gavutu, but the Japanese discovered the company’s boats and opened fire. Only a third of the men, mostly from First Platoon, made it to shore; the rest were driven off. The role that Farley’s Second Platoon played is unknown, but they likely never touched dry land on Tanambogo.
Company B rejoined their battalion on now-conquered Tulagi a few days later. For the next two months, they garrisoned the tiny island. There were no Japanese to fight and little else to do; the men occupied themselves by building shelters, constructing fortifications they would never use (at least one company built a double line of barricades from sharpened eight foot logs, simply to stay busy), standing guard duty, and battling boredom. The first cases of malaria and dysentery were reported, and the worst cases evacuated.
Date Of Loss:
On October 9, 1942, Lieutenant Floyd E. Parks called his platoon together for a briefing. They were finally leaving Tulagi and heading for the fighting on Guadalcanal – and would be making a combat landing at the village of Aola, thirty miles from the nearest friendly forces. Most of the Marines welcomed this break in the monotony, and spent the day packing up their few belongings and combat loading their packs.
That evening, Second Platoon climbed into a Higgins boat tethered to a YP craft that would tow them the twenty miles from Tulagi to Aola. Night had fallen by the time they reached the center of Sealark Channel; the plywood Higgins boats groaning and creaking under the strain of their load. Each YP boat towed four Higgins boats lashed together in a chain, which meant the first boat in the chain took the most stress.
James Farley and his platoon were unfortunate enough to be in the first boat. When their YP suddenly increased its speed, the plywood hull of the Higgins boat split in half, dumping Second Platoon into the channel. Loaded down as they were for a combat landing, many of the Marines never had a chance to get out of their gear. Fourteen Marines of Second Platoon – including teenaged Private Farley – drowned in the channel, vanishing without a trace.
Next Of Kin:
Father, Mr. Thomas C. Farley
Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.