Lieutenant William Farrow, Doolittle Raider, SC Native

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The Coastal Insider-History

by Melissa LaScaleia

Have you ever wondered why the streets in the Market Common are named as they are? Most have names that are throwbacks to the history of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in some way. 

Farrow Parkway, the main thoroughfare that runs alongside the Market Common district and connects Hwy 17 to Hwy 17 Business, was duly dubbed on September 25, 1987, after Lieutenant William Glover Farrow.

William Farrow was born in Darlington, South Carolina, on September 24, 1918. He trained as a pilot in South Carolina, and joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. The following year, he received his commission as a second lieutenant, and became a member of the 34th Bomb Squadron.

It was World War II, and in February 1942, Farrow volunteered to participate in the Doolittle Raid, a retaliatory attack against Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. The mission took place on April 18, with Farrow piloting a B-25, named “Bat Out of Hell.” After hitting his targets in Nagoya, he intended to land in Chuchow, but the Japanese deactivated the beacon he was using for direction. Farrow and his crew were forced to bail near Japanese controlled Nanchang, China. They were captured, and Farrow, sentenced to death.

On the eve of his execution, Farrow wrote a letter to his mother. It was recovered at the end of the war and reads: 

“You have given much, so much more to me than I have returned, but such is the Christian way. You are and always will be a real angel. Be brave and strong for my sake. I love you, Mom, from the depths of a full heart… Don’t let this get you down. Just remember God will make everything right and that I’ll see you all again in the hereafter… So let me implore you to keep your chin up. Be brave and strong for my sake. P.S. My insurance policy is in my bag in a small tent in Columbia. Read Thanatopsis by Bryant if you want to know how I am taking this. My faith in God is complete, so I am unafraid.”

Farrow was executed on October 15, 1942. In 1946, he was interred with honors at the Arlington National Cemetery, and was posthumously awarded the Order of the Sacred Tripod of the Republic of China, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Prisoner of War Medal. 

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