David Farnell, "Dave," as he was known to family and friends, was born May 1, 1919 in Providence, RI. He was the youngest of four children, two brothers and one sister. He grew up loving the outdoors and enjoyed ice skating in the winter and swimming in the summer, along with other sports that growing boys enjoyed. After graduating from high school, he was employed as a clerk for the General Electric Company, during which time he met his wife-to-be, Dorothy.
He enlisted in the Army Air Force in February, 1942 at Fort Devens, Mass. He graduated from the Flexible Gunnery School, Laredo Army Air Field, Texas, a member of the AAF Training Command, and was then qualified to take his place as a member of a bomber combat crew. He also received a pair of Aerial Gunner's silver wings.
He arrived overseas and flew his first mission as a nose gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber with his 15th AAF group in Italy. He participated in the attack on enemy oil stores at Berat-Kucove, Albania. They helped to destroy Regensburg and Weiner-Neustadt aircraft factories, the Ploesti oil fields and the Steyr ball bearing works.
On his second mission, he was forced down over Budapest. A few days later he was loaded into a boxcar with several other prisoners and taken to Stalag Luft IV. The trip in the boxcar took three days in July heat with no food and little water, and they were strafed during the trip. When they reached their destination, they were forced to run 2 miles through soldiers using bayonets and attack dogs. He was at Stalag Luft IV until the Russian Offensive threatened to engulf Stalag Luft IV. On February 6, 1945 about 6,000 prisoners were ordered to leave the camp on foot after only a few hours notice. They were forced to march over 600 miles across Germany to escape the Russians during the coldest winter in decades. It was known as the Black Hunger March because of the malnutrition, rampant disease, frostbite and much more. They were repatriated by a British Tank Corps on May 2, 1945. Dave was air lifted to a hospital in Belgium where he stayed until he was able to be sent home. He was discharged as a Sergeant October 8, 1945 from AAF Newark, NJ.
Dave and Dorothy were married August 11, 1945 and moved to Manchester, Conn. where he fulfilled his dream of marrying, buying a home and having children. His love of the outdoors continued, skiing with his family in the winter and enjoying camping, the beach and boating in the summer. He worked at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, East Hartford, Conn. in the Experimental Engineering Dept. for 32 years until he retired. When he retired he and his wife moved to Palm Harbor, FL in 1981. They traveled and enjoyed their retirement to the fullest, before and during his retirement, David loved to listen to good jazz the same jazz that was so much a part of the World War II era. He also spent 12 years building remote control airplanes for a hobby, he enjoyed so much he joined a club for remote control airplanes which enjoyed through out his retirement. They joined the Prisoner of War Florida State No. 1 Chapter. They lived in Palm Harbor, FL until his death. They were married 53 years. He was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather. Besides his wife, he leaves two daughter and five grandchildren.