The Faber family

My great aunt Dorothy (my grandmother’s sister) married Henry Grey Faber in 1960. Dorothy was his second wife.  This page covers the research I have done on Dorothy and Henry Grey Faber and the extended research I have done on the Faber and Grey families.

Further information about The Faber family can also be found below.

Henry Grey Faber and 5th Durham Light Infantry

Henry Grey Faber served in the 5th Durham Light Infantry. He appears to have started army life in the Volunteer Forces in 1905 before becoming a Colonel in later life. I have been fortunate to learn much about his time in the army and have a number of wonderful photos too.

Jo Faulkner who worked for a time at Preston Hall Museum in Stockton on Tees advised me that ‘Colonel Faber was a senior officer in the Durham Light Infantry. Colonel G O Spence who is also in the photograph was a prolific collector of arms and armor and bequeathed his collection to Stockton Council, it is in the Preston Hall Museum collection. I also remember that Colonel Faber donated a few objects, one of them being a Georgian sedan chair. I did look after the collections at this museum but no longer work there so I am unable to check the details for you. After WW1 Spence lived in a house built at Far End Farm near Yarm and Faber lived at Worsall Grove, which was just a little further along the road towards Worsall, so I think they remained friends. My great grandparents lived on the neighbouring farm ‘Morley Carr’. My great uncle (born 1931) says that when he was a small boy at Worsall school Colonel Faber would have all the children doing drill outside. Yes, I believe Faber was a partner in a solicitors practice, I’ve come across his name in local history studies from time to time.’

Christopher Young at Preston Park Museum and Grounds also provided help and very generously allowed me to display the photos he sent me on this website.

The document below shows Henry’s  official posting as an Officer and appears to have been signed by the King.

Official posting as an officer

Henry can be seen in the photo below, taken at Windsor in 1909.  He would have been 22 at the time.

Photo showing presentation of colours at Windsor 19 June 1909.

Further information about Presentation of Colours can be found below.

I subsequently learned that The Royal Collection Trust displays a painting on its website by Jean Baptiste Édouard Detaille of the above event. The painting marked the culmination of significant army reforms that had been taking place, instigated by the Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane (1856-1928). They grew out of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of 1907, which saw the abolition of existing Volunteers and Yeomanry and the establishment of a Territorial Force of fourteen infantry divisions, fourteen cavalry brigades all financed by local organisations, but liable for service under War Office command. The reforms were an attempt to prepare England for a possible attack by Germany and the King played active part in the discussions.

The painting depicts a moment, towards the end of the ceremony, when the two hundred newly blessed colours were drooped in salutation as the National Anthem was played. The King then stepped forward into the square and gracefully acknowledged the homage of his Territorial Army.

The painting and further information about this can be found on The Royal Collection Trust website below.

Henry is also pictured on the front row of the photo below, second from the right, which shows Officers of the 5th Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry, taken on the eve of the battalion’s departure for France in April 1915.

Officers of the 5th Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry.

I first came across the photo on the Flickr page of Steve Heimerle who also has an interest in the 5th Battalion.

Interestingly, on the ground, far right, a second man, Second-Lieutenant E W Faber is named. I believe Henry and Edward were cousins, sharing a grandfather, also called Henry Grey Faber. On checking the 1901 census on the Find My Past website, I located an Edward W Faber, aged 6, born in Eaglescliife, Durham in 1895 – he is recorded as being the son of Charles (a solicitor born in Stockton) and Edith Faber.  On the 1911 census, I again located a Edward W Faber, aged 16 living with Charles and Edith and a brother, aged nine called Charles, with the middle name of Grey, the same as Henry.

Durham County Record Office hold information about both Henry, Edward and the Durham Light Infantry,  including:

  • a copy letter from Second Lieutenant H. [sic] Faber, The Cottage, Eaglescliffe, describing how he was wounded in Belgium and how his life was saved by a cigarette case
  • a newspaper cutting concerning a silver cigarette box and hair brushes, formerly belonging to Lieutenant Faber of The Durham Light Infantry
  • notes compiled by the son of Lieutenant E W Faber, concerning his late father’s military career, and his connection with Corporal Pennock, and Colonel H Faber.
  • letter from ‘Hal’ [Lieutenant-Colonel H.G. Faber] to his mother describing a trip to Windsor, Berkshire, June 1909
  • battalion orders by Major H.G. Faber, officer commanding the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, 2 November
  • newspaper cutting concerning the annual sports day of the 5th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, at Hipswell Camp, Catterick, Yorkshire, 1922
  • group photograph of officers of the 5th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, in service dress, at Ripon Summer Camp, Yorkshire, 1924

The above information can be found on the Durham County Record Office website.

The photo below is dated 1919 (Henry is thought to appear on the top row, fourth from the right). Again the photo is used with permission of  Preston Park Museum and Grounds, who also guided me to references of H G Faber and E W Faber which appear in a book about the Durham Light Infantry.

Henry Grey Faber and the 5th battalion 1919.

Further information

Further information about the Durham Light Infantry and about Durham during the war can be found below.

More photos

Henry Grey Faber

Henry Grey Faber was the husband of my great aunt Dorothy (my grandmother’s sister). Dorothy was Henry’s second wife and the couple were married at  Holy Trinity Church, Micklegate, York in 1960. Although Henry is not a direct ancestor, I was interested to learn about him, as I have a very clear memory of being told by my great aunt that his family appeared in Burke’s Peerage and I wanted to learn more about this.

My dad tells me Henry was known as Hal and that he worked as a solicitor. I have confirmed this to be correct by looking at census returns and have also found mentions of Henry’s legal career in the Gazette newspaper.

The 1891 census shows a Henry  G Faber was born in Durham in 1887, to Thomas Faber, aged 30 (born 1861 in Durham) and Ada Faber  aged 29 (born 1862 in Wimbledon, Surrey). A younger brother and sister, Frank S and Ada L are recorded too.  Aged 14 in 1901, Henry appears to have been a boarder at a school in Harrogate and in 1911, aged 24, he is recorded as being a solicitor, living again with his parents Thomas and Ada and with more sisters and a brother.

I have also located information about Henry on the 1939 register, working as a solicitor and living with Ellen G Faber and Elizabeth H F Faber. I believe Henry married Ellen Holberton in Totnes, Devon in 1916. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in Knaresborough in 1917 and in 1939 her  occupation is shown as VAD, which I have learned stands for Voluntary Aid Detachment, a voluntary unit of civilians providing nursing care for military personnel in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire.

It would be another 20 years before Henry would marry Dorothy, who was working as a school teacher at the time, living in the Morrison household at Faceby Manor Faceby, Stokesley R.D., Yorkshire (North Riding), England.

Searching for Henry Grey Faber on the Find My past website, I found details of his service, medals and awards and his first world war record.  Ellen it seems also served in the army as a staff nurse.

Henry’s father Thomas, born 1861, can be found on the 1871 census residing at Middleton One Row, Middleton St George, Darlington, Durham, England, with his parents Henry Grey Faber, aged 41 (born 1830 in Durham) and Elizabeth Faber, aged 38 (born 1833 in Durham). Also four brothers and two sisters.  The Faber family are all recorded as visitors to Sarah Moore aged 75 and her daughter Mary A Moore aged 37.

I believe that Henry’s grandfather, also called  Henry Grey Faber, was the first son of Thomas Henry and Eleanor Faber and that he was baptised on 1 December 1829 in Durham.  Henry can be found on the 1841 census, aged 11, at Shincliffe, St Oswald, Durham and Lanchester, Durham, England which appears to be a school. In 1851 aged 21 Henry can be found lodging in the household of George and Hannah Harrision at Church Street, Guisborough, Yorkshire & Yorkshire (North Riding), England and employed as a Solicitor’s Articled Clerk.  In 1871 he can be found aged 41 residing with the Moore family as described above.

Origin of the names Faber and Grey

Information about the origin of the Faber and Grey surnames can be found on the website.

I am interested to learn more about the surnames Faber and Grey, as the name Grey appears to have been used as a middle name by many people with the surname Faber, both male and female, including Henry and Edward, largely in Stockton on Tees. However, I have also found the name connected to  Dorset, London, Middlesex and Essex and would very much like to know more about this. See footnote about the family of Hamilton S Faber and in particular his grandparents Thomas Henry Faber and Eleanor Faber (nee Grey).

More photos

Unknown soldiers

The photo on this page was given to me by my relative Keith Shortland and as such, I am presuming, for now at least, that one of the men shown is a Shortland ancestor. I  know that one of my Shortland ancestors, Richard, served in the 51st regiment, traveling to Australia with them around 1841. The photo isn’t clear enough to make out any badges but the uniform has an interesting design on the sleeves, so I hope in time to learn more about the men pictured.

Unknown soldiers

In papers given to me by my great aunt Dorothy, I learned that a Richard Shortland traveled to Australia with the 51st regiment of the British army (I believe the regiment was later re-named the King’s Own Yorks Light Infantry) around 1841, living there until he died in Sydney in 1887.

I believe I have located Richard on the British Army, Worldwide Index 1841 which shows he was serving in the State of Tasmania and includes his service number (1456) and rank and regiment (51st foot) and a National Archives reference number (WO 12/6203)  which National Archives advised refers to the muster roll or pay list for the 1st battalion of the 51st regiment in 1841 – 1842, one of a series of muster rolls for the battalion.

Further research into the 51st regiment has uncovered the following information.

The State Library and Archive Service advised:

‘According to a Correspondence File on the 51st Regiment (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) the 51st Regiment ‘was put under orders for Australia in 1837, to relieve the 21st Regiment in Van Diemen’s Land. They came out, according to custom, as guards on convict transports. Detachments arrived direct from England, via New South Wales between February 1838 and 1843. The regiment served in the colony under Lieutenant Colonel Elliott. The Returns of 1839 give the strength as 29 officers and 629 men. A detachment was stationed at Port Arthur in July of 1838; another was detailed for South Australia and left Hobart on 5 October 1841 per the ship Endora. The Regiment was put under orders for India, and part of the regiment left Sydney on 17 April 1841 per the ship Virtue but it was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. All were rescued with the exception of one woman. The Head Quarters staff together with four Companies under Lt Colonel Elliott, left Hobart on 8 August 1846 per the ships Agincourt and China. Three companies remained to reinforce the 96th Regiment and Lieut Colonel St Maur, until 27 January 1847 when they sailed per the ship Javato India via West Australia.’

‘Please be aware that Regiments took their records with them when they traveled. To find more specific information out about Richard Shortland contact the National Archives in England: Our office also has copies of pay lists and some British regiment muster rolls (as part of the War Office records in the Australian Joint Copying Project) Unfortunately, searching through this series is extremely time consuming and owing to the limited resources of this office I regret I am unable to conduct an extended search on your behalf. A Tasmanian Private Researcher, however, may be able to assist you and a list of researchers has been attached for your reference.’

‘There are also many references to the 51st Regiment’s time in VDL in the National Library of Australia’s TROVE website (digitised newspaper section).’

National Archives advised:

‘The main source of information for soliders in the British Army during the 19th century is the pension records in WO 97.  These have been indexed by name, both on our catalogue, and on Find My Past, so as the name you’re looking for does not turn up, you can assume that he left the army without becoming eligible for a pension.’

A query sent to the State Library of South Australia resulted in a search of the Tasmanian Archives and name index online but did not provide any relevant information. The library subsequently looked to New South Wales as that is where he lived and died and advised ‘‘State Records (of New South Wales) holds very few records relating to the early regiments stationed in the colony because, as they were British troops, the records remained with the Imperial Government. Hence, surviving records relating to those regiments are held by the Public Record Office, London. However, most State Libraries in Australia hold microform copies of the Muster Books and Pay Lists, which were copied as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.’

A response to a question about army uniforms advised:

‘The uniforms are British and are worn by men of a Rifle Volunteer regiment. This regiment were part time soldiers, like the  modern day Territorial Army.’

The uniforms I was advised were ‘light grey and have coloured collars and cuffs, either red, blue or green, depending on which regiment they were in. The Rifle Volunteers would assemble regularly for drill and training and spend a few weeks in camp in the summer for proper tactical training.’

Army Museums advised:

‘The ‘uniforms in the photograph certainly appear to be the Colonial Service pattern worn in Australia’. They also advised that they had located 1456 Private Richard Shortland on the nominal roll of personnel from 51st Regiment of Foot stationed in Van Diemens Land, Tasmania in 1841.

In addition, they advised that the 51st Regiment of Foot, later re-titled the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) served in Australia from 1838 until 1846 when they moved to India. Their principle tasks I was told were typical garrison tasks – guarding convict settlements, hunting down bushrangers, suppressing armed resistance by Indigenous Australians, providing security on the goldfields, assisting local police to maintain public order, undertaking ceremonial duties and developing the nation’s military defenses.

The State Library and Archive Service in Australia advised as follows:

According to a Correspondence File on the 51st Regiment (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) the 51st Regiment ‘was put under orders for Australia in 1837, to relieve the 21st Regiment in Van Diemen’s Land. They came out, according to custom, as guards on convict transports. Detachments arrived direct from England, via New South Wales between February 1838 and 1843. The regiment served in the colony under Lieutenant Colonel Elliott.

The Returns of 1839 give the strength as 29 officers and 629 men. A detachment was stationed at Port Arthur in July of 1838; another was detailed for South Australia and left Hobart on 5 October 1841 per the ship Endora.

The Regiment was put under orders for India, and part of the regiment left Sydney on 17 April 1841 per the ship Virtue but it was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef. All were rescued with the exception of one woman.

The Head Quarters staff together with four Companies under Lt Colonel Elliott, left Hobart on 8 August 1846 per the ships Agincourt and China. Three companies remained to reinforce the 96th Regiment and Lieut Colonel St Maur, until 27 January 1847 when they sailed per the ship Java to India via West Australia.


Richard Shortland

I learned about Richard and his wife Eliza after reading through papers given to me by my great aunt Dorothy. Richard it seemed was born in Northamptonshire around 1824 and Dorothy had noted that he had traveled to Australia with the 51st regiment of the British army around 1841, living there until he died in Sydney in 1887.  Further information about the regiment can be found below.

I wanted to learn about Richard and Eliza as it seemed learning about them, may lead me to learn more about the story I have been told, that my family is descended from Lieutenant John Shortland. I have now amassed quite a bit of information which is published here, however, to date, I have only found contrary reports about Richard’s relationship to Lieutenant John.

Dorothy’s papers seem to indicate that Richard was the brother of my great great great grandfather John Shortland, along with three other brothers, named Thomas, William and Henry.  The papers included a birth certificate from 1858 for Richard’s son Joseph (on this Richard is shown to be a Dray Proprietor) and a note, handwritten by Dorothy, which detailed a memorial, showing that Richard died aged 64 in 1887 leaving a wife and 12 children:

  • William Henry
    (born Armidale, New South Wales 1849, married in Camden 17/9/1872 at St. Johns Church, occupation  – Writing Clerk
  • Mary A. (1850)
  • Richard (1852)
  • John (1854)
  • Eliza (1855)
  • Joseph B (1858)
  • George T (1860)
  • Robert A. (1862)
  • Alice (1864)
  • Arthur (1867)
  • Emily (1869)
  • Martha L. (1873)

I believe that prior to marrying Eliza, Richard was married to Anne. A search of the Find My Past website has found that Richard Shortland married Anne Keenan on 2 September 1844 in Sydney, Australia.

Searching for further information, I found the hand written note matched an entry on the Ancestry UK website and this enabled me to locate both the death index, (which names Richard’s parents as Richard and Mary) and details of the grave in Rookwood Cemetery, New South Wales.

Grant Skinner at the cemetery kindly sent me the photos that appear here – these not only showed the grave that Dorothy wrote about but also that other family members were buried in the same place.

Grant advised ‘The rear of the memorial (photo 0348) is all blank with the three x other faces having multiple inscriptions and the plots appear to be over four or five sites wide. It appears that a wrought iron fence of some description has been removed from the kerb set of the memorial some time ago based on the patches in the sandstone, but the memorial itself is in rather good condition given its age with a bit of the kerb set sunk into a slight depression towards the front of the site, but nothing of any great concern’. Death notices for Richard can be found below.

Grave of Richard and Eliza Shortland

However, on studying the photos, I noted that another Richard is recorded. The younger Richard died 24 April 1933 aged 80 years.

I searched the National Library of Australia website and have I believe found newspaper articles relating to the latter and his wife. The articles about Richard state he was a descendant of Lieutenant Shortland and a grand or great grand nephew of Rear-Admiral Shortland, of the Imperial Navy.  The articles also provide detail of the work he did, stating ‘He was principal of the firm of Shortland and Sons who, in the early days of Sydney, were contract carriers for most of the city firms; he retired from business at the outbreak of war in 1914.’



However, I am also in possession of a document, re-produced below,  which states the  relationship to Lieutenant John has been proved to be untrue and that Eliza invented the story.  Could Eliza have made the story up? I am keeping an open mind but for my money, in light of the newspaper articles, I would like to know how the story has been disproved before reaching my conclusion.

The Wheelers of Camden (page one)

The Wheelers of Camden (page two)

More photos

Army Life

My great grandfather Joseph Charles Abram enlisted in the British Army on 22 January 1901 aged 19 years and five months. He worked as a Farrier Staff Sergeant (a blacksmith specialising in shoeing horses, a skill that requires not only the ability to shape and fit horseshoes, but also the ability to clean, trim, and shape a horse’s hooves) in the Army Service Corps. During his time in the army he served in South Africa, Egypt and Palestine. He left the army in 1922.

My family is fortunate to have a copy of his service record together with other mementos of his time in the army, including a brass tin (a Christmas gift from Princess Mary to those serving in the armed forces in 1914), the Christmas card that came with this,  his war medals and the Oak Leaf emblems which he received for having been mentioned in despatches on 30 December 1913 (a member of the armed forces mentioned in despatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer, in which gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described).

Further information about the tin can be found below.

The medals are the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, also known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

Further information about the medals can be found below.


Princess Mary Christmas tin

More photos


Joseph Bowers Abram

Joseph Bowers Abram was the first child born to my great grandparents Joseph Charles and Millicent May Abram.

Growing up I remember often being told about Joseph, although at the time we did not know the child’s name, born to my great grandparents during time they had spent in South Africa. My great grandfather was stationed in Tempe, Pretoria on army service and Millicent was there with him.

There was no military conflict in South Africa that would have caused them to be there but there was a substantial military presence in South Africa following the
creation of the Union at the end of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902 and some British Army units remained stationed in South Africa until the beginning of the First World War.

The British had occupied the town of Bloemfontein and Tempe became a military base – Bloemfontein, as the capital of the Boer Orange Free State Republic and a large town, was established as one of the new Union’s administrative centres and consequently had a local military garrison, Tempe. Today, the Tempe base is reported to be one of the largest Army bases in South Africa.

My grandmother recalled being shown a photograph of the child’s grave which Joseph Charles is said to have carried in his wallet but the photograph can no longer be found – the grave was surrounded by iron railings made by my great grandfather, who worked as a Farrier (a blacksmith – specialising in shoeing horses, a skill that requires not only the ability to shape and fit horseshoes, but also the ability to clean, trim, and shape a horse’s hooves).

However, for many years the search for information about the child proved to be fruitless. Requests for help locating documents or a photo of the grave ran cold. The child was nothing more than an often told family story – there was no evidence he had ever lived.

Eventually information about the child did emerge – a boy, named Joseph Bowers Abram (Joseph after his father and Bowers, his mothers maiden name) was found to have been born on 11 March 1913 – he was baptised less than a month later on 4 April 1913 in Bloemfontein Cathedral, Orange Free State, South Africa.

Detail of the baptism of Joseph Bowers Abram, 4 April 1913

Detail of the baptism of Joseph Bowers Abram, 4 April 1913

Sadly, Joseph lived for two short months – he died of enteritis and heart failure. Joseph and Milly May returned to England soon after. I can only imagine how it much have felt to leave their baby so far away.


Around 2009 my dad made contact with a cemetery recording project, they advised they had the following information on a  DVD.

ABRAM, Joseph
Buried: Rooidam Military Cemetery, Tempe, District Bloemfontein, Free
State, RSA
Note: Joseph Abram
Son of S Sgt Abram. Died 1908-1913 during occupation of Tempe

The information he was told was taken from a headstone recording done in 1993 by Holden, P and Botha but sadly the information did not lead to a photo of the grave.

Both of us also made contact with The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They advised their responsibility for graves in Rooidam Military Cemetery was limited to the war graves and those of soldiers from the Anglo-Boer War. The cemetery contained many private graves of the soldiers family members but many of the private memorials had deteriorated over time or disappeared and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission did not have records of the civilian burials in Rooidam Military cemetery.

A member of staff kindly visited and checked the private headstones that still existed but was unable to locate any that related to Joseph Bowers Abram which was terribly sad, as it appeared there had been a headstone in 1993.  He went on to advise that many infants appear to have been buried in a plot to the rear left of the central avenue but unfortunately few headstones remain. He sent the photograph of the cemetery below but could not confirm this was where Joseph was actually buried.

Rooidam Military Cemetary

Further images of the cemetery can be found below.


Then in February 2018, when trying to pull together everything I knew into one place to write this story, I decided to do an internet search for ‘the occupation of Tempe’ – I wanted to know why my great grandfather was there and why Tempe was occupied.  I didn’t find the answers to my questions but the search did lead to me discovering four photos of the Tempe memorial which named both my great grandfather and his son.

Tempe memorial

Further images of the Tempe memorial can be found below.

This was  swiftly followed by a church burial record and death entry.

Death entry for Joseph Bowers Abram


Joseph Bowers Abram burial certificate

Armed with the new information I had obtained, I made contact with the South Africa War Graves Project.  They wrote back and advised that a visit to the Rooidam Cemetery had not identified the location of the grave – there are quite a few crosses with no names etc and open patches where you can see there’s a grave but no stone etc.

Updating this story in March 2018, I now believe the chance of locating an individual grave is unlikely – it has been suggested to me that there might have been an individual grave at sometime with or without a headstone. It has also been suggested to me that the graves could have been flattened and the memorial erected and/or the people named on the memorial could be buried at the site of the memorial. Whether we ever find this out remains to be seen – we may never know.

However, finally, the burial certificate shows the place where baby Joseph is buried and whilst the Tempe memorial is not the individual grave dad and I had been searching for, the memorial, clearly names Joseph and his father Staff Sergeant Abram – evidence that the baby who lived for only two short months has not been forgotten.


Many people helped in piecing together the history that appears on this page. Thank you in no particular order and hoping I haven’t missed anyone to Sandy Botha at Bloemfontein Cathedral, Terry Cawood and Glen at the South Africa War Graves Project, the eGGSA library, Cheryl Jacobs on the South African Genealogy Facebook page for providing the links to to the church burial record and the death entry, Riana le Roux, Rod Carkett at the Commonweath War Graves Commission, Rob Palmer at British Military History and the  Ministry of Defence Army Secretariat in Andover.