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.
Henry can be seen in the photo below, taken at Windsor in 1909. He would have been 22 at the time.
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.
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.
Further information about the Durham Light Infantry and about Durham during the war can be found below.