Farr is probably derived from the Middle English farre, meaning bull. An alternative origin could be from the south-west France name Farre (thanks to Eve Farr for this). In 1881 the majority of Farrs lived in the Hereford, Luton and Stevenage registration districts, followed by Swindon.
The Farrs originated from Wiltshire, mostly from North Bradley near Trowbridge, before my grandfather moved down to Dorset. As with many other families in the north Wiltshire area in the 19th century, the Farrs were largely workers in the textile (wool) industry that thrived there in competition with mills in northern England. This had begun in the 13th century, and although increasing mechanisation sent the local industry into decline in the late 19th century, there is still a proud tradition of cloth-making in the town. As with many in the 19th century, the Farrs were large families, and some migrated to USA where they added to an already substantial Farr population.
My father, Alan (he was christened Robert Alan), was one of five brothers. Like Leslie, Philip and Donald he joined the Army (in 1942) after 2 years in the Home Guard where father Harry was serving. Alan joined apparently because he wanted to be with his older brother Donald. Sadly Donald was killed in Italy in 1944 (see here for a short account of Don's military career). Alan, as a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Hampshire Regiment was in action in North Africa and involved in the Sicily landings, and later was in one of the first landings of the D-Day invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord), coming ashore on Gold Beach (Arromanches). Alan’s service record can be found here. Philip (9th Lancers) and Leslie (10th Hussars) were involved in the British Expeditionary Force to France in 1939/1940, and after evacuation saw action in Italy before being sent to join the Eighth Army in North Africa, taking part in the Battle of El Alamein. Philip was badly wounded there when his tank was hit by a German shell. Youngest brother Cyril was not called up, being only 19 at the end of the war.
My father, Alan Farr
Henry James Farr
George Farr and Mary Willis
Landing craft on Gold Beach, D-Day 6 Jun 19441
1 Imperial War Museum
Leslie James Farr
Phillip Everard Farr
Donald George Farr
Alan Robert Farr