Henry George Farmer was born in Birr Barracks on 17 January 1882 and was later baptised in the Garrison Church. He was the son of Sergeant Henry George Farmer and Mary Anne Farmer (nee Moore), Depot, Leinster Regiment.
Henry had three siblings, Martha Mary who was born in London and sadly a brother and sister who died in infancy, both of whom were interred in Birr Military Cemetery.
Henry was an accomplished musician at a young age. He joined the Royal Artillery, at Birr as a ‘boy soldier’ just a month and ten days after his 14 birthday on 27 February 1896. Upon joining he was recorded as being four foot and six and a half inches tall. He has brown eyes and light brown hair. Initially he played the violin and clarinet, but took private lessons on the horn.
Throughout his life Henry was also a prolific writer, his first published piece was a ‘Sketch of the Leinster Regiment’ which appeared in the King’s County Chronicle in 1901, in this he outlined the history and origins of this famous Irish regiment. Farmer’s next publication in 1904 was a far more substantial ‘Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band: its origin, history and progress.'
Henry left the Royal Artillery Band in November 1911 due to medical reasons. Soon afterwards he took up a job as a musical director in the Broadway Theatre, New Cross, London. Later in 1914 he was offered musical directorship of the Coliseum Theatre in Glasgow but soon transferred to the Empire Theatre also in Glasgow. He remained there for 33 years.
During this time he become an external student at the University of Glasgow, later becoming a postgraduate there and completing his master’s degree and PhD. Farmer’s doctorate thesis, which he completed in 1926 was ‘A musical history of the Arabs’. Other music interests of Henry were Irish and Scottish music, which saw a publication in 1947 ‘A history of music in Scotland’.
Henry Farmer married Amy Maud Jackson in 1904. He died at the age of 83 in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.