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The webpage below is a recent (2006) addendum to the Trealaw Cemetery webpage first shown on my website in 1997.


Tommy Farr

Tommy Farr 1913-1986

Colour photography by John Ball - 12th December 1997
(with Agfa ePhoto-307 digital camera)

I researched the life of Tommy Farr back in November 1997 for a lady whose family was distantly related to the FARR family. I've summarised below the salient features of this famous Welshman's life:

Thomas ("Tommy") George Paul FARR was born March 12, 1913 at his family home - 3 Railway Terrace, Clydach Vale, Tonypandy, Rhondda, Glamorgan, South Wales. He was the son of George FARR, of Cork, Ireland, and Sarah (or Sarah Ann) OWEN. In 1920, the FARR family moved to a bigger house at 59 Court Street, also in Clydach Vale.
Tommy had three brothers and four sisters: John, Douglas, Richard, Phyllis, Elizabeth Ellen, Sally, and Doreen.

Farr graveTommy's mother died May 10, 1922, following acute bronchitis and heart problems. Tommy was then just nine years old. According to Lonkhurst (1997), she was 39 when she died - but Tommy himself (Farr, 1989) says she was 32. Her gravestone inscription (see right) states that she was 39.

The Louis-Farr Fight
At 3:00 am on 31st August 1937, hundreds of Welshmen were glued to their wireless sets to listen to a live commentary on the fight between Tommy Farr and American World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis, the "Brown Bomber", at the Yankee Stadium in New York. At the Cambrian Colliery, Rhondda, where Farr once worked, they changed the shift times especially for the occasion, and loudspeakers were set up in public halls.
Farr fought bravely, his face smeared in blood, to hold on for fifteen rounds and, to the delight of his fans at home, Louis failed to bring Farr down. Louis however won on points. Farr was one of only three of Joe Louis's 26 title victims to last the distance, and he became a British sporting hero.
You can hear part of the original radio commentary on the Louis-Farr fight by going to the BBC Wales on Air webpage.

Tommy Farr relinquished his British titles in 1938 to continue fighting in the United States.

According to Lonkhurst (1997), Tommy married Muriel Montgomery Germon on 1st November 1939, though the marriage didn't become public knowledge until three years later, by which time the couple already had two children. Tommy's wife was known professionally as Carol Montgomery (she was a fashion model), and by her friends as "Monty". She was originally from British Columbia, but had recently been living in Devon. She was one of Britain's best show-jumpers and also a qualified pilot. The marriage lasted until Tommy's death.Farr grave

Tommy retired in 1940, but made a comeback in 1951, then retired again in 1953 to write a boxing column for a national newspaper. He is said to have fought 125 professional fights, of which he won 80, drew 13, and lost 30 (two were undecided).

Tommy died of liver cancer at his home in Sussex on St David's Day (1st March) 1986 in his 73rd year. He was cremated, and his ashes were buried in his parents' grave at Trealaw Cemetery, Tonypandy. The grave boasts an impressive monument, paid for by Tommy for his parents.

Tommy's wife Monty outlived him by 16 years; she died 3rd November 2002 and is buried with Tommy.

John Ball
February 2006 (updated 23 May 2010 and 8 August 2012)

Sources:
  1. FARR, Tommy (1989) Thus Farr, published posthumously by Optomen Press and W H Allen & Co.; ISBN 1-85227-0179
  2. LONKHURST, Bob (1997) Man of Courage - the life and career of Tommy Farr, published by The Book Guild Ltd.; ISBN 1-85776-167-7
  3. JONES, Gareth (2010) Personal e-mail correspondence dated 23 and 24 May 2010.

Follow-up research
In July 2007, I received an e-mail from Clive Gardener, part of which is reproduced below:

I noticed on your Trealaw Cemetery feature about Tommy Farr that there were some genealogical questions still remaining unanswered. This attracted my interest and so I have made time to slot in a little extra detective research work in-between doing various research on other historical projects.
The General Register Office Deaths indexes show:-
JUNE 1922 Sarah A. Farr 39 Pontypridd 11a 625
JUNE 1932 George Farr 56 Pontypridd 11a 587
1986 Thomas George Farr born 12 Mar 1914 [sic] Worthing 0386 18 2663
The GRO Births indexes show:-
JUNE 1913 Thomas G. Farr (mother's maiden surname Owen') Pontypridd 11a 1375

Acknowledgements
To Clive Gardener for sharing the results of his research. Clive has a website at www.secret-bottletop.com.
To Gareth Jones for providing details of Tommy Farr's marriage.
To 'Annette' for providing details of the death of Tommy's wife, Monty.

Return to page 1 of this Trealaw Cemetery feature.

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Details of each website feature (for newcomers) Direct links to each website feature (for regulars) Advance news of new developments on my website Summary of all the latest updates Gateway to Welsh Family History Archive Help for those having problems accessing my website A link to the main 'gateway' page to my entire website