Captain Edmund Francis (Ned) Herring

Service Number VX15
Birth Date 02 September 1892
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Maryborough
Death Date 05 January 1982
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Final Rank Captain
Units
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 18 May 1916 on page 1161 at position 9
London Gazette 24 February 1916 on page 2067 at position 2

Edmund Herring, one of the most renowned Australian senior officers in the Second World War, was born on 2 September 1892 at Maryborough, Victoria. He attended Melbourne Grammar School, becoming dux and winning a scholarship to Melbourne University. Further academic success followed and Herring was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1912.

Herring was a member of the Officers' Training Corps at Oxford when the First World War began. He was commissioned into Britain's Royal Field Artillery and served in France and Macedonia, earning the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross. He returned to Oxford after the war to complete his law degree. Having done so, he returned to Melbourne, married, and worked as a barrister, establishing a successful practice. In 1936 he became a King's Counsel.

At the same time, Herring continued military service with the militia. Widely regarded for his ability to maintain cordial relations with military personnel and civilians alike, Herring was a friend and supporter of Thomas Blamey. He returned to full-time military service in 1939 as commander of the 6th Division's artillery under General Blamey and saw action in North Africa and Greece. In March 1941, back in Australia and by now a major general, Herring, despite his previous support for Blamey, took part in an attempt to prevent the latter's appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces. This attempt failed. Despite his opposition to Blamey's appointment, Herring was nevertheless appointed as Commander of the newly established Northern Territory Force.

In September 1942 Herring succeeded Lieutenant General Sydney Rowell as commander of New Guinea Force. It was his first operational command of a formation and - his participation in the 1941 protest notwithstanding - Herring had come to be considered a loyal lieutenant by Blamey. In 1943, having added the 1st Australian Corps to his command, Herring was created a Knight Commander of the British Empire.

After the war, Herring was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria and held the position for a record 27 years, retiring at the age of 80 in 1972. As a public figure and as an Army officer, Herring's life was marked by bouts of controversy. Considered by some to have performed poorly in New Guinea in 1942-43, Herring's wartime command caused some disquiet in 1978 when his confirmation of the death penalty against Papuans convicted of turning Anglican missionaries over to the Japanese became public.

Herring served for twenty years as Victoria's Chief Justice, earning a reputation as a good judge and able administrator. An active member of the Church of England, he was also Chancellor of the Diocese of Melbourne, the highest church office open to a layman. At the same time, he spent 23 years as President of the Boy Scouts' Association of Victoria; he also became President of the Australian Boy Scouts' Association.

Herring died in Melbourne on 5 January 1982.

Collection items

Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Unit
    6 Div CRA
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Brigadier
    London Gazette
    8 July 1941 on page 3882 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Temporary Lieutenant General
    London Gazette
    28 May 1943 on page 2373 at position 3
    Commonwealth Gazette
    3 June 1943 on page 1150 at position 9
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Greek War Cross, First Class
    Classification
    Greek awards and medals
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Temporary Major General
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 November 1944 on page 2607 at position 22
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    United States Distinguished Service Cross
    Classification
    United States awards and medals
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Lieutenant General
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 November 1944 on page 2607 at position 35
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    French Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, Fifth Class
    Classification
    French Legion d'Honneur
    Unit
    13th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
    London Gazette
    24 February 1916 on page 2067 at position 2
    Commonwealth Gazette
    18 May 1916 on page 1161 at position 9
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Greek Military Cross, Class A
    Classification
    Greek awards and medals
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945

Timeline

Date of birth 1892-09-02 Maryborough, VIC.
Other 1912 Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1914 Commissioned into Britain's Royal Field Artillery and served in the Balkans, recieving the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross.
Date of honour or award 1916-02-04 Gazetted French Legion of Honour - 5th Class Chevalier.
Other 1918 Returned to Oxford to finish his law degree. Herring later returned to Melbourne.
Other 1936 Became a King's Counsel.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1939-10-11 Returned to full military service as commander of the 6th Division's artillery, seeing action in North Africa and Greece.
Date returned to Australia 1941 Returned with the rank of major general.
Date of honour or award 1941-07-08 Gazetted Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1941-08-14 - 1942-04-30 Appointed officer commanding 6th Division AIF.
Other units 1942-09 Succeeded lieutenant general Sydney Rowell as commander of New Guinea force.
Other units 1943 Added 1st Australian Corps to his command.
Date of honour or award 1943-05-28 Gazetted Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).
Other 1944-02-02 - 1964-09-01 Appointed Chief Justice to the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Date of honour or award 1944-11-23 Gazetted Greece War Cross - First Class and US Distinguished Service Cross.
Other 1945 - 1972 Appointed Lieutenant Governor of Victoria.
Date of honour or award 1949 Knight Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG).
Date of death 1982-01-05 Melbourne, VIC.

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