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Herrod, Ernest Edward (1885–1966)

by R. E. Cowley

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Ernest Edward Herrod (1885-1966), soldier, draper and agriculturist, was born on 21 June 1885 at Redfern, Sydney, son of Edward Herrod, French polisher and cabinet-maker, and his wife Alice Maud Mary, née Moore, both of whom were born in New South Wales. Educated at Redfern Superior Public School and Sydney Boys' High School, he became a draper and later a warehouseman.

Herrod began his military career in the militia in the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, joining as a trooper in 1905; he was promoted corporal in 1909 and sergeant in 1911. In 1913 he transferred to the 25th Signal Company, Australian Engineers, as a lieutenant and on 17 August 1914 enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. On 29 August at St Patrick's Catholic Church, Parramatta, he married Kathleen Elizabeth Regan, a milliner. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as the battalion signals officer and was promoted lieutenant that day. He served at Lone Pine and was appointed officer commanding 'A' Company in August and promoted captain in September. From May to August he worked as a signaller, an intelligence officer and the battalion's assistant adjutant. He was evacuated sick from Anzac, suffering from jaundice and colitis, on 8 December and rejoined his unit in Egypt on 6 March 1916.

Herrod embarked for the Western Front two weeks later and was to take part in all the 2nd Battalion's major operations in France and Belgium up to May 1917. In the battle of Pozières in July 1916 he was responsible for the capture of the German concrete stronghold and observation post, known by the Australians as 'Gibraltar'. Next month, while still commanding 'A' Company, he fought at Mouquet Farm on the Somme where the 2nd Battalion spent the winter of 1916-17. He was promoted major in October 1916 and in 1917 took part in the capture of Hermies and the battle of Bullecourt.

On 10 May 1917 Herrod was appointed to command the 7th Battalion as a temporary lieutenant-colonel. His rank was confirmed in August and he commanded this battalion for the rest of the war, seeing action in some of the worst fighting in which Australians were involved. In September-October the 7th fought in the 3rd battle of Ypres, at Polygon Wood and Broodseinde, and it was the first battalion to move into position in front of Hazebrouck, initially taking over the whole of the 1st Division's front before the battle of the Lys. After operations at Strazeele in June Herrod took part in the battle of Amiens at Lihons, St Martin's Wood and Herleville in August. At Bellicourt on the Hindenburg line he was attached to the Australian mission appointed as advisers to the American Army. He described the period from April to October 1918 as one of particular interest because he was able to observe 'the process of stopping the enemy's vigorous offensive, gradually turning that offensive into defence, then to a retreat and finally to a rout'.

Known by his men as 'Dad' and constantly concerned for their welfare, Herrod was cool and resourceful in battle. An exemplary battalion commander, he was appointed C.M.G. and awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his work in France and Belgium and was mentioned in dispatches four times; he also received the Serbian Order of the White Eagle. After demobilization he resumed service in the citizen forces and in 1921-26 commanded the 45th Battalion; in 1926 he was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration. In civilian life he achieved prominence in various agricultural pursuits, including fruit-growing and poultry-farming. In 1931 he was elected to the Royal Agricultural Society council and in 1945 became a vice-president. He was also for a time the general secretary of the Fruitgrowers' Association of New South Wales. During World War II he held several A.I.F. staff appointments in Australia; he was placed on the retired list, Australian Military Forces, as an honorary colonel in 1947. Survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, he died on 7 June 1966 at Quaker's Hill, New South Wales, and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1916-18 (Syd, 1929, 1933, 1937, 1942)
  • A. Dean and E. W. Gutteridge, The Seventh Battalion A.I.F. (Melb, 1933)
  • F. W. Taylor and T. A. Cusack, Nulli Secundus: A History of the 2nd Battalion A.I.F., 1914-19 (Syd, 1942)
  • London Gazette, 2 Jan, 13 Feb, 25, 28 Dec 1917, 28 May, 31 Dec 1918, 1 Jan 1919
  • Town and Country Journal, 15 Jan 1919
  • Reveille (Sydney), Mar, June 1930, Feb, Mar 1931, Dec 1932, Sept 1943
  • E. E. Herrod file (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

R. E. Cowley, 'Herrod, Ernest Edward (1885–1966)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/herrod-ernest-edward-6652/text11463, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 17 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

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