b. 26/10/1888 Tottenham, London. d. 10/08/1966 Weybridge, Surrey.
Alfred Cecil Herring (1888-1966) was born in Tottenham, Middlesex on 26th October 1888, the son of George Edward and Cecilia Emily Herring (nee Lewis). He was educated at Tottenham County School and was captain of cricket and football. He chose accountancy as a career and served his articles with D.S. Fripp, passing his final examinations in December 1912.
He joined the Army on 10th December 1914, as a Paymaster, and served in Chatham from 1914-1916. He joined the Army Service Corps as a Temporary Second Lieutenant and served with them for a year in France between November 1916 and November 1917. He was then attached to the 6th (Service) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.
On 23/24 March 1918 at Montagne Bridge, France, the enemy had gained a position on the south bank of the canal and Second Lieutenant Herring’s post was surrounded, but he immediately counter-attacked and recaptured the position, together with 20 prisoners and six machine-guns. During the night the post was continually attacked, but all attacks were beaten off, largely because Lieutenant Herring was frequently visiting his men and cheering them up. It was owing to his bravery and magnificent handling of his troops that the enemy advance was held up for 11 hours at a very critical period.
After the action, he was taken prisoner and as interned at Graudanz Camp, West Prussia. Some accounts state that he was presented with the VC by the German Commandant of the Camp. Although the award was gazetted on 7th June 1918, he did not receive the news for several weeks. He was later presented to the Kaiser, who congratulated him on a very fine fight. He had been promoted to Temporary Lieutenant, Royal Army Service Corps on 26th April 1918.
On 23rd December 1918 he returned to England and on 27th January 1919 he was promoted to Major and served as Group Accountant with the Cost Accounting Committee. He was presented with the VC by King George V on 15th February 1919, and resigned his commission and left the Army in 1922, becoming a partner in the firm of Evans Fripp Deed & Co. In May 1925 he became a member of the Stock Exchange and was a partner in a stockbroking firm from 1925 to 1961.
While working between the wars, he lived in Fox Lane, Palmer’s Green. In February 1922, he married Miss Winifred Frankland at St Barnabas Church, North Dulwich, and they had four children. He was an active golfer and having been captain of football and cricket at school he later captained the Old Boys’ Football Club. He attended a couple of VC events during the 1920s and the 1956 VC Centenary in Hyde Park. He held a number of directorships, including one with the Austin Motor Company.
Alfred died on 10th August 1966 in the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey, where he was living at the time. He was cremated at Woking Crematorium, and his ashes were scattered in the Chaucer South Area of the Vase Garden. In his will, he left £82,681 gross, a sum which made him one of the most financially successful of all the 1918 VCs. His medals were donated to the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, Camberley, Surrey.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL LOGISTICS CORPS MUSEUM, CAMBERLEY, SURREY.
BURIAL PLACE: WOKING CREMATORIUM, WOKING, SURREY. ASHES SCATTERED.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Herring VC Medal Group at the RLC Museum, Camberley.
Brian Drummond – Image of the Freemason’s Memorial, London.
Steve Lee www.memorialstovalour.co.uk – Image of the VCGCA Memorial, Woking Crematorium.