ALAN PATRICK HERBERT (MP)

Petty Officer in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Patrol

Summary 

A.P Herbert was an highly intelligent man and was one of the only MP's who signed up to fight in the war

Place and date of birth

1890

Connection to Southend 

Story

Alan Patrick Herbert (1890–1971), was born on 24 September 1890 at Ashtead Lodge, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Surrey, the eldest of the three sons of Patrick Herbert Coghlan Herbert (1849–1915) of Ashtead Lodge, an Irish civil servant at the India Office.

English novelist, playwright, poet, and politician, author of more than 50 books, famous for his witty championing of minority causes. Went to school at Winchester College and then read Law at New College, Oxford.

He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as an ordinary seaman after the outbreak of World War I, later serving as an officer with the Royal Naval Division. He fought in the Gallipoli campaign and on the Western Front, becoming his battalion's adjutant in 1917, following which he was injured and did not return to the frontline before the end of the war.

APH (as he referred to himself) was an independent member of Parliament for Oxford University between 1935 and 1950 (when the university seats were abolished) - he introduced the matrimonial causes bill (enacted in 1937), which radically amended English divorce laws.

He enlisted in the River Emergency Service in 1938 and served in World War II as a Petty Officer in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Patrol.

During the Second World War, Herbert was the only non-commissioned officer in the House of Commons and wore his uniform on any and every occasion during the war years. He turned down efforts to persuade him to apply for a commission, despite once appearing before a selection board against his will. He also turned down the offer of a role in Churchill's war cabinet when asked, saying "No, thank you, sir. I'm quite happy where I am.”

Main image courtesy of Dean Trotter

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