Eric Solomon HERMAN

HERMAN, Eric Solomon

Service Numbers: 1770, N334078
Enlisted: 7 January 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 7th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales , 28 September 1892
Home Town: St Kilda East, Port Phillip, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Presser
Died: Natural Causes, Bexley, Sydney, New South Wales, 1976
Cemetery: Woronora Memorial Park, Sutherland, New South Wales
Crematorium Gardens
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World War 1 Service

7 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Melbourne, Victoria
14 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1770, 7th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Wiltshire embarkation_ship_number: A18 public_note: ''

14 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1770, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wiltshire, Melbourne

World War 2 Service

1 Apr 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant, N334078

Help us honour Eric Solomon Herman's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Eric was the youngest of 6 children born into a Jewish family. His mother Katie had emigrated from America, his father Abraham was Polish. They ran a store in Hay NSW and later settled in Melbourne.

Abraham travelled to South Africa at the end of the Boer War seeking riches, but died there of Blackwater Fever. The family were left very poor. Katie tried to make a living by teaching music and singing. Her children were taught also, Eric sang.

Eric enlisted 7 January 1915, he allocated 3/5s of his pay, the same amount the soldiers were expected to allocate to a wife if they had one, to be sent to his mother, he may have enlisted in order to support her. He was accepted into the 4th Reinforcements to 7th Battalion. They trained at Broadmeadows Camp. The AWM holds a series of photos taken at Broadmeadows of this group on the day they embarked the A18 Wiltshire, 14/4/1915. Eric is recognisable in two of these photos. They travelled to Egypt and trained at Mena Camp, before landing at Gallipoli at about 4 pm on 26 May. 124 men landed, 2 were wounded getting ashore.

Eric was posted to 'B" Company under Lt Frederick Tubb. "B" Company went into the firing line that night. The best account of what Eric went through over the coming months can be found in the detailed diaries kept by Tubb, which have been recently digitised by the AWM. 

Then came the August Offensive and the Battle for Lone Pine. 

This was the scene of some of the most vicious fighting on Gallipoli, much of the fighting at close quarters, in the dark and with many bomb throwing duels. 

Eric’s battalion bore the brunt of the most savage counter attacks and 4 VC’s were awarded to his Battalion for this battle. Eric’s B Co had been in the line assisting nearby prior to 7 Bn going into Lone Pine. They were then held in reserve at Brown’s Dip. At about 5 am, 9 August, the situation was so desperate, that a platoon of 7Bn ‘B’ Company was called for, the rest of the Compny followed. Eric went in. They held against all odds. 3 Men from that Company were awarded the Victoria Cross for this battle. They were Lt Tubb and Cpls Burton and Symonds. The Company strength at that time was about 140 men. 

During this battle, he was wounded, ankle broken and buried alive by bomb or shell whilst resisting Turkish counter attacks on the newly taken roofed in trenches. He was dug out, being the only survivor in his section of trench. He was evacuated to Lemnos, then Alexandria, where he healed and recovered. His foot though, stuck out at 90 degrees to where it should, so the doctors re-broke his ankle and had another go. 

He was sent to France, on the Somme, fortunately with the 4th Division HQ contingent, his injuries had left him unfit for the front lines, he stayed with this unit for the duration of the War. In 1916 Katie, received news that Eric had been wounded again, but he had been confused with another man in the 4th Battalion with the same surname and service number! The mess took months to sort out!

His brother, Joseph joined him in 4th Div HQ from 8th Battalion, it is believed that Eric 'claimed his brother' into his new unit. Eric and Joseph spent about 4 weeks in Vignacourt, (recently made famous by the find of "The Lost Digger' photographic plates) in late 1916 to early 1917.

In an interesting coincidence, a LCpl Horace Bair, an 8th Bn Gallipoli first day lander, transfered to 4th Div HQ for a short time, at about this time before being sent home unfit. His Neice Susan Bair became Eric's second wife, many years later. Noone ever knew the connection.

The AWM holds a group photo of the 4th Div HQ Contingent outside Allonville Chateau, near Amiens, taken 31 May 1918. Eric and Joseph are featured.

Another brother, Albert was in the 4th Field Ambulance. 

He said, the worst thing about Gallipoli was the filth. He did not talk much about his experiences, but had some great jokes that he told. 

For the rest of his long life, he would douse his food in Lea & Perrins Sauce. He could cope with the bad food during the War by doing this. At the 4th Division HQ offices, he would sit on a back step, awaiting the odd delicacy, meant for the Officers, to be rolled down the slope to him by a mate in the kitchen. 

On leave in London, walking by the Thames, he and a mate were abused and threatened by an irate British officer for not saluting! They picked him up, threw him in the river and ran like hell! 

During WW2, Eric served part time in the Volunteer Defence Corp. He was a Lieutenant and highly regarded by his CO and the men.

Eric and his wife Sue had 3 daughters and 8 Grandchildren

Eric lived to 86 years of age. He was a wonderful man, loved and revered by his family and all who knew him.

WW1 Trio & ASM 1939 - 45