William Alfred Herbert Jnr
(1875 - 1963)
William Alfred Herbert Jnr was born on 6th October 1875 Ďabove the shopí at 319, Grays Inn Road, and was educated at Dame Alice Owens School, Sadlerís Wells.
He left school aged 14, a reference by the headmaster dated 24th September 1889 stating that "his conduct has always been very satisfactory".
By 1890 aged 15 he had joined the London Rifle Brigade Cadet Corps, and he remained a member until at least 1894. He was an excellent shot.
After school he attended The Technical College, Finsbury. His report of 28th March 1892 gave him only 17% in Physics, a result the teacher commented upon as "Exceedingly Feeble: Must take Notes" - underlined in red.
He joined his father in the business around 1893, and was apprenticed to his uncle George Herbert of the Joiners Company in 1897.
Although at the start of WW1 he was already nearly 40, he enlisted in the RNVR Anti-Aircraft Division on January 25th 1915. He was serving as an Able Seaman on H. M. S. President, a naval base in London, when he met his wife-to-be whilst in charge of a battery on Parliament Hill.
After postings in and around London, he received a bad injury in a fall of 30 to 60 ft between the decks of a ship and was invalided out. However he managed to re-enlist in the armed forces, and in early 1918 joined the RNAS at Dunkirk, which became the RAF on its formation on 1st April 1918. William retained his pre-RAF rank as Captain, a practice which officially ended on 15th September 1919. He married Elizabeth Florence Lewis on 22nd September 1921.
As well as being a member of the Joiners Company, he was also a Cutler, and became Master of the Cutlers Company in 1935.
His father, WAH Snr, hung on to control of the Kings Cross business until a year before his death at the age of 92 in 1936, so WAH Jnr was already over 60 when he and his younger brother Tom took over the reins. This part of the business did not prosper through WWII, and finally in 1948 the two brothers sold out to their cousins. When he retired he was one of the last master scale makers in London. He died on 9th Feb 1963 in Ramsgate, and his obituary in the City Press said 'He will be best remembered for his forthright manner and his dogged reliability. "A typically John Bull character" was the way a close friend summed him up'.