landowner

Auberon Herbert (landowner)

Auberon Herbert (1922-1974) was a British landowner and advocate of Eastern European causes after World War II.

Herbert was the son of Aubrey Herbert, Member of Parliament (MP), and brother-in-law of the famous novelist, Evelyn Waugh. He opposed Waugh's marriage to his sister, and Waugh never forgave him for this.

Herbert attended Ampleforth College from 1934-1940, as well as Balliol College, Oxford from 1940-42. When World War II broke out he made repeated attempts to serve, being rejected by the British Army, the Free French and the Dutch forces in Britain. He was finally accepted by the Polish forces in Britain. Herbert became an expert in Polish and Ukrainian affairs, and served with the Polish Army during World War Two. He fought throughout the Normandy Campaign. While on a personal mission from Winston Churchill in Belgium, Herbert was arrested in 1944 by Canadian military police in a Ghent bar, on suspicion of being a spy. His eccentric appearance, language proficiency and manner aroused suspicion. He was badly beaten and suffered facial scars thereafter. Herbert spoke six languages fluently. He was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter Parliament. Auberon Herbert supported various Eastern European anticommunist groups after the war. This included work to help resettle Polish refugees. He generously opened his country home to anticommunist East European groups and financed a textile mill to employ Polish exiles. His assistance extended to Ukrainian and Belarusian groups.

A large man with a clumsy, somewhat feminine, manner and eccentric appearance, Herbert was not especially reliable in small things. However he was generous and passionate about several causes. He was a committed, somewhat conservative, Roman Catholic. Despite high intelligence and a circle of distinguished friends (including Isaiah Berlin, and Malcolm Muggeridge), he seemed unable to accomplish as much in his life as he hoped. Being the only son, he inherited the family country home of Pixton, near Exmoor, and the villa at Portofino in Italy. He died a bachelor at the age of 52. Herbert's estate was probated at (GB)£895,722.

References

  • John Jolliffe, ed., Auberon Herbert: A Composite Portrait, Compton Russell, Tisbury, Wilts., 1976.
  • Evelyn Waugh, Volume II: No Abiding City 1939-1966, Martin Stannard, Flamingo, London, 1992
  • Evelyn Waugh, A Biography, Christopher Sykes, Penguin, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, 1977
  • Dictionary of National Biography

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