Auberon Herbert (landowner)

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Auberon Mark Yvo Henry Molyneux Herbert[1] (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), who died the year after his birth, and brother-in-law of the famous novelist, Evelyn Waugh. He was named after his great-uncle, the Voluntarist philosopher, and in a gesture of familial reconciliation, the Waughs named their son after him.

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 II. 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[2] groups. A recently released CIA document names a "Mr. Herbert AUBERON of 11 Neville Terrace, London, SW 7" as one of two representatives of the British Conservative Party who met with World War II Ukrainian nationalist leader Yaroslav Stetsko in early 1951.[3]

He opposed Evelyn Waugh's marriage to his sister Laura Herbert, and Waugh never forgave him for this. An unflattering portrayal of a brother-in-law, 'Boy' Mulcaster, featuring some of his characteristics appears in Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited.[4]

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 Park, near Dulverton in Somerset, and the Villa Alta Chiara (an Italian rendering of "Highclere", the English seat of the Earls of Carnarvon) at Portofino in Italy, built by his grandfather the 4th Earl, which featured in Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy. He died a bachelor at the age of 52. Herbert's estate was probated at (GB)£895,722.


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  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2009-01-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ CIA (1952). "Stetsko Meets British Conservative Party Rep Auberon Herbert" (PDF). Independent Workers Party of Chicago. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  4. ^
  • John Jolliffe, ed., Auberon Herbert: A Composite Portrait, Compton Russell, Tisbury, Wilts., 1976.
  • Evelyn Waugh, Volume I: The Early Years: 1903-1939, Martin Stannard, Dent/Norton, London, 1986
  • 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