AWM Negative Number: H04166 Caption: At Sea. 1919-04. AIF officers Lieutenant J.V. Garner (on the left) and Brigadier General Lloyd aboard transport ship SS Shropshire. (Donor W.J. Deane)
Herbert William Lloyd was born in South Yarra, Melbourne on 18 November 1883, the son of a police constable (later sergeant). He was educated at University High School and Wesley College. On 26 June 1902 he joined the Commonwealth Public Service as a clerk in the Treasury Department.
Lloyd was commissioned in the Australian Field artillery as a second lieutenant on 9 July 1906. He was promoted to lieutenant on 2 July 1907. He was appointed militia adjutant of the Australian Field Artillery 1908 and promoted to captain on 16 August 1909. On 31 March 1910, Lloyd quit the Public Service and joined the Permanent Military Forces as a lieutenant. He was promoted to captain again on 1 May 1914.
Lloyd was appointed to the AIF on 18 August 1914 with the rank of captain as adjutant of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, with which he sailed for Egypt in October 1914. He landed at Cape Helles with the 1st Field Artillery Brigade on 4 May 1915, where the brigade came under the command of the British 29th Division. On 9 May 1915, the commander of the 1st Field Artillery Battery, Major H. St J. Sweetland, was evacuated sick and Lloyd took over as battery commander. The battery fired in support of the British until shifted to Anzac in September, Lloyd remaining in command until the evacuation of Gallipoli in December. For his services at Gallipoli, Lloyd was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
Lloyd was Brigade Major of the 2nd Division Artillery from 1 January 1916 to 11 March 1916. In early 1916, the artillery underwent a huge expansion. In preparation for the move to the Western Front, the number of batteries per division was increased from nine to sixteen, while two new divisions (the 4th and 5th) were raised in Egypt. As a consequence, most of the original battery commanders were given brigades to form. Lloyd was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 12 March 1916 and given the new 22nd Field Artillery (Howitzer) Brigade. On 13 April 1916 he took over the 5th Field Artillery Brigade and in February to March 1917 was acting commander of the 2nd Division Artillery. He commanded the artillery in support of the advance column under the command of Brigadier General H. E. Elliott. In May he became acting commander of the 2nd Division Artillery again, operating from the shell torn Noreuil Valley in support of the attacks on Bullecourt. For his services in these battles, Lloyd was made a as made a Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG).
Lloyd took over command of the 6th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade on 28 November 1917 and then then 12th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade in 7 February 1918. As an Army brigade, the 12th came under corps or army control and was moved from division to division as needed. It was therefore a more difficult assignment from a training point of view. Lloyd was credited with turning the 12th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade into an outstanding unit.
On 11 April 1918, the 12th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade was sent forward to assist the Scotts infantry attempting to stem the German advance on the Lys front. Lloyd went forward to Robecq where he found the cottage where the commanders of the Scottish 153rd Infantry Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel L. M. Dyson had his headquarters. Lloyd found the Germans visible from outside. Bullets passing through the cottage walls convinced Lloyd and Dyson that the time had come to leave. Dyson, who was lame, hobbled across the street, tapped on a window and called for his colleague, Brigadier General J. K. Dick-Cunyngham of the Scottish 152nd Infantry Brigade, to get going. Dick-Cunyngham replied that he was coming but did not; before he opened the door, the Germans were in the house. Meanwhile, Lloyd had gone back for Dyson's walking stick. He left Dyson's cottage by the front door as the Germans entered the back. The Germans set up a machine gun outside and men were getting hit but both Dyson and Lloyd made it to safety. His gunners remained in action until the Germans came into view, then limbered up and rode out of town, passing as they did so infantry and gunners detailed by Dyson and Lloyd to defend the canal drawbridges that were now the front line.
On 8 November 1918, Lloyd took over command of the 5th Division Artillery from Brigadier General A. J. Bessell-Browne, who was proceeding to Australia on three months furlough, and was promoted to temporary brigadier general. On 5 December Lloyd took over command of the 1st Division Artillery, holding this post until 24 March 1919. He was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) in the 1919 New Year's List for his services on the Western Front, during which time he had been mentioned in dispatches four times.
Lloyd's appointment to the AIF was terminated on 15 July 1919 and he was posted to Army Headquarters in Melbourne where he was Chief Inspector of Field Artillery from 16 July 1919 to 1 November 1919, Director of Artillery from 2 November 1919 to 31 March 1920, and general staff officer Artillery from 1 April 1920 to 3 September 1920. While serving with the AIF he had been given the brevet rank of major on 1 December 1915. He was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 1 November 1919 and brevet rank of lieutenant colonel on the same day. He was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant colonel on 1 January 1920. He held the honorary rank of brigadier general from 8 November 1918.Lloyd was transport officer for the 1920 visit to Australia of the Prince of Wales (who became King Edward VIII in 1936), for which he was appointed a Companion of the Victorian Order (CVO).
From 4 September 1920 to 31 January 1922, Lloyd attended the Staff College at Quetta, in India (now Pakistan). The first two classes after the war were selected on the basis of war experience rather than entering by examination and were a remarkable group. Some twenty of these entrants had, like Lloyd, been brigadier generals; some 170 had, also like him, been awarded the DSO. Five of them had even gone one better and won the Victoria Cross. Afterwards, Lloyd was posted to 1st Division Headquarters in Sydney from 1 February 1922 to 26 August 1925. Lloyd resigned from the permanent forces on 26 August 1925 and transferred to the militia's unattached list.
Lloyd took up a job with the Vacuum Oil Company (now better known as Mobil) in 1925. In 1929, he was elected as a Nationalist to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Parramatta. He was defeated in the 1930 election but in 1932 won the seat of Mosman as a United Australia Party candidate, holding the seat until he relinquished it in 1941.
From May to July 1940, Lloyd held the civilian post of Director General of Army Recruiting. He was recalled to active duty on 1 August 1940 with the rank of brigadier (although of course he was still an honorary brigadier general) as Deputy Adjutant General at Army Headquarters. He was promoted to temporary major general on 23 October 1940 when he took over command of the 2nd Division. From 25 April to 31 July 1941, he was also Director General of Army Recruiting.
The 2nd Division was sent to Western Australia in 1942, forming part of III Corps, under the command of Lieutenant General H. G. Bennett. Lloyd joined the Second AIF on 15 January 1943 with the rank of colonel and temporary major general. On 22 September 1943, Lloyd was transferred back to Sydney to command the 1st Division, by this time a training formation. On 8 May 1945, Lloyd took over command of the Second Army. General T. A. Blamey recommended Lloyd for an active command, that of the 5th Division, then in action on New Britain, but the War Cabinet ruled that as Lloyd was now 61, the post war Army would be better served by the appointment of a younger officer. The job went to Brigadier K. W. Eather instead.
Lloyd retired on 1 February 1946 as a major general. He became a director of several companies, including Adelaide Steamship. He died on 10 August 1957 and was cremated.
Sources: Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1940-1980, pp. 106-107; Horner, The Gunners, pp. 99, 101; Bean, C. E. W., The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. Volume V: The AIF In France During the German Offensives 1918, pp. 439-442; Grey, Australian Brass, pp. 55, 230
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Last update 18 August 2002