|Source||CWGC Archive, P 720 Pt. 1, Appointment of Sir Herbert Hart, 7/1/1936 - 24/7/1936; CWGC Archive, P 720 Pt. 2, Brig. Gen. Sir Herbert Hart, 30/4/1936 - 26/3/1946; P. Longworth, 'The Unending Vigil' (Barnsley: Pen and Sword Ltd., 2003), Herbert Ernest Hart in the New Zealand, Who's Who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific, 1908, 1925, 1938. Accessed via Ancestry UK website; Sir Herbert Ernest Hart in the Australia and New Zealand, Find A Grave Index, 1800s-Current. Accessed via Ancestry UK website.|
|Biographical Note||Brigadier-General Sir Herbert Ernest Hart KBE CB CMG DSO VD was the Imperial War Graves Commission's Deputy Controller/Chief Administrative Officer in Eastern District (succeeding Colonel Hughes), 1936-1943, and Assistant Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries in the Middle East, 1940-1942|
Born in New Zealand on 13 October 1882, Herbert Ernest Hart was a solicitor and barrister by profession. He married Minnie Renall in 1903, with whom he had a son and two daughters.
Hart served in the South African War (1900-02) and received the Queen’s Medal with 2 clasps. In 1912, he was with the Wellington Regiment. During the First World War, he served in the Dardanelles and France and was promoted to command of a battalion in 1915 and to brigade command of 2nd Infantry Brigade, New Zealand forces in 1917. Hart was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO, 1915), Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG, 1917), the Order of the Bath (CB) and the Croix de Guerre in 1919. Hart was placed on the Retired List in 1930.
From 1931 to 1935, he was Administrator of Western Samoa, receiving the status of Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in the latter year.
He was appointed as the Deputy Controller (Chief Administrative Officer) of Eastern District on 22 May 1936, aged 53. The Eastern District, headquartered in Jerusalem, was comprised of Egypt, Palestine, Salonika, Gallipoli, Iraq and Iran. Hart was responsible for the supervision over the structural and horticultural maintenance of the Commission’s war cemeteries and memorials in the Middle East after the First World War. The appointment occurred as a result of the Commission’s decision that the post be held by an Australian or a New Zealander, due to the particular association of these two Dominions with these fields of operations during the First World War.
Sir Herbert Hart's notebooks, now held in the Commission’s Archive in Maidenhead, record his visits to Gallipoli and Macedonia in 1938-1939 and in Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Palestine and Syria in 1938-1939, with hand-drawn cemetery plans.
Hart took home leave in New Zealand from October 1939 until March 1940, when he returned to resume the duties in the Middle East. Presumably, his appointment of the unpaid acting rank of Brigadier in July 1940 allowed Hart to assume spot of Assistant Director, Graves Registration and Enquiries, GHQ, Middle East in Cairo; a position he held from 1940-1942 simultaneously with his post as Deputy Controller with the Commission.
By early 1942, four graves units in the Western Desert, two in Sudan and others covered Palestine, Syria, Persia and Iraq, all under the command of Hart, with assistance from Lt-Col George H. Peek and Lt-Col Andrew Forest Menzies. Hart left the Graves Registration Service in 1942 and later, the Commission, at the end of 1943. In March 1946, as a result of his military service, Hart received the Africa Star and Defence Medal.
Brigadier-General Sir Herbert Hart died on 5 March 1968 in New Zealand. He is buried in Archer Street Cemetery, Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand.