Herbert was born in Heaton Mersey in about 1897. His father, Henry, was a plumber and, when the census was taken in 1901, was aged 39. His wife, Louisa, was also 39. The family was living at 20 Beech Road, Heaton Norris and Herbert, then 4, was the youngest of seven children. His older siblings were Arthur (17), Bertha (16), Harry (15), Annie (13), Colin (9) and Minnie (7).
Herbert worked in Manchester as a clerk for J Fernley & Co., until he enlisted into the army in early 1916. He was home on leave in the July and, around this time, Colin Campbell was wounded in action.
On 21 August 1917, Herbert and his comrades moved into assembly positions at Frezenberg (to the east of the Belgian town of Ypres - now Ieper), ready for an attack early the next morning. This was the third week of the Third Battle of Ypres (often called Passchendaele). Their objectives were German held positions known to the British as "Beck House" and "Iberian Trench". These strongholds had been attacked a few days before by a Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The Fusiliers attack had been repulsed with many casualties. It was not a good omen.
The men "went over the top" at 4.45am, crossing No Man's Land. By 7.30, all the troops had again been repulsed, except for "B" Company which had met with little resistance. These men passed between Iberian Trench and Beck House and then found themselves cut off.
By 7.45, the Seaforths were back in their original trench (except, of course, those with "B" Company - although some had managed to make their escape). All attention was now directed to preparing for an enemy counter-attack. Many men became casualties of accurate German sniper fire and, in the evening, the artillery shelling became heavy, but no attack developed.
124 Seaforths had been killed during the day. It was too dangerous to recover those who had been killed in No Man's Land. In the weeks to come, as the front moved forward, it became safe but, by then, many bodies had been buried by shellfire or could no longer be identified. Herbert has no known grave and his name is commemorated nearby on the Memorial to the Missing.
When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Henry and Louisa were living at 4 Greenbank Avenue, Heaton Mersey.