Herbert Victor Stannard Hersee was born in Brockley, Surrey, England in 1897, son of Fred Randolph Hersee and Laura Stannard Young. He was the only hearing son of Deaf parents, who were prominent in the English Deaf Community. His father was a Missioner for the Deaf in North London.
Hersee served as a pilot during the first World War and married Elsie Marion Hammond in 1922. They had three children together; Kenneth born in 1923 and Patricia born in 1927, and a son named John who died in North Sydney in 1934.
He accepted the offer of the Deaf Society to become their ‘Superintendent-Secretary’, and arrived in Sydney on the Euripides with his wife and two small children in April 1928.
Throughout 1928 and early 1929 there were growing tensions between Hersee and the administration of the Deaf Society which finally resulted in Hersee's dismissal on 8 May 1929. On 10 May 1929 Hersee chaired the meeting which resolved to establish the breakaway NSW Association of Deaf and Dumb Citizens, and was immediately employed as its Superintendent and Secretary. He held this position for eight years.
Hersee was also elected the first President of the Australian Association for the Advancement of the Deaf in 1932. This was a national organisation of deaf people, with some hearing supporters, which was active for about five years during the mid-1930s.
After the forced amalgamation of the Deaf Society and NSW Association for Deaf and Dumb Citizens in 1937 Hersee and his family sailed back to England. Hersee’s wife, Elsie, died in London in 1942 at 48 years of age. He remarried in 1944 to Violet Wheeler and lived in England until his death there in 1985.
The Deaf Advocate