William (Bill) David Herr was born in 1914 in Vienna. In 1938 he escaped to England where he lived until less than 12 months later he was arrested as a German alien and classified by the Aliens Tribunal as a 'Refugee from Nazi Oppression.' He was interned and then transported to Australia on the ship Dunera, arriving in Australia on 26 August 1940. The voyage took about eight weeks and Bill endured cramped conditions and small food rations. On the voyage to Australia, the personal effects of many of Bill's colleagues were thrown overboard.
Upon arrival, Bill was taken to Hay internment camp and spent nine months interned there. He was then transferred to Tatura internment camp where he spent another nine months. While at the internment camps Bill spent a great deal of his time mending and adjusting the clothes of the internees and officers. Many of the officers' army uniforms were ill-fitting and they requested their standard uniform be modelled on the American style of uniform. Upon release from Tatura internment camp Bill and his colleagues went fruit picking in the local area for some time before enlisting in the Australian forces and serving their newly adopted country in the latter part of the war. In 1954 Bill anglicized his name, changing it from Wilhelm to William by Deed Poll.
Bill married twice, his first wife being Edith Herzog who had emigrated from Austria to Australia on the ship Renis on 26 September 1939, possibly one of the last Jewish quota entries before entry stopped in 1940. They married in 1943. Bill later married Maria Schlesinger (nee Weiss), and while both unions resulted in no children, he did have two stepchildren, Peter and Judy. His step-daughter observed that Bill was easy to get along with and provided a strong, no nonsense role model.
Bill worked as a production manager on the floor at Ward McKenzie, making sure quotas were met, raw materials came in, products were shipped out and machines were operational.
Bill enjoyed travelling both within Australia and overseas, and enjoyed the company of many friends over the years. He loved bridge, wining and dining, theatre, concerts and was also very happy with his own company. Bill moved to a retirement home in Caulfield when he was 85 and spent his remaining years there until his death in May 2006.