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John Mark Ambrose Herdman
(26 April 1932 - 5 August 2015)
John Mark Ambrose Herdman, CBE, LVO
Former Governor of the British Virgin Islands

John Mark Ambrose Herdman, CBE, LVO was a British diplomat and former Governor of the British Virgin Islands.

Early life and education

John Mark Ambrose Herdman was born on 26 April 1932 in Rhu, Scotland, son of Commander Claud Herdman RN and Joan (nee Tennant) who died in 1936.  He was brought up by his father’s sister in Northern Ireland until his father re-married in 1939.  He was educated at St Edwards School, Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin spending an additional year at Queen’s College, Oxford in preparation for joining Her Majesty’s British Overseas Civil Service.


Mr. Herdman served as a District Officer in Kenya from 1954, later becoming a District Commissioner, until Kenyan independence in 1964.  He then transferred to HM Diplomatic Service and, following a period learning Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies (MECAS) in Shemlan near Beirut, he served in Jordan.  He continued his career with postings to Zambia, Saudi Arabia and Malawi.  He was Deputy Governor in Bermuda from 1983 to 1986 and then Governor of the British Virgin Islands from 1986 to 1991. He spent time with the EU Peace Monitoring Mission in Yugoslavia in 1992 before his retirement later that year.  

Honours and awards

He was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by HM The Queen in 1979, during her visit to Malawi, and awarded the CBE in 1990.

Personal life

He married Elizabeth (Betsy) Dillon in 1963. He was the father of a son, Patrick, and two daughters, Deirdre and Bridget.  He also had four grandchildren.

Herdman had a keen interest in gardening, fishing and philately and enjoyed watching cricket – he was a member of Surrey County Cricket Club for a number of years.   He returned to the north west of Scotland several times in his later years to fish the lochs for brown trout, very successfully once catching a large Salmon instead.


Herdman died peacefully at his home in Surrey on 5 August 2015.  His body was laid to rest on 25 August 2015 after a service at St Mary’s Church Worplesdon Guildford Surrey.

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John Mark Ambrose Herdman
Occupation Diplomat
Date of Birth 26 April 1932
Place of Birth Rhu, Scotland
Date of Death 5 August 2015
Place of Death Surrey, UK
Notable Accomplishments
Governor of the British Virgin Islands: 1986 - 1991
British Virgin Islands
Governors of the British Virgin Islands

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