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He was born in Yorkshire, England, on 3 November 1872, the son of Edmund Herring and schooled in Christchurch, New Zealand. He attended the University of Otago, New Zealand, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, from which he graduated with an Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 1896.
He married Mary Marshall Callender on the 7th April 1905. They had four children. From 1908 until 1948 he held the Chandos Chair of Medicine and Physiology at the Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews, Scotland, during which time he described Herring bodies, in 1908. He also carried out work on Insulin, funded by the Medical Research Council. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1916, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He was Vice-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1934-1937.
He died on 24 October 1967 in St Andrews.