b. 02/10/1878 Shimla, India. d. 25/01/1917 Kut, Mesopotamia.
Edward Elers Delavel Henderson (1878-1917) was born in Simla, India, on 2nd October 1878, the son of Major-General P.D. Henderson CSI, formerly of the Madras Cavalry. Edward was educated at St Paul’s School, London, and began his career as a tea planter in India. However, his ambition was to be a soldier and he joined the 5th (Militia) Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment in May 1900, before moving to the West India Regiment as a Second Lieutenant on 13th December. He served in West Africa, taking part in minor operations against the forces of Bida and Kontagoro, for which hee was awarded an African Service Medal with clasp. He was promoted to Lieutenant in February 1902 and continued to serve in West Africa (northern Nigeria) and this time was awarded a clasp for taking part in the operations at Arungu. In the following year, he took part in the Kano-Sokoto Campaign in northern Nigeria, for which he was awarded a further African Service Medal (clasp). From July 1905 to February 1907 he served for nineteen months with his regiment in Jamaica.
On 20th May 1908 Henderson was transferred to the North Staffordshire Regiment on the disbandment of the West India Regiment and promoted to Captain on 17th March 1909. In total he served in the West African Frontier Force for about nine and a half years. He then continued his service with the 2nd North Staffordshire in India.
Henderson married in 1910 and was back in England with the 3rd Battalion in 1914. He later served in the Great War with the newly formed 7th North Staffordshire, 39th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division, who sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth in June 1915, arriving on the Peninsula in July. He was promoted to Major on 1st September 1915 and later acting Lieutenant Colonel. On returning to the 13th Division he was given command of the 9th Worcestershires. The division left Gallipoli for Egypt on 24th January 1916 and the Worcestershires moved to Mesopotamia in March 1916. He left returned to the 39th Brigade where he took up command of the 9th Royal Warwickshires.
On 25th January 1917, on the west bank of the River Hai, near Kut, Mesopotamia, Lt.-Col. Henderson brought his battalion up to our two front-line trenches, which were under intense fire, and his battalion had suffered heavy casualties when the enemy made a heavy counter-attack, and succeeded in penetrating our line in several places, the situation becoming critical. Although shot through the arm, Lt.-Col. Henderson jumped on to the parapet and advanced alone some distance in front of his battalion, cheering them on under the most intense fire over 500 yards of open ground. Again wounded, he nevertheless continued to lead his men on in the most gallant, manner, finally capturing the position by a bayonet charge. He was again twice wounded, and died when he was eventually brought in.
Henderson was laid to rest in Amara Military Cemetery, Amara, Iraq. In addition to the VC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, and the African Service Medal (1902) with clasps. His medals are held by the Ashcroft Trust and displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM.
BURIAL PLACE: AMARA MILITARY CEMETERY, AL AMARAH, IRAQ.
Edward Henderson's medals including VC on display at Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London
National Memorial Arboretum
PLOT XXIV, ROW B, GRAVE 31
War Illustrated, 30th June 1917