10 November 2010

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Henderson,
7th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Africa General Service Medal ( 1902-56 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "N Nigeria" - "N Nigeria 1902" - "N Nigeria 1903"
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Edward Henderson, 7th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment, have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.

For the second half of 1916 the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force was to spend time on building up a force strong enough to resume the offensive towards Baghdad and to drive the Turkish Army out of the country. The beginning of the British offensive took place on the 25th January 1917 at the Hai salient to the south-west of Kut, which was to become the Second Battle of Kut-el-Amara.

Two battalions, the 9th Worcesters and the 7th North Staffordshires, got within 50 yards of the enemy front, protected by artillery fire, and after the bombardment lifted they entered the enemy lines. Although the 7th North Staffordshires suffered heavy casualties, they still managed to carry out their objectives. However, the Turks made a series of counter-attacks and were supported by shrapnel fire, trench motars and bombs, which forced the Staffordshires back on to the Worcestershire battalion.

It was at this point that the 9th Warwickshires were brought up from brigade reserve to make a counter-attack of their own. Colonel Edward Henderson personally led the leading troops through the retiring troops across 500 yards of open ground in order to recapture the objectives lost by the North Staffordshires.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 8 June 1917 ], River Hai, Kut, Mesopotamia ( Iraq ), 25 January 1917, Major ( Temporary Lieutenant Colonel ) Edward Elers Delaval Henderson, 7th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and personal example when in command of his battalion ( West Bank of the Hai, Mesopotamia ).

Lt.-Col. Henderson brought his battalion up to our two front 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 lines 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.

Lying out wounded in the open Colonel Henderson was rescued by his adjutant Lieutenant Robert Phillips, who was to earn the Victoria Cross on the same day. It came as no surprise that Henderson died shortly afterwards from his wounds and was buried at Amara War Cemetery, 150 miles south of Baghdad.

In 1933 the headstones in the cemetery had to be removed because of salts in the soil which caused them to deteriorate and all the names of the men buried there were engraved on the wall of the cemetery.


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Iain Stewart, 10 November 2010