Name: Walter Henderson
DoB: November 30 1878
Regt: 2nd Lieut., 9th Highland Light Infantry.
DoD: Mar. 8, 1918.
Academic Career: CGS 1893-4
Other: son of T. Henderson, Esq., 29 Church Street, Carlisle; and 2 Lawson Street, Newtown, Carlisle.
Walter was the third of six children born to Thomas Henderson and Martha nee Hind. Walter, his parents and siblings were all born in Carlisle. In 1891 Thomas is described as a beerhouse keeper and the address in the 1881 Census of 29 Church Street, Caldewgate, Carlisle is described as a public house. Younger brother Robert Stubbs Henderson was a sorting clerk and telegraphist in the 1911 census, married with a young son. He died of dysentry on January 27 1917, a pioneer of the corps of Royal Engineers ( Base Signal Depot 268161) and is buried at Dar-es-Salaam War Cemetery. Probate went to his widow Elizabeth (£245 7s). It must have been dreadful for the family to lose Walter just a year later.
The Carlisle Patriot reported young Walter had been awarded the George Moore Scholarship worth £7 a year in 1891. He attended the Carlisle grammar school between January 1893 and left in 1894. The CGS Memorial Register reports as follows: “Junior Cambridge, 1893; County Council Technical Scholarship, 1894. School Master.” He served his pupil teachership at Fawcett Boys’ School and after passing the matriculation exam of Durham University he went on to Bede College to complete his training. He was appointed as a teacher in 1901 at the Fawcett School. And indeed the 1911 census shows Walter as a schoolmaster assistant with the City Education Committee, aged 32 and still single, living with his widowed mother and sisters Isabella and Mary Elizabeth at Newtown, Carlisle. He was assistant master at the Fawcett School by the time war was declared.
Walter joined the Army soon after the outbreak of war as a private but later obtained a commission. He arrived in France with the Highland Light Infantry on November 28 1917. He was killed in action on March 8 1918 on the Menin Road. The Cumberland News reported on the “gallant” way he met his death. At the time of his death he was attached to the Royal Fusiliers. The Major of his Battalion wrote: “He was killed instantly by a trench mortar shell. I cannot speak too highly of the magnificent way he behaved during the very heavy bombardment by the enemy. He was out in the trench with his men the whole time cheering them up and attending to the wounded. By his death the Battalion has lost a very brave and efficient officer. He was very popular with all ranks, and his loss is keenly felt.”
He was initially buried at Tower Hamlets Cemetery and then reburied at Hooge Crater Cemetery. Probate was granted to his mother (£282 17s 5d).
The 9th Battalion during the Great War saw action as follows:
August 1914 : in Glasgow. Part of HLI Brigade, Lowland Division. November 1914 : left the Division and moved to France, landing November 5. November 1914 : attached to 5th Brigade, 2nd Division.
30 January 1916 : left Division and transferred to GHQ Troops. May 29 1916 : transferred to 100th Brigade, 33rd Division.
The war diary for the 9th Battalion Highland Light Division for March 8 1918 reads: “front line near Passchendaele
Posts are wired and generally improved by the garrisons. Hostile artillery much more active than yesterday. Intermittent shelling round SEINE and posts in D 22b and D 22a during the forenoon. Artillery (hostile) were registering on DAISY WOOD at 1.15pm. Occasional shelling of DASH CROSSING. Heavy gas shelling of area on our left. From 3.50am a barrage of 77mm, 10cm and 15cm was placed on the tape put out by our own RE at DAISY WOOD. This crept back, then forward again and ceased at 4.30am. At 4am hurricane fire was opened on INHALE and round about – by 10cm and 15cm Hows. This lasted until 4.35am. Occasional 10cm falling between INHALE and DASH DUGOUTS for remainder of period.”
Walter enjoyed football as for several years he was secretary of the Carlisle Schools Football League. He also enjoyed athletics of all kinds.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: Class: 1911 RG14/ 31328.1911 1901 RG13/4869; 1891 RG12/4291; 1881 RG11/5160
c) The Carlisle Patriot 1891
e) The Long, Long Trail website
f) War Diary of the 9th Battalion Highland Division (internet version)
g) www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.co.uk
h) The Cumberland News March 23 1918