K R Henderson

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance K R Henderson

Kenneth Henderson was born on the 29th May 1895 at Sutton in Surrey, the third and youngest child of Robert and Janie Henderson. His father was a bank manager. The family were quite reasonably well off as the 1911 census shows the family having 3 servants. By this time Kenneth was at Charterhouse School. His early life is undocumented.

On the outbreak of WW1 Kenneth enlisted in the 28th Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles). This was a popular unit for volunteers and a number would be selected to be officers in other Regiments, as Kenneth would be. On the 26th October he landed in France with the Artists’ Rifles and on the 15th March 1915 was made temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. During 1915 he saw action with the 2nd Battalion at Fromelles, Festuber and Givenchy. On the 7th July 1916 during the Somme offensive he received his fourth wound of the war.

After the war he was with the newly reconstituted 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, for service in the Russian Archangel campaign. It was here that he received the Military Cross. The London Gazette of the 21st January 1919 read: ‘He has carried out the duties of a Company Commander of a mixed force at Bolshe-Ozerki and has worked in a very efficient way. He has had continuous service on this front since November 1918 and in four engagements in which his company has taken part he has proved to be a fearless and good leader of men’. When the campaign was over the 6th were disbanded and Kenneth would return to the 2nd Battalion.

In July 1919 the 2nd Battalion were deployed to Ireland. This was in the wake of the violent ‘troubles’ that had beset the country regarding the establishment of an Irish Republic. July 1921 saw a truce followed in December by the Anglo-Irish Treaty (something unacceptable to the extreme militant Republicans). This treaty enabled the larger part of the British Garrison to depart leaving just a small number of troops, including Kenneth, for naval base guard duties. On the 26th April 1922 four British soldiers, including Kenneth, were arrested by the IRA at a hotel in Macroom, near Cork. They were charged with being spies. On the 29th of April they were taken to Kilgobnet, a few miles from Macroom, and shot. The Newfoundland dog they had with them suffered the same fate. Their bodies had been buried in boggy ground and were not discovered until December 1923. They were recovered on the 12th and repatriated to England.

Kenneth’s funeral and burial took place at Aldershot on the 14th December 1923 (pictured above).

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