Captain George Henderson, V.C., D.S.O and Bar, M.C.

Captain George Stuart Henderson, V.C, D.S.O and Bar, M.C., 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment.  He was Scotland’s most decorated Soldier. He was killed in action in Mesopotamia, aged 26, on the 24th July 1920.  He had been born in Gordon, Berwickshire and was the son of Robert and Mary Henderson of Mount Hooly, Jedburgh. He was commissioned from the Royal Military College in January 1914 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment in India. As part of the Indian Corps the Battalion went to France in September 1914. In 1915 as a Lieutenant he won the Military Cross. ” Near Ypres on 26th April 1915 after his Company Commander had been wounded he led his Company to within 70 yards of the enemy’s trenches with great gallantry and determination and held on through several hours of daylight and finally established himself there. Throughout operations he set a fine example after most of the senior officers had become casualties”. In December 1915 the Battalion moved to Mesopotamia and in 1916 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, ” For conspicuous gallantry and determination in an attack on an enemy redoubt. On entering the redoubt he organised and led bombing parties which cleared out the enemy of whom he personally shot five. He subsequently covered our withdrawal  and was one of the last to leave the redoubt”. In 1917 having been promoted to Captain he won a Bar to his D.S.O.  He then served with the Battalion in Palestine before returning to Mesopotamia at the end of the War with the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. On 24th July 1920 he was awarded the Victoria Cross, ” For most conspicuous bravery and self sacrifice. On the evening of 24th July 1920 when about 15 miles from Hillah ( Mesopotamia ) the Company under his command was ordered to retire.. Arabs suddenly opened fire from the flanks causing the Company to split up and waver. Regardless of all danger Capt. Henderson at once organised the Company led them gallantly to the attack and drove off the enemy. On two further occasions this Officer led his men to charge the Arabs with the bayonet and forced them to retire. At one time when the situation was extremely critical and the troops and transport were getting out of hand Capt. Henderson by sheer pluck and coolness steadied his command, prevented the Company from being cut up and saved the situation. During the second charge he fell wounded bur refused to leave his command.  He was again wounded and realising he could do no more he asked one of his N.C.O.s to hold him up saying ” I am done now, don’t let them beat you”. He died fighting “.  He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq.

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