Memorial to Gordon war hero unveiled

A flagstone memorial to one of the Borders’ most decorated soldiers is finally being unveiled in his home village of Gordon next Saturday.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 12:36 pm
Captain George Henderson VC
Captain George Henderson VC

The memorial to Captain George Stuart Henderson, VC, DSO and Bar, MC, who served with the Manchester Regiment, was originally planned to be unveiled last year, which marked 100 years from the date of his death in Hillah, Mesopotamia, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The unveiling will now take place on Saturday, July 24, at 2.30pm in the village.

The money for the flagstone was raised by Gordon and Westruther Community Council on a crowdfunding site, which saw £3,333 raised from an initial target of £2,950. The money came entirely from donations by locals and the Henderson family.

Captain Henderson, who was mentioned in dispatches five times, was born on December 5, 1893 at East Gordon, the only son of farmer Robert and Mary Henderson, who came from a long line of successful Border farmers.

He lived at East Gordon until he was eight and in these formative years, like a true Borderer, he became competent in the saddle and with gun and rod.

The family subsequently moved to Mounthooly, Jedburgh.

Having been sent to Rossall Boarding School in Lancashire, he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment.

He fought throughout the First World War, but it was in Hillah, Mesopotamia, where he died, aged 26, on July 24, 1920, when a band of Arab tribesmen launched an attack on the 2nd Battalion.

The battalion lost 179 men in the battle, with 60 wounded and 79 taken prisoner.

It was recognised that more would have been lost without George's courage and leadership.

George’s citation reads: “During the second charge, he fell wounded, but refused to leave his command, and just as the company reached the trench they were making for he was again wounded. Realising that he could do no more, he asked one of his non-commissioned officers to hold him up on the embankment, saying, 'I'm done now, don't let them beat you'. He died fighting.”

He was awarded the Victoria Cross on October 24 of that year, presented to his younger sister Jessie by King George V on March 8, 1921.

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