In Memoriam: Jacob Johnson Henderson

Photograph of Jacob Johnson Henderson
Jacob Johnson Henderson

Jacob Johnson Henderson, of Alston, Cumberland, died of wounds received in France on 17th October, 1918, aged 23 years.

He was born on 12th January 1895 and attended Bootham School from 1910 to 1912.  He played 1st XI cricket and football at school.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of March 1911 contains the report of the Old Scholars’ Natural History Exhibition, Christmas, 1910.  It shows that Jacob won a prize in the Workshop section for his Coal box.  The Football report in this issue shows that Jacob was playing in the 1st XI. “Henderson played well in his place, but lacks weight.”

The May 1911 issue of Bootham contains notes by the Football captain:

“HENDERSON, J. J.—Is too light, and lacks just that dash which would make him really useful, for he can play good football when he isn’t nervous and hustled.”

“Bootham” of March 1912 shows that Jacob was still playing 1st XI football.  In a match against Hymer’s College: “Henderson scored two goals.”  The Football notes by the Captain for this season included:

“HENDERSON, J. J.— Has improved during the season, and done quite well at times. He will never “move mountains” however. His dribbling and passing and shooting are all good when he is at his best.”

The November 1912 issue of “Bootham” shows that Jacob was playing 1st XI Cricket.  In Notes on the Team by the Captain:

“HENDERSON, J.—Going in early, has contributed some very useful defensive innings, playing straight and watching carefully. Occasional change bowler. Fair in the field, but slow in the return.”

The same issue has his “Bene Decessit” entry:

“J. J. HENDERSON leaves from the Lower Senior after two years here. He played football and cricket for the Ist XI and twice helped his bedroom to win the football tournaments.”

We don’t hear of Jacob again until the March 1916 issue of “Bootham”, where, under “Bootham School War Lists”, we read:

“Under Military Discipline :—

[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

Henderson, J. J., Inns of Court O.T.C., Squadron.”

Jacob had joined up in September 1915 and was in the Suffolk Yeomanry during the war.

In December 1917, “Bootham” tells us, in “Across the Months”:

“JACOB J. HENDERSON (1910-12) may be in Gaza, Beersheba, or any other Old Testament town by now. He met Douglas Allen in Alexandria.”

He served in Palestine. In May 1918 he was transferred to France. The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” tells us:

“J. BARRINGTON GOODBODY (1900-5) writes from France a much travelled Captain. M. Haughton, who won the M.C. at Beersheba, and J. J. Henderson are with him.”

Jacob died of wounds received in action in France. The December 1918 issue of “Bootham” records his death:

“HENDERSON.—On 17th October, 1918, of wounds received in action in France, Jacob Johnson Henderson, of Alston (1910-12), aged 23.”

The April 1919 issue of “Bootham” has his “In Memoriam” entry:

“JACOB JOHNSON HENDERSON (1910-12), Lieut., Suffolk Yeomanry, younger son of Robert and Isabella Henderson, Lovelady Shield, Alston, was born in 1895, and educated at the Friends’ Schools, Wigton, Ackworth, and Bootham. On leaving school he went into Lloyds Bank at Bellingham, and when war broke out he was in the Head Office in London.

In September, 1913, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., and on finishing his training, left for Egypt in October, 1916. He took part in the Palestine campaign, and was at Gaza and Jerusalem. He was accidentally wounded in April, 1918. In May he was transferred to France, and in September obtained leave, when he spent a very happy time at home. He was wounded in action in France on October i6th, 1918, and died the following day at the 51st Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried by the Chaplain (W. A. Rundell) at Estaires.

He was of a very happy, affectionate disposition, and endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact, the large number of letters received by his family testifying to his popularity both in civil life and in the Army. His bank managers have written of his capability and promise; and in the words of his Lieut.-Col., “He was a most efficient and promising officer, and had led his company in the absence of the Company Commander most gallantly for some time past.””

Quotations from Letters received:

Bank Manager— “This terrible war has deprived a mother of a much-loved son, the country of a gallant soldier, and the Bank a promising member of its staff.”

Lieut.-Colonel— “I wish to sympathise with you on behalf of myself and the whole regiment in the great loss you have sustained through the death of your son. We shall all miss him terribly. He was a most efficient and promising officer, and had led his company in the absence of the Company Commander most gallantly for some time past.”

Adjutant— “He was certainly one of our most popular officers.” , “He was esteemed by all who knew him for his capability and promise.”

One of his men— “He was one of the best fellows we had, and everyone was very sorry to hear the news.”                            S. W.”

Lieutenant Jacob J. Henderson is buried at Estaires Communal Cemetery, in northern France.