HENDERSON, Roy Douglas

Service Numbers: 575, 3380
Enlisted: 11 May 1915, A Company
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 26th Infantry Battalion
Born: Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia, 23 October 1897
Home Town: Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Pozieres, France, 29 July 1916, aged 18 years
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
Plot IV, Row F, Grave No. 18
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

11 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 575, 26th Infantry Battalion, A Company
5 Oct 1915: Involvement Private, 3380, 9th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Warilda embarkation_ship_number: A69 public_note: ''
5 Oct 1915: Embarked Private, 3380, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Warilda, Brisbane
29 Jul 1916: Involvement Private, 575, 26th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 575 awm_unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1916-07-29

Help us honour Roy Douglas Henderson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Roy Henderson took part on a night raid 6/7 June 1916.

The Black Anzacs were 73 AIF soldiers, who took part in a raid on a German trench on the night of 6th June, 1916.  The raid was Australia's first action in Europe. Its purpose was to obtain prisoners, intelligence and weapons. They managed to capture three Germans and kill another 14 as well as gather much intelligence. Two Australians were killed and another 4 wounded while they were returning to Australian trenches. The soldiers were given 8 days leave in London where they were feted by the press who labelled them the Black Anzacs because they had blackened their faces with burnt cork for the raid. Roy Henderson was the youngest of the 73 men.

His older brother, 580 Lance Sergeant John Stewart Henderson, also of the 26th Battalion was killed in action on the same day, at Pozieres, aged 25. 

Roy's twin brother, 4797 Private Erle Hamilton Henderson 9th Battalion AIF was killed in action over 12 months later, 20 September 1917 at 19 years of age. 

A third brother, 2828 Private Arthur Thomas Henderson, 9th Battalion AIF was returned to Australia, 25 April 1918, for family reasons after he wrote the following letter to his CO,

O.C. D Company, 9th Battalion. Feb 3rd 1918.

I beg to make application for a transfer back to Australia on account of the loss of my three brothers, particulars as under-:

S/Sgt Henderson J.S. 26th Battalion killed. Pte. Henderson R.D. 26th Battalion killed. Pte Henderson E.H. 9th Battalion reported wounded and missing 20/9/17.

As I am the only remaining son my mother looks to me for support financial and otherwise. I have been with the Battalion for 25 months.

Signed 2828 Pte. A.T. Henderson

(Service file 2828 A.T. Henderson, National Archives Australia)

To the great credit of the AIF this request was passed up through the chain of command and Arthur Henderson's request was complied with very promptly.

Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW : 1894 - 1939), Friday 16 February 1917, page 4

A Fighting Family.

Mrs. Henderson, of Lucinda-street, Taringa, had four sons in the Forces (says the "Brisbane Courier" of Tuesday). Two of them, Roy and Stewart, were killed on the same day in the same charge in France. Some information concerning the manner of their death was contained in a letter by R. H. Greenwood, who was a friend of Roy Henderson. He wrote: "It was in our first charge that Roy and Stewart Henderson fell. Not a gamer or manly lad ever left Australia to go to this war than Roy Henderson, and what a noble death he met. We were together right through, and on nearing the enemy's first line Roy fell beside me. He never spoke, I could not stop or stay with him, as we were at that time gaining our objective, and every man was needed on the spot. When day broke the stretcher-bearers were hard at work, both enemy and ours. There is just this hope for Roy, that he was so badly wounded as to become unconscious, and taken in on a stretcher by an enemy stretcher-bearer. That is our only chance of every seeing him again, and of course that could not possibly be until the war is over. Stewart was never seen after we entered the enemy's lines. They both were two of the finest men in the company, and were respected by all."


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From WW1 Brothers who died the same day by Frank Mahieu

Pte Roy Douglas  HENDERSON was born in Narrabri, New South Wales at about (Febr.) 1897. He was educated at Brisbane Public School.

His occupation when enlisting was clerk. He also had served as a 2nd. Lt with the senior cadets 6A. Roy was the first to enlist, as private service number 575 on 11 May 1915 at Ennogera (suburb of Brisbane). He stated his age as being 18 years and 3 months (*1). He was 5 ft 6 ins tall (1m 67,6), weighing 127 lbs (57,6 kg) with a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and he was single. As his brother John who enlisted a week later, he was also posted to A Coy of 26th bn AIF. His journey follows that of his brother John to Egypt, Gallipoli and France.

With his brother John he arrived at Gallipoli joining the MEF on 4 Sept 1915. Already on Dec. 2nd he was diagnosed with (catarrhal) jaundice and sent that day at the 7th Field Ambulance, being transferred the same day to the 13th CCS at the island of Mudros. Throughout December he was at several hospitals in Egypt (Heliopolis -Australian General Hospital-, Ras el Tin, Anzac, Chezireh, Zeitoun). He returned to his unit on 5 Febr. 1916 at Tel el Kebir camp.

At Moascar on 3 march 1916 he received a 72 hrs Field Punishment nr. 2 for Disobedience of an order. That was quite a severe punishment. Five days later Roy was admitted at the 5th Filed Ambulance with mumps. (Moascar was the name given to the military camp near the town of Ismailia, Egypt). After this he sailed to France, arriving at Marseille on 21 March 1916. On the 27th he was discharged from the Field Ambulance and he joined his unit at Morbeque (France). In the night of 7 to 8 June 1916 he took part in a raid on the enemy trenches. This raid was planned by the HQ of the 2nd. Division AIF.

In the attack at Poziéres on 29 July 1916 Roy was first reported missing, then reported killed in action. His body was buried (trenchmap 57D R35, i.e. near the windmill site) and found after the war, then finally buried at Courcelette British Cemetery, close to where he, and his brother John, fell.

Lost on the same day/Battle LSgt John Stewart HENDERSON, #580. 26th Bn, 29th July, 1916

Lost at the Battle of Menin Road, Pte Erle Hamilton HENDERSON, #4797, 9th Bn, 20/9/1917.

Survived WWI:  Pte Arthur Thomas HENDERSON, #2828, 9th Battalion