Mar 24

ROBERT HENDERSON : Died at Flanders , March 23rd 1918


Robert Henderson RAMC

On the 23rd March 1918 twenty five year old Robert Henderson was killed in Flanders, where he was serving as a private in the Royal Army Medical corps. The Henderson family were long-time residents of East Wall, and remain there to this day. Robert is one of those remembered on the memorial plaque which was unveiled at St Barnabas Church , Sheriff Street, in 1919. (It was relocated to the North Strand when the Church was demolished in 1969)


The family address is recorded as number 4 Hillside Terrace, Church Road, in records of Roberts’s death. The family appears in 1911 census at number 4 Ryan Avenue, and in the 1901 census at 19 Irvine Crescent. All these addresses have since been incorporated into Church Road.


Robert was not a career soldier, his civilian occupation was a boot –maker as was his father William, and his Uncle James who all shared the Hillside Terrace address. A Catholic boarder, John Kavanagh was similarly employed, in what was obviously the family business. His father William had previously worked as a signalman, part of the local pattern of Church of Ireland parishioners being connected with the railway.

Robert served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, as did a number of others from the St Barnabas parish. The family believe he was involved with the Boys Brigade associated with the Church, and would have acquired some rudimentary first aid experience here. The family have speculated that his joining of the Medical Corps may have been his way of playing his part in the Great War, without actually having to use a weapon and engage in killing.


Pictured above is the Next of Kin Memorial Plaque  awarded to the family of  Robert Henderson, an item more commonly referred to as a “Widows Penny” or “Death Penny”.

Below is a 1923 letter from the Imperial War Graves Commission informing the family that his body was being moved to a permanent grave site within France.


Descendants of the Henderson family continue to live locally. The family business thrived for many years.  The marriage of his relative, Gladys Coulter on August 21st 1961 was the second last to be held in the Church.


Robert Henderson R.I.P

 March 23rd 1918


For further information, corrections or clarifications contact eastwallhistory@gmail


(Images:  Robert Henderson and family material courtesy : Nigel MacGowan)


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