Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

Monday Monuments and Memorials – Elmes Pollock Henderson, St James Cathedral, Toronto

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Every soldier tells a story.

Elmes Pollock Henderson was born in Toronto on 27 Jun 1885, the son of Elmes and Frederica Jane Henderson. In 1906, he graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, and obtained a commission in the Indian Army. In 1907, he was posted to the 106th Hazara Pioneers, the regiment in which he spent the rest of his career. He is on the right in the back row of a 1913 photo of the British and Native officers of the 106th Hazara Pioneers (National Army Museum image number 139238). 

Captain Henderson was killed in action on 25 June or 29 June 1916, either two days before or two days after his 31st birthday. He is mentioned amongst the “names of officers and men brought to notice for gallantry or good service” in the despatch from the Commander-in-Chief, India, on military operations in the Indian Empire. The despatch describes the operations in which Henderson was killed:

6.—OPERATIONS IN JHALAWAN. During the first half of 1916 considerable unrest existed amongst certain Jhalawan tribes of the Kalat State who had organised roving bands of marauders to terrorise the country. It was decided to send an escort with Lt-Col A.B. Dew, C.S.I., C.I.E., the Political Agent, Kalat, to restore order in that region. The services of this officer in connection with these disturbances have been brought to favourable notice. The escort, under the command of Lt-Col C.L. Carter, Pioneers, and consisting of five British officers and 250 men of the Pioneers, one section Mountain Battery, one Indian officer and 29 men of the 3rd Gwalior Lancers (Imperial Service Troops), and one section Field Ambulance, concentrated at Mastung Road on June 5th, and marched via Kalat into Jhalawan. In a series of well designed and executed operations during June, July and August in conjunction with the tribal forces, the rebel bands were rounded up, some 45 men being killed and a number captured. Order was completely restored by 11th August and the Kalat Column returned to Mastung Road, reaching that place on 22nd August. In reporting on the operations, Lieutenant-General Sir M.H.S. Grover, K.C.B., K.C.I.E., Commanding 4th (Quetta) Division, stated that the operations under trying conditions of heat and bad water, etc., were skilfully carried out by Lt-Col Carter and reflected great credit on him and all ranks concerned. (London Gazette supplement 30360, p 11269-11274) 

Henderson is buried Quetta Government Cemetery 2575 and his name is on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) in India. A brass plaque in memory of Elmes Pollock Henderson hangs in St James Cathedral, Toronto, featuring the last lines from Henry Newbolt’s poem, Clifton Chapel:

“Qui procul hinc,” the legend’s writ, –
The frontier-grave is far away
“Qui ante diem periit:
Sed miles, sed pro patria.”

Rough translation of the Latin text: Who far from here died before his time, but as a soldier, but for his country.


Not sure what’s going on with the above link to the 1913 photo, but some folks report trouble getting to it. The photo is worth a look, and the website is OK. If the link doesn’t work, you can go to the online collection of the National Army Museum and search for 106th Hazara Pioneers.

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Author: greatwar100reads

Canadian crusader for equality and justice. Connoisseur and creator of the written word. Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books and monuments. Read more at greatwar100reads.wordpress.com.

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