Jack Henderson and Tom Guthery, 16 DLI

Jack Henderson and Tom Guthery, 16 DLI

The photograph above is also undated, but seems to have been taken at the same time as the solo portrait on the previous page.

Jack Henderson was shot and wounded in the leg on the evening of the 15/9/43 in the aftermath of the famous Hospital Hill action in which 16 DLI repulsed a strong German counter-attack. Capt Frank Duffy of D Company won the MC for leading a bayonet charge on that evening, but equally important was the intense and very accurate barrage put down onto the advancing Germans at almost point blank range by the Mortar Platoon before the bayonet charge went in. In a letter to his wife dated 31/12/43, Sgt Henderson recounts in great detail the hectic events of that evening. This account can be read here.

By November 1943, following initial treatment on the hospital ship and at the 100th General Hosptial, Sgt Henderson was at the 95th British General Hospital in Algeria. From which he wrote home to his wife on 8/11/43.

The extract below is transcribed from a photostat aerograph letter, postmarked 8/11/43 and sent to Mrs J C Henderson, 59 Corchester Walk, Benton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 7 by

4464771 Sergt J C Henderson, 95th British General Hospital, BNAF, 8/11/43

'On this, the anniversary of the first British and American landings in North Africa, I find myself with little fresh news to pass on to you. The "Union Jack" and "Stars and Stripes" have issued special numbers recalling all that has been accomplished during the past twelve months and one cannot but feel proud to have had a little hand in it.

I have had a letter this morning from Peter Griffin, the Sgt with our RAP [Regimental Air Post] back at the Btn. He has has given me quite a lot of news, mainly of men I knew who, since my departure, have also had to fall out. Do you remember that photograph you have of me taken on an exercise in England? The one where I am pointing something out to an officer. That is Major Ballance, my Company Commander for the last 18 months. Peter tells me he has been awarded the MC. I am very pleased about that as I think a lot about him. By the way, the officer in the white mac on the photograph is now a Brigadier...'

By this time Sgt Henderson must have been well on the road to recovery, as he signs off the letter with 'I am fit and well and in good spirits.' However the fact that he was at the hospital long enough to correspond with Medical Sgt Peter Griffin back at the battalion, indicates his injuries were serious enough to require a long stay.