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Henderson, George Francis Robert

HENDERSON, GEORGE FRANCIS ROBERT (1854-1903), British soldier and military writer, was born in Jersey in 1854. Educated at Leeds Grammar School, of which his father, afterwards Dean of Carlisle, was headmaster, he was early attracted to the study of history, and obtained a scholarship at St John's College, Oxford. But he soon left the University for Sandhurst, whence he obtained his first commission in 1878. One year later, after a few months' service in India, he was promoted lieutenant and returned to England, and in 1882 he went on active service with his regiment, the York and Lancaster (6sth/ 84th) to Egypt . He was present at Tell-el-Mahuta and Kassassin, and at Tell-el-Kebir was the first man of his regiment to enter the enemy's works. His conduct attracted the notice of Sir Garnet (afterwards Lord) Wolseley, and he received the sth class of the Medjidieh order. His name was, further, noted for a brevetmajority, which he did not receive till he became captain in 1886. During these years he had been quietly studying military art and history at Gibraltar, in Bermuda and in Nova Scotia, in spite of the difficulties of research, and in 1889 appeared (anonymously) his first work, The Campaign of Fredericksburg. In the same year he became Instructor in Tactics, Military Law and Administration at Sandhurst. From this post he proceeded as Professor of Military Art and History to the Staff College (1892-1899), and there exercised a profound influence on the younger generation of officers. His study on Spicheren had been begun some years before, and in 1898 appeared, as the result of eight years' work, his masterpiece, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War. In the South African War LieutenantColonel Henderson served with distinction on the staff of Lord Roberts as Director of Intelligence. But overwork and malaria broke his health, and he had to return home, being eventually selected to write the official history of the war. But failing health obliged him to go to Egypt, where he died at Assuan on the 5th of March 1903. He had completed the portion of the history of the South African War dealing with the events up to the commencement of hostilities, amounting to about a volume, but the War Office decided to suppress this, and the work was begun de now and carried out by Sir F. Maurice.

Various lectures and papers by Henderson were collected and published in 1905 by Captain Malcolm, D.S.O., under the title The Science of War; to this collection a memoir was contributed by Lord Roberts. See also Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, vol. xlvii. No. 302.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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