Private Charles Thomas Henderson

Service number 6041
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Windermere
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Learmonth
Final Rank Private
Unit 39th Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Charles Thomas Henderson was born at Windermere, Victoria, on 24 February 1897 to Charles Henderson and Violet Henderson (née Fraser). Henderson was the third of seven children, with two sisters and four brothers. Like his father, he also became a farmer, and served for 20 months in the 19th Light Horse before the First World War.

Henderson enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Ballarat, Victoria, on 18 April 1916 and was initially attached to 14th Depot Battalion. His brother, John William Henderson, had previously enlisted in August 1914 and embarked from Melbourne with the 4th Light Horse Regiment on 19 October 1914. Charles Henderson embarked with the 19th reinforcements of the 8th Battalion from Melbourne, aboard the troopship Themistocles, on 28 July 1916 and arrived at Plymouth, England, on 11 September 1916.

During the journey from Australia to England, Henderson’s battalion arranged and performed in a concert titled “Concert On-Our-Way” on 26 August 1916. Henderson sang two songs in the concert program, one of which was “Till the boys come home”. The title of the other song is not recorded in the concert program.

Once in England, Henderson was taken on strength with the 39th Battalion and was sent to France in November 1916. In December, Henderson was hospitalised with mumps and rejoined the battalion on 28 December 1916. In June 1917, Henderson was admitted to the 48th Field Ambulance with influenza and in July was hospitalised with a foot injury that had become septic. The injury resulted in a transfer to hospital in Reading, England, for treatment in August 1917; on 29 September 1917 Henderson returned to Australia on the troopship Boorda. He disembarked at Melbourne on 21 November 1917 and was discharged as medically unfit on 18 January 1918.

Following his discharge from the AIF, Henderson resumed farming near Ercildoune, Victoria.

He married Mary Leonard at Ballarat on 3 April 1920, and the couple had three children, daughters Wanda and Phyllis and a son, Lionel.

The injury he had sustained on active service continued to trouble him after the war. Charles Thomas Henderson died at Learmonth, Victoria, on 29 June 1931 at the age of 34. His wife Mary died at Ballarat,Victoria, in 1966.



Date of enlistment 18 April 1916
Date of embarkation 28 July 1916
Date returned to Australia 26 September 1917