Lt. Francis Barclay HENDERSON RN DSO

Born1859 Ely, Cambridgeshire
FatherRev. James Henry HENDERSON (1819 – 1879)
MotherAnnie ROBINSON (1822 – 1903)
OccupationPrivate Secretary, ADC, Commissioner in the Gold Coast Colony and was attached to the Naval Intelligence Department at the War Office.

Biography and Notes

Fourth son. Francis Henderson was educated at HMS Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon where he won the Goodenough Medal for Gunnery. He entered the Royal Navy in 1872 becoming Midshipman in 1874, a Sub. Lt. in 1878 and Lt. in 1882. From 1895-6, he was Private Secretary and ADC to Sir W E Maxwell, Governor of the Gold Coast Colony and accompanied him in the Ashanti Expedition of 1896.

For the next six years, he was travelling Commissioner in the Gold Coast Colony during which time he commanded the small force during the defence of the small town of Dawkita when it was attacked by a strong force of Sofa slaves for which he was awarded the DSO. The defence of Dawkita by Lt. Henderson RN is a little known incident and has been likened to the defence of Rourkes Drift in the Zulu War. Occupying the small town was depriving the Sofas to forage for food by blocking their route. His force was only 43 strong made up of 41 constables from the Gold Coast Constabulary. His force was soon besieged by about 7000 Sofas; the fighting lasted four days and nights. He only lost two men and the Sofas over four hundred. Over the next few days he met with Sofa chiefs and managed to negotiate a safe conduct for his force to proceed to Kumasi.

Lt. Henderson rejoined the Navy in 1914 and was attached to the Naval Intelligence Department, being attached to MI5 at the War Office where he served until 1919. He was promoted to Commander in 1918. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He died in 1934.

Life Events

1879Death of father Rev. James Henry HENDERSON
1899Married Editha d'Evereaux (Ivry?) FONNEREAU in Little Blakenham Church, Bosmere, Suffolk
1903Death of mother Annie ROBINSON

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