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Photo of John Henderson

John Henderson

Birthplace Otago Dunedin New ZealandPlace of Residence at HM Factory Gretna 96 Victory Avenue Date of Birth: August 23, 1875



“Daddy Henderson”

Gender: Male

Date and Place of Birth:

23 August 1875 at Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Date and Place of Death:

1954 New Zealand

Nationality: New Zealander

John’s parents were raised in Caithness, Scotland. They emigrated to New Zealand shortly after their marriage in 1872 as all of their children were born in New Zealand. John’s siblings included:

Donald Douglas Henderson 1872

Christina 1874

Janet 1877

James Hugh 1879

William Alexander 1881

George 1883

Parents: John Henderson a farm labourer married Christina Banks, his housekeeper in 1872 in Wick, Caithness, Scotland.  John and Christina did well in New Zealand with John taking up sheep farming and retiring as a Gentleman.

Parent’s occupations:

John worked as a farm labourer, then became a sheep farmer.

Schools / universities attended and years of attendance:  Technical school and school of arts, Dunedin, 1897-1899

Place of residence at Gretna: Not known

Job title at Gretna: Operating Staff member

Marital status:  Second hand information from the memoir of William Gidley Emmett, who worked with John at HM Factory, is that John married and had a daughter after WW1.  No evidence could be found for this.

Children: Nil known

Travels: John arrived in England to work at HM Factory in 1916. He had come from British Guyana where he was working at the Manager of a Gold Mine.

Awards/recognitions: Nil known

Trivia / any other information:


Quoted from the unpublished Memoir of William Gidley Emmett held by the Devils Porridge Museum


“On most Saturday evenings I went into Carlisle, 10 miles away, with Daddy Henderson on the back of my bike. Here we would have a steak and chips meal followed by a variety show at the theatre.  Henderson was a Scot in his early 40’s, hailing from New Zealand. He was perhaps my closest friend during my Gretna period, a bachelor of sterling character, with the highest principals of conduct, clean thoughts and a canny sense of humour.  His friendship was a great support to me while I was getting used to my heavy responsibilities.  He got the nickname Daddy as he was some 10 to 15 years older than the run of the staff.  After the war he returned to N.Z., got married and had a daughter.  I visited him there with Reg in 1952 and found him little changed after 33 years, though he had a weak heart from which he died a few years later.

Powfoot was another place we frequently visited, situated on the Solway Firth beyond Annan with a pleasant golf course, good enough for us amateurs. Henderson and Stark (from the Ether Plant) usually formed a team with me and another, and after our game we had whiskies on the quiet, in a back room of the hotel,  as the licence did not apply to Sundays. However we were on very good terms with the hotel manager, a good sport. Annan residents were said to have written to the local paper  complaining of our disturbing the Sabbath peace as our motorbikes traversed the town on our way – little we cared!”



Free BMD

Further links, notes, and comments:

 Email from John’s relative in 2022, providing more details about his life:

John Henderson born 23/08/1875 in Otago NZ. He died 1954 in Christchurch NZ. 

The Henderson parents’ family farm “Harpsdale” in Hinds South Canterbury NZ was named after Harpsdale Balnahard Caithness in Scotland where his Great Grandparents Henry and Mary (nee Sinclair) Henderson, his grandparents Hugh Henderson (1786- 1864) and Janet (nee Campbell) Henderson (1830-1898) and parents lived. His parents (John Henderson (1851-1925) and Christina (nee Banks) Henderson immigrated from Scotland in 1872 and lived at Wyllie’s Crossing, Taieri and Hinds Canterbury. Another of the Henderson family farms in NZ belonged to his son William Henderson and was  named “Windemere” It was in Ashburton NZ and was named after Windermere, England’s largest lake in the Lake District.

John Henderson Snr (John Henderson’s father) and all of his siblings Alexander, William, Maggie and Hugh were born at Balnahard Caithness Scotland. 

John Henderson Snr (John Henderson’s father) was born 1851 Harpsdale Halkirk Thurso in Caithness.

John married Christina Banks from Dunnett, Caithness in 1851.

They immigrated in 1872. Christina Henderson died 18/07/1924 aged 76 at Harpsdale Hinds. John Henderson (Snr)  died 19/08/1925 at home at “Harpsdale” Hinds Canterbury New Zealand aged 74. Hinds is 11 miles from Ashburton NZ.

All John Henderson Jnr siblings were all born in New Zealand:- 

– Donald Douglas Henderson 1872,  

-Christina (Tina) Henderson 1874 Lived at Windermere Ashburton 

 -John, 1875 

 -Janet (Tot) Henderson Lived at Windermere Ashburton 

-James Hugh Henderson b 1879 (Jim) Second Lieutenant  died aged 36 killed in action at Suvla Bay Nov 1915) buried in Turkey. INSCRIPTION: WE LOVED HIM WELL BUT JESUS LOVED HIM BEST 

-William (Willie) Alexander Henderson b1881 lived at “Windermere” Farm Ashburton. 

-George Henderson b 1883 was the youngest son a shepherd he enlisted and served overseas with the Otago Mounted Rifles in WW1. 

John Henderson (1875-1954) married in 1927 Evelyn Sarah Wallace (1900-1960) from Dunedin NZ, they lived and died in Papanui, Christchurch. 

They had two daughters:- 

– Joan Margaret Henderson (1931-1985) who married 1952 in Christchurch NZ

– Barbara Helen Henderson (1933- 2021). Born 1933 Papanui, Christchurch NZ, married Robert le Poidevin in 1958, she had 3 sons and 1 daughter. Her husband Robert died in 2013 and Barbara died in Blenheim Marlborough NZ Jan 2021.

Obituary from the UK Engineer Institute, kindly shared with the museum by John’s family.

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