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MS 436

Reference code

MS 436


Second World War papers of John Henderson, principally relating to Field Marshal B.L Montgomery



Administrative / Biographical history

John Henderson (6 May 1920 – 6 December 2003)

John Henderson (often known as Johnny) was born in 1920 and was educated at Eton College before going to Cambridge in 1939, just as the Second World War was declared. He was at Cambridge a year waiting to go into the Coldstream Guards, before a meeting with a fellow Old Etonian, Kenneth Inchape gave him the opportunity to join the 12th Lancers Cavalry Regiment almost immediately.
At the end of 1940, the regiment left for Egypt where in fought in El Alamein. After the second battle of El Alamein (1942), Henderson was chosen by General B.L. Montgomery to be one of his ADCs (Aide-de-camp - personal assistant or secretary), a role he held for the next four years.

After the war, Henderson went on to have a successful career in banking in addition to holding the offices of High Sheriff of Berkshire and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.

Field-Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, nicknamed ‘Monty’, served during the Second World War as the commander of the British Eighth Army from August 1942 in the Western Desert until the final Allied victory in Tunisia in May 1943, including during the first and second battles of El Alamein.

He subsequently commanded the British Eighth Army during the Allied invasion of Italy before commanding the 21st Army Group for the rest of the campaign in North West Europe.

On 4 May 1945 he took the German surrender at Lüneburg Heath in Northern Germany.



Extent & medium

15 boxes

Content description

The papers are predominantly concerned with Henderson’s time as B.L. Montgomery’s ADC, and consist of material he collected relating to Montgomery. While the material for the most part relates to the Second World War, some later papers and correspondence are also included.


The papers were collected by John Henderson.

Associated material

This collection is part of a larger collection of Second World War papers held by Eton College Library. The other collections are:
MS 927: Second World War papers of Sergeant Annie Gouk
MS 928: Second World War papers of J.C. Ogle, principally relating to ‘Operation Overlord’
MS 929: Second World War papers of Henry Gerson relating to Saint-Denis British Internment Camp
MS 930: Second World War collected ephemera

Held with the papers is a typescript of an interview Henderson gave for what appears to be a radio broadcast.
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