Pottawattamie County

Sgt. Robert Henderson


Two Local Youths Reported Dead
War Department Name Henderson, Phinney

War struck its heavy toll into two Council Bluffs homes this week – a result of the Tunisian campaign in February, 1943, during which 50 youths of Council Bluffs were reported missing in action.

Mr. and Mrs. Russell D. Phinney, 46 Charles street, and Mrs. George H. Henderson of the Fintel apartments, whose husband is now serving with the army in the Aleutian islands, were notified this week that their sons, Tech. Sgt. Russell D. Phinney, jr., and Sgt. Robert W. Henderson, have been officially listed as dead.

Both families were notified on Feb. 1, 1943, that their sons were missing in action.

Cpl. Phinney had been in the service two years at the time he was reported missing in action.

Cpl. Phinney (sic, should be Sgt. Henderson) had been in the service two years at the time he was reported missing. He left Council Bluffs with the National guard as a member of the band and transferred to the infantry division shortly before he was listed missing.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Monday, March 27, 1944, Page 3

Reported Killed in Action

Reported missing in action after battles in Tunisia in February,1943, Sgt. Robert Henderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Henderson, Fintel apartments, and Tech. 5/g Russell D. Phinney, son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell D. Phinney, 46 Charles street, have been declared presumably dead by the war department in notices received by their parents recently.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Tuesday, March 28, 1944, Page 3

Honor Henderson at Church Rites

Dr. Leon C. Hills paid tribute to “Robert, the man who risked his life saving a companion and lost it attempting to save another,” during the memorial services held at the Grace Presbyterian church Sunday afternoon for Sgt. Robert W. Henderson.

Sgt. Henderson, the son of Sgt. and Mrs. George Henderson, was reported missing in action in Tunisia on Feb. 17, 1943, and was listed as dead by the war department on Feb. 18, 1944. His father has just returned from the Aleutian islands and is on furlough pending taking up of his new assignment. Mrs. Henderson resides at the Fintel apartments.

Dr. Louis E. Watson, pastor of the Broadway Methodist church, gave the memorial address, representing the American Legion.

Organ music was furnished by Viola Bishop and solos were sung by Fred Hays. Representatives of the V. F. W. folded and presented the flag. Taps were sounded by Courtland Fisher. Colors of both the American Legion and the Veteran of Foreign Wars were displayed.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Monday, May 15, 1944, Page 5

Henderson Died in Africa Battle
Victim of Enemy Rifle Fire in Fight

Sgt. Robert Henderson, son of Cpl. and Mrs. George Henderson, who has been reported missing and presumably dead, ever since the battle of Kasserine pass in Africa, when most of the 3rd battalion of the 168th infantry was lost or taken prisoner, died of enemy rifle fire. Mrs. Henderson has learned from 2nd Lt. Carn A. Godsey, now a prisoner in Germany, who was first sergeant of Company L, at the time of the battle.

In a letter to Mrs. Hendeson, Lt. Godsey, who apparently did not know of his promotion to an officer, described young Henderson’s death and in battle.

Godsey’s letter follows:

“My Dear Mrs. Henderson:

“Received your letter today asking me for information in detail of Bob’s death. Since you have been notified officially by the war department, I feel I can freely give it.

“Bob was platoon sergeant of his own old platoon. While strengthening his forward position the morning of Feb. 16, 1943, the third day of the battle of Mt. Kassira, Faid Pass, Tunisia, he was instantly killed by enemy rifle fire, as was also the company aid man, who went with him. Bob was my company’s first casualty of that battle.

“I lost several of my boys, Mrs. Henderson. You may rest assured that Bob went out like a true soldier and that is the highest compliment I can pay any man.

“We buried him at nightfall where he fell. His wrist watch will be brought to you personally by Sgt. Gordon Shannon who helped bury him.

“Bob was still the sunny good, clean boy that you gave to his and our country, and to me, as you already knew he was as my own son. His loss was sorely felt by the entire company and his platoon especially so. You, Mrs. Henderson, have made the greatest sacrifice a woman can make for God and country, and to you I give my greatest sympathy and admiration.

1st Sgt. U. S. Army
Pow. No. 111523.”

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Thursday, August 17, 1944, Page 3

Sgt. Robert W. Henderson is buried in North Africa American Cemetery, Tunis, Tunisia. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Source: abmc.gov