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Captain Carl Albert Henning of 3rd Skinner's Horse at Sialkot, India.



Carl at Budwar Tea Gardens, Bengal seated with dog - Lord Karl Smithe, plantation owner, Lady Vanessa Smithe, adopted daughter Mildred Smithe., others unknown.



Wedding group at Burdwar Tea Gardens.
L to R. Lord Bath, Helen Mary Thorpe( Gran) Carl Albert Henning(grandad) Lord Karl Smithe, Lady Vanessa Smithe, Mildred Smithe, William Blythe Henderson, Overseer,Rev. Thomas Wren, later Canon Wren of Cleethorpe.
Marriage was at Shillong Church, February 29th, 1916.



Officers & N.C.O's of Surma Valley Light Horse serving with 3rd Regt. Skinner's Horse 1914 to 1919. Carl front row Left, seated wearing Napoleon boots & spurs & glove on right hand. Medals are WW I India, & 1911-1912 Arbor expedition.(punitive campaign on Burmese border.)
Regimental photo taken at Sialkot, India.



Carl is 2nd on left, 3rd rank from front between English Sgt. & Indian Corporal.
Regimental photo taken at Sialkot, India.

Carl Albert was sent to India to employment as a tea planter at Burdwar Tea Gardens, Assam, owned by Lord Smithe. He enlisted in the Tea Planters Home Guard Regiment - the Surma Valley Light Horse and took part in the Abor punitive expedition Oct 1911 to Apr 1912caused by the murder of the British Assistant political officer, Mr Williamson , his colleague Dr Gregorson and nearly all their party of followers. Carl was serving on this expedition as a Lieutenant and afterwards had the 1922-1912 Arbor Clasp on his medal ribbon.

In January 1914 Carl joined the 3rd Regiment, Skinner's Horse and was listed as acting Captain. It seems likely that he met Helen Mary Thorpe at Shillong Races where she and her cousin Tom Thorpe won the Paperchase Cup. They married at Shillong Church 29 Feb 1916 and on 12 Jan 1917 their daughter Mary was born. Helen travelled back to England via Colombo from Calcutta in 1916 aboard the troopship SS city of Exeter shown below, arriving London on 4th Nov 1916.



Carl in Bombay 1917

Carl served with the 3rd Skinners Horse on the North West frontier until 1918 and took part inth Afghan War 0f 1919. He was discharged with a disability pension having been wounded in the foot. He returned to the Surma Valley Light Horse andthe tea gardens until 1921. At some time he was joined in India by his wife and daughter, for they all returned to England on the SS Novara arriving in LOndon on 4 Jan 1922 as second class passengers and giving their address as Howe Hall, Littlebury Green, Saffron Walden. They then settled at Elmdon Essex where they had a chicken farm and their daughter Vivian Edith was born 13 Jun 1923 and son Anthony Richard on 18 Jan 1926.

An account of Carl Albert Henning' life from 1928

In 1928 Carl Albert deserted his wife and children, and is recorded as living with his mother at 5 Crown Gardens, Gt Yarmouth. He left England with his mother's companion, Violet Harriet Rope (b 1899 d 1985), an accomplished horsewoman who had lived in Argentina and had served in the VAD in WW1.

They joined Sarassini's circus in Munich, Germany and had a son, John Standley Henning who was born at Munichaim, Traunstein, Bayern 29 Jul 1929. John's birth certificate lists Carl Albert as an elephant trainer.

In August 1831 They travelled to USA, and Carl Albert described himself as Captain Carl Henning. During his time in USA Carl persuaded some members of the Sioux tribe to join the circus. They returned on 11 Dec 1931 when their last place of permenent residence was given as Germany and Carl's occupation was circus agent.

According to Violet's diaries, Carl's membership of the Buccaneer Club in Berlin (the Diplomats' Club) was paid by the MOD, and it is clear that he was gathering intelligence for the War Office during his touring in Germany with the circus. Then he was told by a German Army Officer that it was time to get out of Germany.

In 1932 Carl and Violet were at Kingston, Kent where a second son was born in December of the same year - Phillip G Henning and in March 1934 a daughter, Sylvia A Henning was born in Leeds. Carl and Violet were married in 1933 at Acle, Norfolk.

The following year, Carl was a flight lieutenant in the RAF at Middle Wallop, Herts. He was involved in the interrogation of captured German aircrew. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Major, stationed at L├╝denscheid, Ruhr, Germany,

Many thanks to Perry Broad for this information

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