Veteran Stories:
Clifton Henningsen

Army

  • Clifton Henningsen upon enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Collection courtesy of Mari-Lin Smith Miller, Mr. Henningsen's niece.

    Clifton Henningsen upon enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Collection courtesy of Mari-Lin Smith Miller, Mr. Henningsen's niece.
  • Clifton Henningsen was a strong horse-back rider. After the war, he went to Hollywood and rode in movies.

    Clifton Henningsen was a strong horse-back rider. After the war, he went to Hollywood and rode in movies.
  • Embroidered postcard from France.

    Embroidered postcard from France.
  • Studio photo of Clifton Henningsen taken while he was in Europe. With him seated in a deck chair and the background of a ship's deck, the photo is supposed to bring to mind his crossing of the Atlantic.

    Studio photo of Clifton Henningsen taken while he was in Europe. With him seated in a deck chair and the background of a ship's deck, the photo is supposed to bring to mind his crossing of the Atlantic.
  • Embroidered Christmas postcard from Clifton to his sister Olive in Montreal.

    Embroidered Christmas postcard from Clifton to his sister Olive in Montreal.
  • Clifton also sent this postcard with brithday wishes to his sister Olive. 1918.

    Clifton also sent this postcard with brithday wishes to his sister Olive. 1918.
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Transcript

I'd like to talk about my mother's older brother, Clifton Helmer Henningsen, who was born in Cambelltown, New Brunswick, and in 1896 he went overseas. He was in France and England during the First World War, and he was an expert horseman, and that's why I have pictures of him mounted. His lifelong love was of horses. He eventually ended up in California, in the movie industry, and what was very interesting – he did the riding in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" for Gary Cooper. My uncle looked quite a bit like Gary Cooper, except Uncle Cliff was a small man and Gary Cooper was much taller.

He was the type of man who was quite silent. He didn't talk about his war years, but I know he had 'trench feet', and his wife (my aunt) said that, of all things, she cured these feet with Vicks Vaporub.

That's about all I can tell you about Uncle Cliff. The postcards that he sent home that I have, he sent to my aunt. As I said, he came back to Montreal for a while and then went out and worked the harvest, and then went out to California. But his last few years he spent in Vegas. He just loved to gamble, but he allowed himself about twenty dollars a day to play bingo.

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