CEF Soldier Detail

Honorary Captain Julia Wilmotte Henshaw
Died: November 18, 1937

Regimental Number:
Survived War:
British Army
Royal Army Medical Corps
British Red Cross Society
Place of Birth:
Next of Kin:
Charles Grant Henshaw, Husband, Vancouver, British Columbia
Address at Enlistment:
Date of Birth:
Trade or Calling:
Vice-President I.O.D.E.
Marital Status:
Prior Military Experience:
Not Specified
Place of Enlistment:
Date of Enlistment:
Age at enlistment:
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Not Specified
Saw service in:
Cause of Death:
Battle Died/Wounded:
Date of Death:
November 18, 1937
Age at Death:
Buried at:
Prisoner of war:
Not Specified
Ethnic Origin:
Research Notes
Researched by Marika I. Pirie
Rank Regiment Unit Company
Honorary Captain Royal Army Medical Corps British Red Cross Society

Mrs. Julie Wilmotte Henshaw (1869-1937)

According to her 1937 obituary published in the Globe in 1937,  Julia Henshaw arrived in Canada in 1891. She was married to Charles Grant Henshaw in 1887. Her maiden name was Julia Wilmotte Henerson (some sources use the spelling Wilmothe).

Julia Henshaw is today remembered as one of British Columbia's leading botanists.

Mrs. Henshaw held a captain's commission in recognition of her Red Cross Work.  In September 1916 she spoke in Banff (Alberta) on her war work.  In Canada she was national Vice-President of the I.O.D.E. and a director of the national service committee.  

Henshaw had numerous accomplishments.  She was a founder of the Georgian Club, the first women's social club in Vancouver.   In 1906 she published Mountain Wildflowers of America.   She mapped the interior of Vancouver Island in 1910 and 1911.  She was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1911.  She was also a writer for two Vancouver newspapers.

During the first World War she was awarded the Croix de Guerre with a gold star for helping to evacuate several towns under enemy fire.   According to Mainstays (link below), she was an ambulance driver during the war.   Her husband was active as a Recruiting Officer at Vancouver's Victory Square. 

The following Globe article reflects on her war work in France.  Published 28 February 1916, pg. 9:

Mrs. Julia W. Henshaw Tells of What She Saw in France.

Mrs. Julia W. Henshaw, Honorary Captain, of Vancouver, B.C., who has been in France for the past two months as Commissioner of the Canadian National Service Committee, co-operating with the Canadian War Contingent Association in the distribution of the wallets sent as Christmas presents by the women of Canada to their men in the trenches, is staying in Toronto at the King Edward for a few days on her return trip to the west.

Mrs. Henshaw reports that the wallets were very useful to the soldiers, and were regarded by them as amongst the most acceptable presents they received at Christmas time.

While in France, Mrs. Henshaw visited all the hospital areas, and saw the Canadian hospitals, which she describes as "a revelation in equipment and management."  "The work done by the Canadian Army Medical Corps and the hospital staffs is beyond criticism," said she.

"The two things which impressed me most in France," said the lady from Vancouver, "were the hospitals, and the constant smiles and cheerfulness of the French people."   "It was a great pleasure," said she, "to find the Canadian Red Cross store rooms auxiliary to each Canadian hospital in France so well supplied.  But let our women continue their great work, because any surplus that we may accumulate is very acceptable to our allies.  There is absolutely no waste." 

A Globe article entitled "Julia Henshaw dead in West Vancouver" was published on November 20th, 1937.  Transcription as follows, typo for maiden name: 

Botanist and War Worker Known to Many

Vancouver, Nov. 19 (CP).--Mrs. Julia Millmothe Henshaw, authority on native flora of British Columbia, and author of several books on the subject, died late last night at her home in the Caulfield residential area of West Vancouver.  Mrs. Henshaw, 68, had suffered from a heart ailment for some time, but had been carrying on her work as columnist and book reviewer for the Vancouver Sun.  She came here in 1891 with her husband, the late Charles Grant Henshaw, a brother of Lady Williams-Taylor of Montreal.  Born in Shropshire, England, Mrs. Henshaw brought to British Columbia a love of nature and keen knowledge of botany.  Her explorations in the Rocky Mountains in search of wild flowers brought her election as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  Her book "Wild Flowers of the North American Mountains," is one of the best-known works of its type.

In 1915, when she was conducting war work in Canada, she was gazetted as a Captain in the Canadian Army and went overseas on a special mission to distribute Christmas gifts to the troops.  She worked with Canadian, British and Red Cross societies, and when the war ended remained in Europe to assist in evacuation of the armed forces.  She was prominent in activities of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire. 


Link to portrait and additional biographical information.

Women in Botany in British Columbia.

MainStays: women who shaped B.C.

Vimy Ridge Chapter D.B.E. originally named after Julia Henshaw.

Published fiction under the name Julian Durham

Report on a speech made in Winnipeg to 3,500 women - "From Vancouver to Verdun"  Vancouver Daily Sun - 25 December 1917, pg. 4   


Researched and compiled by Marika I. Pirie.

Awards and Decorations
Croix de Guerre avec Etoile (France)
Newspaper Extract 9/30/1916 Capt. Julia W. Henshaw, Red Cross, lectures on Canadian hospitals and Red Cross work in France