Henderson's Boys are a group of young operatives for British Military Intelligence.
Organized and run by Charles Henderson as the Nazi invasion of France takes full force, it was not created as a planned effort but came about organically, largely forced upon him by circumstances. Henderson, though not intending at first to use young people in dangerous operations, finds several such people thrust upon him and since he was working behind enemy lines and they were with him, they got involved.
As the series begins, Henderson is assigned to the British Embassy ostensibly as an attache but really a member of Section E, a branch of Naval Intelligence called the Espionage Research unit, specializing in finding out what the enemy had in the way of technology. He is described as a stocky man with a scruffy bears, good looking but a bit stand-offish and brusk, the latter being more a result of tensions than inclination.
Some of the instruction that Henderson received during his training course a few years before was quite adamant about the use of civilians, especially children. "The intelligence manual said that children were physically weak, untrustworthy, unable to handle stress and liable to panic or scream." He believed it then and continued to do so until life showed him that it was not necessarily so.
The first juvenile that Henderson has thrust into his hands is Marc Kilgore, a 12-year old boy abandoned at birth and living in an orphanage an hour's drive north of Paris. It was on a farm and growing up cleaning cow pens of their daily allotment of muck was how he lived his days until he had enough and ran away. His timing was poor as he arrived in the capital shortly after the Germans. He was hiding out in an apparently abandoned apartment when the Gestapo came looking for its former resident, Henderson. A bloody altercation later and the two became an impromptu team.
Others would follow. Paul, age 11, and Rosie, age 13, Clarke, would be next, when their father, a single parent, is killed while trying to get them out of Paris. Slowly, the cadre would grow.
Henderson would learn quickly that while some children might be as he was told, scared and prone to outbursts, others were not and could go where adults would be suspected and watched. They could listen and observe and, with training, report back. They could also learn to fight to survive when necessary and in war, it was often necessary.
After the War, Henderson would formalize his experiences into a cohesive, planned organization which would become known as CHERUB. During the War, however, the kids that would work for him were known just as Henderson's Boys.