Adrien Henry was born on March 11, 1888, at Lacroix-sur-Meuse to a humble family of farmers.
He started taking care of the family farm at a very tender age. In 1909, he was called up to serve in the Nancy 69th line infantry unit. He emerged overall first in his batch in the training of officer cadets. When the war broke out in 1914, he got enlisted into the 161st line infantry unit. Since he was very poor, he could neither buy the officer’s uniform nor take part in reserve periods, so he decided to revert to an ordinary soldier.
He fought in all the major battles of the War, notably those of Argonne, la Champagne, Verdun, la Somme, and le Chemin des Dames. Wounded fourteen times during the war, and sprayed with gas, he decided to re-enlist into the infantry where he experienced other new horrible adventures like being buried alive in a sap, though he ultimately dragged himself out and escaped. Captured at Verdun, he again succeeded to escape despite a serious leg injured. Captain Henry subsequently participated in the French military expedition to Poland and Ukraine to fight the Bolsheviks. He also fought in the Ruhr and Saar occupations.
Transferred to the gendarmerie, he was sent to Chalons sur Marne. He subsequently became the commander of the Indre gendarmerie. In 1940, he and his men fought at Châteauroux, till the amnesty. He was put on retirement, without consultation, and sent to the prefecture where he had access to top intelligent information which he communicated to his partisans, and carried out serious resistance activities.
It was at Commercy, in Lorraine, in his family that Colonel Henry finally retired and devoted his time thereafter to ex-servicemen associations, till his death in 1963. This great veteran, who leaves behind memories of an extraordinary, upright, courageous and volunteer serviceman, was holder of several decorations, prominent among which were:
Grand officer of the Legion of Honour
First World War Cross
Second World War Cross
Overseas Operations Cross
First World War volunteer servicemen cross
Second World War volunteer servicemen cross
Resistance volunteer servicemen cross
A square In his Lorraine hometown has been named after him. In 2012, the 118th batch of Melun École des officiers de la gendarmerie nationale (EOGN) was baptized “Colonel Henry” in memory of this brave soldier. Memories of Colonel Henry, a biographical account of his participation in the two world wars, written by Frédéric, his grandson, was published by Editions Ysec entitled: "Un Meusien au coeur des deux guerres" .