Henry Cummings was born in the village of Wembdon, near Bridgwater in Somerset in 1876. The son of agricultural labourer John and his wife Jane, Henry was one of six children.
When he left school, Henry followed his father into agricultural labouring, as his older siblings had done before him. Jane had died when Henry had just reached his teens, so he continued to live with his widowed father, and was recorded there as late as the 1911 census.
On 4th August 1912, he married Sarah Palmer in Wembdon Parish Church; Henry was 36 by this point, and his new wife was 30. They couple may not have thought they could have children, as they went on to adopt a girl, Edith, who was six years old when they had married.
From a military perspective, it appears that Henry had initially tried to enlist in 1908. Based on his service records, it seems that he was not accepted at that point, but when war broke out, things were a different matter. He joined the Army Service Corps on 6th January 1915, attaining the rank of Sergeant.
Henry’s service was to be cruelly short, at just 85 days. Hospitalised in Rugby, Sergeant Cummings passed away from cerebrospinal meningitis on 6th April 1915. He was 38 years old.
Henry Cummings was brought back to Bridgwater for burial, and lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery there.
In September 1915, Sarah gave birth to a baby girl, Irene. Henry was never to see his little girl, and, tragically, may not even have known he was to be a father.