Herbert Jenkins was born in 1891, the youngest of five children to George and Amelia Jenkins. George was a domestic gardener, and the family lived in the Somerset village of Yatton next to the Prince of Orange public house. Amelia helped make ends meet, by working as a seamstress and upholsterer.
Amelia passed away in 1909, and it was around his time that Herbert felt the calling of military service. He enlisted as a Private in the Royal Marines Light Infantry on 17th September 1909.
Sadly, little documentation remains about Private Jenkins’ naval service, although the 1911 census gives his location as the Stonehouse Barracks in Devon.
Herbert’s family life held a series of highs and lows. His father George died in 1915, and he went on to marry Blanche Elvins, a bootmaker’s daughter from Bristol, the following year. Sadly, however, she passed away in December 1918, and Herbert was alone again.
By this time, the Great War was over, although Private Jenkins was still serving. He was assigned to HMS Warspite, which had fought, and been damaged, in the Battle of Jutland. While there is no evidence that Herbert had been on board during the skirmish, this is the last vessel on which he served.
As with his military career, details of Herbert’s passing are lost to time. All that is known is that he died in Bristol on 24th August 1919 and that the cause was ‘disease’. He was just 27 years of age.
Herbert’s next of kin was his sister Jennie; she brought him back to his home town of Yatton to be buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church.