Henry (Harry) JENKINS


Service Number: 1220
Enlisted: 27 October 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company)
Born: Bromley, England, 11 November 1860
Home Town: Turners Marsh, Launceston, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Launceston, Tasmania, 9 October 1942, aged 81 years
Cemetery: Carr Villa Memorial Park, Tasmania
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World War 1 Service

27 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1220, Claremont, Tasmania
20 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, 1220, Mining Corps, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '6' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ulysses embarkation_ship_number: A38 public_note: ''
20 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Sapper, 1220, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
29 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Sapper, 1220, 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company)

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"76-YEAR-OLD "DIGGER" Tasmania s Oldest Soldier's Record. Cold Shower Daily

A "Digger" in every sense of the word, because he was a member of the 3rd Tunnelling Company during the war, Mr. Henry Jenkins, who will be 77 next Armistice Day, is believed to be Tasmania's oldest living returned soldier. Though he enlisted when he was 55, and saw three and a half years of active service in France, he enjoys good health, and still has his cold shower at 6 a.m. every day.

Mr. Jenkins has been a resident of the newly established War Veterans' Home at Launceston for nearly two months, and no one is more entitled to partake of the comforts provided by this institution for ageing returned men. He was born at Bromley in Kent, England, on November 11, 1860, exactly 58 years before the Armistice was signed. He arrived in Adelaide on June 28, 1884, and landed in Tasmania 11 years later. He was engaged in farming for many years. He enlisted in the Mining Battallan in 1915, and was drafted into the 3rd Tunnelling Company in France, He saw three and half years of active service without missing any duties, and was in uniform from the time he enlisted till he received his discharge. From the middle of 1917 till the Armistice he was attached to the quarter-master's staff with his company.

Mr. Jenkins' eldest son, who was attached to the 26th Battalion of Signallers, was killed in action in France in 1916. He was buried at Ration Farm cemetery, one and a half miles south of Armentlers. When it was suggested to Mr. Jenkins that he was, perhaps, too old to attend the dawn service in the Royal Park tomorrow, he scoffed at the idea. "Why should I not attend?" he said. "I am under the cold shower at 6 a.m. every day, and I might attend the dawn service on Sunday."

The veteran soldier said he was happy in his new home, and he had formed a firm friendship with the other four residents." - from the Hobart Mercury 24 Apr 1937 (nla.gov.au)


"Oldest Digger of Last War?

Said to be the oldest front line Digger of the last war, Mr. Henry Jenkins. aged 81, attended the Armistice Day service at Launceston yesterday. Enlisting in October, 1915, he was in the remounts first, and transferred to the mining battalion. In December, 1915, he went to New South Wales for final training and he left Australia in February, 1916, for France, where he served in the campaign on many fronts. Mr. Jenkins, who returned to Tasmania in May. 1919, is a native of Bromley, Kent, England. Yesterday he wore the service and victory medals." - from the Launceston Examiner 12 Nov 1941 (nla.gov.au)



The funeral of Mr. Henry (Harry) Jenkins took place at Carr Villa Cemetery on Saturday afternoon and was attended by many friends and relatives, and a number of returned soldiers, who led the cortege part of the way to the cemetery. The R.S.L. was represented by Mr. E. N. Pinkard (vice-president) and the Imperial Ex-Servicemen were represented by Mr. H. W. Hallett. The chief mourners were Mrs. H. J. Jenkins (widow), Messrs. Robert Jenkins (brother), Allan Clark (grandson), Mesdames J. Naylor, R. Clark, A. Gascoyne (daughters) and Mr. and Mrs. B. Freeman (brother and sister-in-law). The casket-carriers were Messrs. F. L. Storay, A. V. Fleming, W. Mackrill and C. Viney, all members of the R.S.L. Many floral tributes were received, including those from the Women's League of Remembrance, inmates of the Anzac Veterans' Home, president, committee and members of the R.S.L., Launceston sub-branch. The services at the funeral parlour and at the graveside were conducted by Pastor F. T. Morgan, of the Church of Christ. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. C. T. Finney." - from the Launceston Examiner 12 Oct 1942 (nla.gov.au)