David Jenkins was born during 1887 at Cefn Cribbwr, Bridgend in Glamorganshire, the son of William and Margaret Jenkins, with an elder sister named Margaret Anne Jenkins. The 1901 census records his father as miner, and the 14-year old David as a grocer’s assistant; the extended family, including William Watkins, engaged to Margaret and living in the Jenkins’ household, are listed as speaking both English and Welsh.
David Jenkins graduated from St Paul’s Missionary College, Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire (also known as Burgh Theological College), in 1905. This college was formally associated with Durham University, and as its students were entitled to Durham degrees Jenkins then matriculated at Durham University in the Easter Term of 1909, studying for a Licentiate in Theology. He was at first unattached to any college, but later joined University College. He graduated on 7 December that same year.
Jenkins was made a deacon by the Bishop of Llandaff in 1910, and was ordained priest by the Bishop of St Asaph for Llandaff in 1911. He served as Curate of Newcastle with Laleston and Tythegston between 1910 and 1912, and then Curate of St Augustine’s, Penarth with Lavernock, 1912-1915, before moving to Derby as Curate of St John’s Church in the diocese of Southwark from 1915. It is likely that in this period Jenkins became a freemason, as he is listed as belonging to the Chatsworth Lodge, Derbyshire.
Following an interview with Bishop Taylor Smith, who described Jenkins as a “good sort”, he was appointed as a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces on 12 February 1918, apparently serving his entire army career at Horton War Hospital in Epsom. In November 1918 he became engaged to Jane Anne Mosley, the daughter of a clergyman from Derby. However, on 6 March 1919 David Jenkins died, aged 32, at Horton War Hospital, as a result of influenza. He left £165 14s 4d to his sister Margaret Watkins, now married to William who also served as his administrator. During the thirteen months he worked at the hospital, he is described as becoming a “popular and well-liked member of staff”. Jenkins is buried at St James’ Churchyard, Pyle, near Bridgend, Glamorganshire. He is commemorated on a plaque in the chapel of the (former) Horton Hospital, and in Durham University’s Roll of Service (1920).