W.N.P. BARBELLION (1889 – 1919) was the pen name chosen by Bruce Frederick Cummings, the youngest of six children born and raised in Barnstaple, Devon, where his mother ran a sweetshop and his father was a newspaper columnist. Although a shy and reserved boy at school, he excelled at composition and joined the Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette as an apprentice reporter. In 1912 he won a sought-after post at the Natural History Museum and moved to London. Three years later, and shortly after his marriage to Eleanor Benger, he was rejected for military service in the First World War – simultaneously learning he was dying of multiple sclerosis. Continuing at the Museum until June 1917, he began editing the journal he had kept for over fifteen years. He died seven months after the Journal was published. His ashes are interred at St Mary’s, Old Basing, Hampshire.
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