Henry Travers Ommanney, civil servant, soldier and naturalist, was a son of Edward Lacon Ommanney and his wife Elizabeth, born Martin. He was educated at Cheltenham College, England, and joined the Indian civil service in 1868. In 1870 he was sent to Bombay (now Mumbai), where he later served as acting under-secretary in the Revenue Department (April 1885), acting inspector-general of police (May 1888), and member of the Hemp Drug Commission (1893-1894). He was married to Miss B.G. Brancker, and retired from the service in October 1896. During his later years in India he published two notes in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, one on a variety of Butea frondosa [a leguminous plant] (1891), the other on "A friendly bulbul" (1893-1894).
In 1901-1902, during the later part of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Ommanney served in the South African Mounted Irregular Forces with the rank of lieutenant and later captain. For some time he was stationed in the Johannesburg area, where he collected plants. Most of his specimens were presented to the British Museum (Natural History) in 1902, but he also gave some to E.E. Galpin*. His specimens in the British Museum were identified and listed by S. le M. Moore in the Journal of Botany (1902). In the same journal A.B. Rendle first described the large perennial tuber known locally as "beespatat" and named it Ipomoea ommanneyi (Family Convolvulaceae) in honour of the collector.