Humphrey J. Sankey, forester, came to South Africa from England in 1904 to take up an appointment as a probationer in the Forest Division, Department of Agriculture, of the Orange River Colony (now the Free State). He had been considered for a similar appointment in the Forest Division of the Transvaal Colony at the same time. In August 1904 he started his duties at Harrismith. There he collected plants which he sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Londeon, and for which he was later thanked by W. Thiselton-Dyer* in the preface to Volume 4.1 of the Flora Capensis (1909).
In 1906 Sankey was sent to the Cape Colony for training at the South African School of Forestry at Tokai, which functioned under the auspices of the South African College, Cape Town. After completing his two year training course he was appointed as district forest officer in 1908 and served as temporary forester at the Alexandria plantation in the Eastern Cape. In 1913 he accepted a transfer to colonial employment as a forester in Nigeria. Later he farmed in Kenya. The species Argyrolobium sankeyi and Disa sankeyi were named after him.