Thomas James Comber

1852-1887. Baptist pioneer missionary. Born at Camberwell, London, he was baptized in 1868 and studied at Spurgeon's College evening classes and Regent's Park College. Accepted by the Baptist Missionary Society, he sailed for the Cameroons (1876), meeting Alfred Saker* en route. With George Grenfell* he was appointed to the proposed Congo Mission which followed H.M. Stanley's explorations. They established a base at San Salvador (1878). His wife died one month after arriving in Africa. After several attempts, Stanley Pool was reached, and mission stations established at Wathen and, on Stanley's advice, at Leopoldville. Comber and Grenfell explored the Congo River as far as Liboko on the mission steamer Peace. Many missionaries died, including Comber's brother and sister, and eventually he himself succumbed to fever in his thirty-fifth year.