Henry Charles Coleman was born at 6 Allen Street in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 8 September 1875 and was baptised on 17 November that year in St Chrysostom Church, Everton. He was the son of Frederick Coleman, a bookkeeper, and Elizabeth Cave, a schoolteacher and had three elder sisters. His father died when he was very young.
He initially worked as a railway clerk before going to sea. By April 1912 Coleman was serving as a waiter aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
Coleman served with the merchant fleet throughout WWI and continued working at sea for a number of years but later took land-based jobs. By 1939 he was described as a widower and living at Eastville Institution in Bristol, a workhouse.
Henry Coleman died in Liverpool in the autumn of 1951 from coronary thrombosis and asthma. He was cremated at Liverpool Crematorium on 23 November 1951.