The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster
 

People on board

Thomas Bernard

BERNARD, Thomas

Thomas George Bernard was born in Summerhill in the Dublin City parish of St Thomas on 25 July 1878. Both his parents, Henry Orange Bernard and Susan Jane Millar were from Church of Ireland families in the area. Henry was a ‘Government Officer’ on the marriage certificate, and a ‘Clerk’ on all future birth certificates. Thomas was the eldest of nine children, five of whom were alive in 1911. The family was in Glasgow in 1891 where Henry’s occupation in the census was ‘Iron Planer’ and Thomas, aged twelve, was a ‘Doctor’s Shop Boy’. A daughter was born then in Glasgow, but the family had returned to Dublin by the time of the birth of another child in 1892. The family moved frequently in Dublin, living in Phibsborough Road, Henrietta Street, Sheriff Street and Summerhill.

In 1900 Thomas married Rosanna Moore in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin and in the 1901 census they were living in one room in Rutland Street and Thomas’s occupation was a Baker. Their first child, Henry, was born there in 1901, followed by Brigid 1903, Ellen 1905 (she died at the age of three), and James 1907.

By 1908 they had moved to Summer Row, a three roomed-cottage in the same area, where Thomas was born in 1909 and then two more girls, Susan 1911 and Rosanna 1914.

Thomas enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 22 August 1914 and was promoted to Corporal a year later and then posted to the 69th Field Ambulance in France. In a mobile front line medical unit he could have been a nursing or general orderly, a stretcher bearer or cook, all the time close to the front line. In March 1916 he was given ten days military detention and had his rank reduced to Private for “drunkenness while on active service”. Thomas’s younger brother John served with the Royal Army Service Corps. In 1918 Thomas was with the 20th Company RAMC and was presumably returning to England from a rest period at home on 10 October.

Home at that time was 1 North Richmond Street, not far from where the family had been living. Thomas did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and is buried in the military cemetery in Grangegorman. A notice of his death was published in the Irish Independent on 15 October, and he is remembered on the Irish National Roll of Honour. Rosanna received his Star and Victory medal several years later. She died in 1958, aged seventy-nine.

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