Crew Details

169578, Leading Seaman, Royal Navy
HMS Monmouth

George Bernard was born in Belfast on 23 May 1875, and enlisted in RN as Boy 2nd Class (HMS Caledonia) on 1 February 1895 under the false name of 'John Smith' and giving a false birthday of 14 May 1877. In 1901, just prior to his marriage to Kate Harris, he requested that his correct name of Bernard be entered on his record, but that his false Christian name and false date of birth be retained - hence he appears in the RN records, and on the Plymouth Naval War Memorial as J. Bernard. When he left home, 8 John Lane, Plymouth, to join HMS Monmouth on 30 July 1914, he left behind a wife and six children, with ages ranging from 11 years to a baby of two months.

His widow was eventually awarded a pension of £1 19s.11d per week - every Friday she used to hand over one penny to the Paymaster and received two gold sovereigns. Two of the sons were put into a Seamans' Orphanage in Brixham, and Kate worked in the Ropery at Devonport Dockyard to make ends meet.

There is a memorial to the men of HMS Monmouth in the Priory Church of St. Mary in Monmouth. It consists of an altar screen, and was dedicated on 4 February 1996. The Memorial Screen was unveiled by Mrs. Ivy Rook, daughter of Chief Petty Officer Thomas Rees, Chief Stoker of HMS Monmouth. All the relatives of those who died who could be traced were invited to the ceremony, which was attended by the officers & ratings of HMS Monmouth (1991) and 4 Royal Marine buglers.

Details supplied by Alan W Pearce (Great-Newphew of George)