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Person Details
Wem, Shropshire
Bernard's father Cecil Aloysius was originally from Lapford in Devon and when he was in his early 40s married his much younger wife, Beatrice Ann Davies, who was 19 years of age, in Ellesmere, Shropshire, in 1889. They went on to have 12 children. Cecil was a physician and surgeon and spent a good deal of his life in the Shropshire area including Wem where a lot of their older children including Bernard were born. The family moved to Evesham and eventually to Retford in about 1907 where their last two children were born. In 1911 they were living with their family at Rock House 59 Cobwell Road, Retford. (CWGC gives their address as Noble St., Wem, Shrewsbury, Salop.) Bernard, who had been given his fathers middle name, was born in Wem in 1894. He was married in Retford in 1918 to Mabel Morris; they were living at 47 Bridgegate, Retford. Following his death she was living at 3, Victoria Avenue, Clifton, Rotherham, Yorks.
18 Dec 1918
365498 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
Mercantile Marine Reserve
Bernard joined the Mercantile Marine Reserve and was serving as an able seaman on His Majesty's Schooner 'Vercher' and died on the 18th December 1918 whilst on board when he fell from the rigging (see newspaper report below). He is buried in Dover St James Cemetery, Copt Hill, Dover, Kent, in grave CV 23.
Dover Express - Friday 27 December 1918 'MYSTERY' SHIP SAILOR KILLED. On Friday morning last the Dover Coroner (Mr. Sydenham Payn) held an inquest on the body of A.B. Bernard A. Corke, a member of the crew of H.M.S. "Vereker." one of the "mystery ships", who fell from aloft on Wednesday morning. The deceased's home was 47 Bridegate, Retford, Notts. Lieut. Colin Gow, R.N.R., said that the body was that of A. B. Bernard A. Corke, who was on the witness's boat, and his age was about 25 years. On Wednesday morning the vessel was to the west of Beachy Head. The weather was dirty, and there was a strong wind blowing. At about 2.30 it became necessary take in the topsail and the deceased was sent aloft to do it. Witness saw him go up. How long after you saw the deceased go up was it before you heard of the accident?:- About two minutes. The first I knew of it was when I saw the other man rushing down the rigging on the other side and shouting, "Man overboard!" I went to the wheel and sent the helmsman forward to see what he could do. I then learnt that the deceased was lying on the deck. I sent for Lieut. Jones, but I think that the deceased was dead. He was a very careful man, who always did his work well. He had been with me for about ten months. To take in the sail the deceased had to stand on a foot rope and haul up the sail. It would be very easy to lose his hold and slip. The height he fell from was about 60ft. The vessel had left port the previous day, and everything was in good order. The deceased was a good seaman, but he went aloft in his seaboots. It was evident that nothing in the rigging had given way. The deceased had been on deck since midnight. Jack Wheeler said: I am an A.B. on H.M.S. "Vereker." On Wednesday morning, at 2.30, the deceased and I were ordered aloft to take in the topsail. Deceased was first to go up, and he went up the weather rigging and crossed over to the lee yard, and I went up the weather yard. Did he say anything to you?:- The deceased passed a remark about the canvas being wet and stiff and hard to get in, and I myself found it so. We had just commenced, when, looking round, I saw the deceased slip between the foot-rope and the yard, and I then lost sight of him. The Coroner, in summing up, said that it was very sad for a young fellow be killed in that manner. He returned a verdict of death from misadventure." Research reveals the Vereker, was a 3-masted schooner Q-ship, (Q 14) also known as Viola and Violetta
Remembered on