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  • Photograph was published on 14th May 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
James Bernard's early life proved difficult to confirm but at the time he enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters in 1904 he declared that his father was dead and he gave his next of kin as his stepmother, Fanny Tongue, his stepbrother, James Tongue, and his stepsister, Winifred Tongue, all of whom lived at 55 Blackstone Street, Meadows. However, it is likely that his relationship to James and Winifred was that of half-brother and half-sister. It is probable that James Bernard - who appears to have been known as Bernard - was the son of James Tongue (b. abt. 1867, Sutton Bonington) and Emma Elizabeth Tongue nee Snow (b. abt 1861). In 1881 James Tongue (14), a hosier's assistant, was living with his widowed mother, Sarah Tongue (50), a domestic servant, and his two sisters, Eliza (29, b. Nottingham), a hosiery turner-off, and Annie (16, b. Sutton Bonington), a domestic servant, at 12 Lion Square, Nottingham. James married Emma Elizabeth Snow in Nottingham in 1883 (marriage registered Oct/Nov/Dec) and it is likely that Bernard was born in Sneinton in 1884 (birth registered Oct/Nov/Dec). His name on the Birth Index is given as Bernard Lintwhite Tongue and this is the name (Bernard L Tongue) used on the 1891 Census; no other records have been found giving these two first names. Emma died in 1888 (death registered Jul/Aug/Sep) aged 27 and James married Fanny Oliver in Nottingham in 1890 (marriage registered Oct/Nov/Dec). Fanny had been born about 1870 in Codnor, Derbyshire. In 1891 James, a fireman (railway) was living with Fanny and Bernard at 1 Mayfield Terrace, Meadows, Nottingham. It would seem that the census enumerator mistakenly recorded Bernard's age as 6 months as other evidence suggests he would have been 6 years old. James and Fanny had four children; Winifred (b. abt 1892), James (b. 4 December 1893), David (b. abt 1897) and Harold (b. abt 1899). James probably died in 1898 age 31, meaning that his youngest son, Harold, was born posthumously the following year. At the time of the 1901 census on which he was listed as 'Bernard Tongue', Bernard was a carter for a provision merchant and living at 55 Blackstone Street, Meadows, as a lodger in the household of Lizzie Oliver (26), a laundress. Also in the household was his stepmother, Fanny Tongue, who was Lizzie's sister and like her working as a laundress, and Fanny's children, Winifred (9), James (7), David (4) and Harold (2). Fanny, Winifred and James Tongue were still living at 55 Blackstone Street when Bernard enlisted in the army in 1904. However, it appears that some time after this date the family was split up. Winifred died in 1907 aged 15 and James joined the Royal Navy in 1910 having previously been in the Gordon Boys' Home, Nottingham. In 1911 Harold (12), who was still at school, was recorded on the census as a patient in an Institution in Nottingham; the residents who comprised children and adults were described as either 'inmates' or 'patients', many of the adults were in paid employment. On the same census Fanny was a live-in servant in the household of Walter Blackman, a grocer, and his family at 179 Quarry Road, Bulwell. Fanny's other son, David, has not yet been traced on the 1911 census but there is a record of the marriage of a David Tongue to Clarice Culley in Nottingham in December 1925. Bernard married Florence Gertrude Parsons (spinster) in the parish church of Nottingham on 24 December 1914 by the vicar, Rev WE Ives. At the time of her husband's death Florence was living at 1 Eleanor Terrace, Lamcote Street, Nottingham. Correspondence in her husband's service documents suggests that she later lived at 11 Rutland Terrace, Bunbury Street, Nottingham. Bernard's half-brother, Able Seaman James Tongue, was killed at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 while serving in HMS Queen Mary which was sunk by shellfire with the loss of nearly 1,300 lives.
He was a carter before enlisting in the Sherwood Foresters on 13 January 1904.
29 Apr 1915
165619 - CWGC Website
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Bernard's army service record survives although the writing on many of the documents is illegible. His service record gives his first names as 'James Bernard'. Bernard joined the Sherwood Foresters on 13 January 1904 at the age of 19 years 3 months; he joined on a 12 year engagement (3 years service and 9 years in reserve) but extended his service. He served in India from 12 December 1906-22 January 1913. According to his service record he was mobilized from Australia on 4 September 1914 and posted in December. Bernard served in the Expeditionary Force in France from 24 March 1915 and the following month on 29 April he received a shell wound to the stomach and died the same day in 18th Field Ambulance. According to his service record he was buried in the Convent at Le Bizet on 29 April; he is now buried in Strand Military Cemetery (grave ref X.H.2). He served for 11 years and 107 days. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged), 12 May 1915: 'Tongue. Corporal JB Tongue, 2nd Sherwood Foresters, 1 Eleanor Terrace, Lamcote Street, Nottingham. Came with Australian contingent. Killed April 29th. Husband of Florence Tongue, 1 Eleanor Terrace.' A second notice appeared in the Nottingham Post on 14 May 1915.
Remembered on


  • Photograph was published on 14th May 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    James Bernard Tongue - Photograph was published on 14th May 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918