Bernard Clifford Isaacs: Second Lieutenant

Bernard was born in Brighton in 1891. From the 1901 census record, we know a little about his family life.

His father was Moss Isaacs who was born in September 1861 in London. Moss was a money lender who married Sarah ‘Rita’ Jacobs in 1886. Bernard’s mother Sarah was born in Norwich, Norfolk in December 1862.

Bernard had an elder sister, Ray Lillian who was born in Brighton in 1888.

1901 Census sourced from Ancestry.co.uk

Bernard’s mother Sarah died on 11th October 1903 aged 27 years old. Bernard’s father Moss remarried a Davina Symmons in July 1906. This ceremony took place in Marylebone, London.

From the 1911 census, we can see how the family life changed for the Isaacs at 28, New Church Road, Hove. Bernard was working as a Clerk to a money lender. This could have meant Bernard worked for his father who himself was a money lender. 

Listed in the household is Moss, Davina, Ray, Clifford along with some new additions to the family. Alfred Symmons is residing in the household, born in London and a motor engineer by trade but not currently in employment. Alfred is listed as the step-son of Moss, although Davina is listed as having no children. Also living in the household are two servants, Ellen Masters, a domestic cook, and Margaret Wilkinson, a domestic housemaid. 

1911 Census sourced from Ancestry.co.uk

Bernard’s military service began after his enlistment on 14 November 1915. He began as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers. The below document outlines he served with the Royal Fusiliers until 19th May 1916 when he received a commission to be a 2nd Lieutenant on 25th September 1916. This four month gap between these dates was possibly a training period. 

Commission Record: Ancestry.co.uk

Bernard’s rise to 2nd Lieutenant is confirmed by the London Gazette. In their issue on 24th October 1916, Bernard is listed as being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant for the 89th Company of the Machine Gun Corps.

London Gazette: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29798/page/10290

The late months of 1916 proved busy for Bernard who married Helen Daney in Fulham. The marriage is registered for the Oct-Nov-Dec period, meaning Bernard must have been granted a period of leave during this time. 

Bernard died of wounds on 1 August 1917, aged 26. He is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery in France. Inscribed on his graves are the words ‘to the honoured and ever loving memory of our darling boy,’ an inscription chosen by his wife. 

Unlike most cemeteries, the headstones at Wimereux Communal Cemetery are laid flat. This is due to the sandy nature of the soil in this area. More information about this cemetery can be found on the CWGC website.

Bernard is also commemorated closer to home. He is listed in the Jewry Book of Honour and he is commemorated on the Brighton Hebrew Community Memorial at Meadowview Cemetery.