Bernard Cassidy was born in Newry, County Down, Ireland in 1856, the son of Thomas and Catherine Cassidy. In 1899 he married Elizabeth Hanley, who was known as 'Eliza', and in 1915 they lived at 26 Exeter Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, England.
He engaged as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania, at Liverpool, on 12 April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d (£6.50), £1-0s-0d of which he was advanced at the time. He reported for duty on board five days later in time for the liner’s last ever departure from the River Mersey. He had served on the liner in the ‘Black Gang‘ before.
The liner crossed the Atlantic Ocean to New York without incident and left there on the early afternoon of 1 May for the return voyage to Liverpool. Six days out on the afternoon of 7 May she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20, within sight of The Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland. At that time she was only about 250 miles away from the safety of her home port.
Fireman Cassidy was killed as a result of this action and his body was never recovered and identified afterwards. As a consequence he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 59 years when he was killed, although he gave his age as 54 years when he engaged.
In August 1915 his widow Eliza was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service on the
Lusitania’s last voyage, which was reckoned from 17 April until 8 May, 24 hours after the vessel had foundered. In addition The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted a yearly pension to Eliza Cassidy to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £33-7s-1d (£33.35½) payable at the rate of £2-15s-8d (£2.78) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR 13/24.