Bernard Patrick Norton was born in Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland, in 1871, the youngest son of James and Elizabeth Norton. He was one of a family of eight and had six sisters and a brother. His father, James, was accidentally drowned in the River Shannon.
He was a professional merchant seaman and had made many trips across the Atlantic on the
Lusitania, bringing back many presents for his large family. He signed on as a fireman in the Engineering Department for what proved to be her very last voyage, at Liverpool, on 13th April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d, (£6.50p.). At that time he gave his home address as The David Lewis Hostel, Liverpool although he was then living at his brother’s home at 60 Byles Street, Dingle, Liverpool. He also stated that he had been born in Garston, Liverpool and was aged 38 years. Neither of these latter two facts tally either, with information given to the Imperial War Graves Commission by relatives, after his death and to the author in 1998.
He joined the ship on the morning of 17th April 1915 before she left the River Mersey for the last time and he was killed nearly three weeks later, when she was sunk. At that time, there was a balance of wages of £4-14s-0d, (£4.70p.), owing to him.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a result he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 44 years.
Some time in the 1920’s, the family received £11 compensation, apparently from the German government.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Florence Robinson, PRO BT 334.