© Helvellyn Consulting 2021
Gunner Bernard Mulligan
98143, "D" Battery 81st Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Born about 1893 Penrith. Died 5th August 1916 Liverpool Aged 23
Son of Patrick and Mary Ann Mulligan , Friar Street & Drovers Lane Penrith
Goalkeeper for Ullswater Football Club
(Patrick) Bernard Mulligan was born in Penrith around 1893, the youngest child of Patrick and Mary Ann Mulligan. His father, an agricultural labourer, had been born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland and his mother in Liverpool. They had married around 1876 and lived in Penrith from at least 1879, originally in Friar Street, which is where in 1880, Bernard’s eldest sister Mary had been born. Another sister Margaret followed the next year, and by 1891 they had been joined by a son, James (born c.1884) and sister Agnes (1888). By 1901 the family was living in Drovers Lane Penrith. Mary and Margaret had left home but James was there, now working as a plumbers apprentice, alongside sister Agnes (working as a domestic nurse) and young Bernard. By 1911 James had also left home, leaving Bernard with his parents and sister Agnes, not working as a shop assistant. By now 18 year old was a Painters apprentice with Mr G Smiley in Penrith. Sadly the next year in October 1912 his mother died.
Bernard was a keen footballer, playing as a goalkeeper for both Greenholme Rovers near Tebay and for Ullswater Rovers in Patterdale. He was playing for them when they triumphed in the replay against Appleby in the Penrith and District Cup of April 1914, which Ullswater won 3-
By the time war was declared Bernard was a qualified painter working for Messrs J & W Scott in Penrith. He enlisted on the outbreak of war alongside many of his teammates including William Stockdale and joined the Royal Field Artillery, ending up in D Battery of the 81st Howitzer Brigade.
We do not have any detailed records of Bernard war service, but we know from his medal card that he arrived in France on the 22nd July 1915. It is likely that his battery provided artillery support for many of his tea mates who were serving in the infantry, and may well have joined up with team mate Alfred Herd, who also served in the Howitzer Brigade of the RFA. . On the 5th July 1916 Bernard received a severe shrapnel wound between his thigh and hip and in the stomach, possibly during the Somme offensive. After initial treatment at a casualty clearing station he was transferred to the Fazakerley Military Hospital in Liverpool. He underwent several operations and at the end of July, one of his sisters, by now Mrs Callan, received a telegram to say that his condition was “dangerous”. However a subsequent letter stated that he was “slightly improving but not out of danger”. Tragically this proved to be a false hope, as his conditioned worsened and on Saturday 5th August 1916 he died in hospital.
His funeral took place in Penrith on Wednesday 10th August 1916 with full military honours. He was the first Penrith soldier to be brought home for interment and his funeral was well attended by a large number of local people. It was described in The Herald on the following Friday as follows:
The paper also listed the wreaths left at his grave, including one saying simply “To dear Bernard from his sorrowing dad and sisters”. There were also many tributes from his friends and fellow soldiers, including one saying “In affectionate and loving remembrance of a true pal from Gunner GA Chapelhow, Sapper H Chapelhow, and Bombadier Arthur Hedley, Penrith”. He was buried at Penrith Cemetery.
We have so far been unable to find out what happened to his siblings or when his father died. It is likely that his brother James also served in the Army given that he was not as his brothers funeral. If you can add anything to Bernard’s story please contact us.
The Ullswater Rovers Football Team in 1914. Bernard is the goalkeeper -
Bernard’s Medal Card.