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Bernard White was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, the son of Harry and Ellen Alice White (nee Moulder). In 1901 he appears with his parents at 179 Leicester Street, along with his brother Frank Leslie and a servant, Amy L. Higgins. By 1911, Bernard has gained a sister Dorothy, and the family were listed at the same address. Interestingly, an Amy Ellen Higgins was listed as a “Visitor” on the 1911 census.

On 19 June 1915, Bernard married Kathleen Evans at Wolverhampton Registry Office, and the couple went on to have six children – Mary, Norman, James, Iris, Florence and Margaret – between 1919 and 1929. On 13 February 1917 at the age of 24, Bernard enlisted in the Royal Engineers (number 241442). The reason he did not enlist earlier is included in his military service records, as there is a copy of a letter dated 12 February 1917 from Guy Motors Limited. He was employed as a plasterer, and his employers had applied to the Ministry of Munitions “with a view to retaining him for the present”. The letter states that he was due at the Guy Motors works next week “in connection with the making of granolithic floors in our extensions”. Clearly this appeal failed.