Bernard was born in Wolverhampton on 20 November 1893, the son of Thomas Charles and Mary Cooksey. In 1901, they were living at the grocers shop, “Salop House”, 46 Salop Street, Bilston, along with Bernard’s sister Ethel Marie. and brother Alan Charles. On 21 March 1909, Bernard began working at the Midland Bank in Wednesbury. The family were at 26 Merridale Road, Wolverhampton, by 1911, when Bernard was listed as a bank clerk.
On 13 February 1916, Bernard enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps, later the Royal Air Force (number 22512). He became a 2nd Air Mechanic in the C Squadron. He served in France, but he survived the war.
He married Barbara B. Atkin in Dudley in 1926, and the couple had a son, James L, born in Birmingham in 1932. Bernard died in Wrexham, Denbighshire, in 1964.