D'O. Bernard c. 1920 aged 42
D'O Bernard was born on 2nd March 1878, the first child of
Arthur Francis and Mary L. Bernard. At that time, his father was 27 and
his mother 21 years of age, and the family lived at a house called The
Abbots in the East Devon village of Combe Raleigh, just a mile from
Honiton. Arthur had been born in nearby Sidmouth, while Mary's somewhat
more exotic birthplace was somewhere in Burma.
views of the Bernard family home in Combe Raleigh, built c. 1790 and
taken here c. 1900 when Arthur Bernard was a magistrate on the Honiton
circuit. The tower of the 15th century village church can be
seen in the background of the left hand picture.
the collection of Alfred Newton)
1880, when Henry was 2, a sister, Ruth Capel Bernard, was born, and this
small family was supported by four female servants, an indication of a
very comfortable background. The name Henry Doyly, being one of the
nobles who signed Magna Carta in 1215, also suggests the family had
historic connections or pretensions. As White's Devonshire Directory
of 1850 lists a Rev. William Bernard as being lord of the manor of Combe
Raleigh, this may well be true.
1901, he had a further three siblings, all living at home in Combe
Raleigh; Charles, 19, a lieutenant in the Lancashire Artillery, Muriel,
15, and Marjorie, 13, the household kept going with the help of a cook,
maid, parlourmaid, housemaid and kitchenmaid. However, Henry himself, now
24, had married Elionor (sic) 4 years older than himself, and who, like
his mother, had been born in India. Also, the couple had moved to London,
living at No. 36, Primrose Mansions, south of the River Thames bordering
on Battersea Park. He was a Government Clerk, working in Somerset House,
the national headquarters of registration of births, marriages and deaths.
had learned the game at home, but, as was typical of Devon's rural
communities at the time, having few opportunities for over-the-board
games, he turned to problem composition as an outlet for his new
enthusiasm. He specialised in 2-movers and made his mark in the field of
mutates, in which field he was a true pioneer and was described in his
BCM obituary as "a persistent and leading figure". He proved
"its most artistic and thematic interpreter with his glorious 1st
Prize in the Chess Amateur of 1918 - 19".
He was highly
self-critical and expected the same standards of others. On one
occasion, when acting as judge to the Western Morning News
problem competition, he famously returned all entries to the Chess
Editor, refusing to award any prize at all, deeming them all just not
worked as a civil servant in London, at one time serving at the Probate
Registry in the department of Receiver of Wills.
had suffered all his life with asthma, and later in life, to alleviate
the associated symptoms, moved to Monaco, from where he kept in close
touch with the British chess problem world. He was made a Fellow of the
British Chess Problem Society, and made several generous gifts to its
Permanent Fund, successfully avoiding any cash-for-honours scandal, and
made generous donations to other bodies, including
Henry Bernard in later life.
died in Monaco in the winter of 1954.
problems may be found today in magazines, books and newspapers around
the world, and are a lasting tribute to this true Devon Pioneer.
W. H. (Ed.) Chess
Pie No 1
Devonshire Directory 1850
House pictures from English Heritage NMR