Bernard Joseph Wilkinson was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 11 February 1883. Hailing from a Roman Catholic family, he was the son of Robert Wilkinson and the former Hannah Margaret Parker. He was baptised in Liverpool’s St Mary’s Church on 21 March 1883.
The earliest record of Wilkinson working at sea is in July 1901 when he was a trimmer aboard Tauric; he then went on to serve aboard Campania, Carmania, Ivernia and Saxonia.
In 1902 he married Esther Henrietta Verdin (b. 1879), with whom he had four children. The family appears on the 1911 census as residents of 8 Carolina Street in Bootle, but Bernard was not listed and was presumably at sea at the time.
In April 1912 Wilkinson was serving as a trimmer aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic. He later served with the merchant navy throughout WWI and after.
With his final address being 180 Ince Avenue, Liverpool, Bernard Wilkinson died on 22 February 1949 and was buried three days later in Anfield Cemetery (section 5, grave 1426).