Bernard Hands was born in Killeshandra 1, Co Cavan, Ireland around 1858. He was the son of Bernard Hands, a peddlar, and Mary Maguire and he reportedly had five sisters 2.
Bernard later crossed the Irish sea and was married in West Derby, Lancashire in 1888 to Eliza Jemima Halford (b. 1865 in Preston, Lancashire) although the couple are not believed to have had any children.
Bernard and his wife appear on the 1891 census living at 21 Primrose Road, Bootle and he was described as a stoker. His wife later passed away in early 1899 aged 33 and Bernard apparently never remarried. His movements over the next years are hard to trace as he appears on no further census records, apparently being at sea.
When he signed on to the Titanic, in Southampton on 6 April 1912, he gave his local address as St Michael's House, the Sailor's Home. His previous ship had been the Oceanic. As a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6.
Bernard Hands died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.