23rd May 1898
Bernie was born possibly in or around Berlin, but certainly in Prussia, his mother was from Konigsberg, East Prussia. In “Field Grey” he claimed to have been born in 1896 further confirmed by being 47 in “The Lady from Zagreb”. But he was 38 in the first book “March Violets” and 43 in “Prague Fatale” and I have relied on these earlier novels.
He visited the Konigsberger Tiergarten Zoo in Konigsberg, East Prussia (TOSOS) when visiting his grandparents. The Zoo had been opened in the year of Bernie’s birth.
He obtained his Abitur (school certificate) and would have gone to University if not for the war (PF/PB), so probably in 1914.
Bernie fought on both the Turkish and Western Fronts in WW1, he finished with the rank of Sergeant (MV). He was promoted to Sergeant twice, he lost his stripes the first time for criticising his officer (PB). He won the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Great War Participation Medal with swords and wounds badge (FG).
He volunteered for the army in August 1914 against his father’s wishes (AMWB). After three months training he was sent to the Turkish Front sometime in late 1914. He was probably at his full height of 190 cm (6 feet 2 inch) when he volunteered, blue eyed and blonde.
Whilst in Turkey he was bitten by a mosquito which left a circular smooth area of skin on his face (MV).
He was shelled in the trenches and this was more likely to be on the Western rather than the Turkish Front. This was also probably where he received the small scar on his forehead caused by a price of shrapnel (MV). He was possibly at the Battle of Verdun (21st February to 18th December 1916) as he mentions the battle in a desire to return to this area (PB).
During this time he bayonetted a Canadian soldier (PF).
23rd August 1918
At the Battle of Amiens he shot an Australian in the Battle of Amiens. Bernie is either mistaken about this date as the main battle was over by this time or it happened when the Germans were in a defensive position (AQF).
December to spring 1919
Bernie would have been demobilised from the army during this period.
Mid May 1919
Bernie met his first wife, who was never named, but was born in 1898 (MV).
He married his first wife at the Dankes Church (Church of Thank), Wedding Platz, Berlin (FG). They honeymooned in Konigsberg, East Prussia, they stayed at his grandparent’s villa on the Upper Pond (OSOS). He purchased an ALBA 200 motorcycle soon after his marriage as his mode of transport.
13th March 1920
Bernie’s first wife died of Spanish influenza on the same day as the Kapp Putsch (MV). He claimed at various other times she died in 1918, December 1920 and 1922.
He worked as a Civil Servant (MV).