John Bernard Pye Adams was born in Beckenham in Kent, England on 15th November 1890. His parents were Harold and Georgina Adams.
Educated initially at Clare House School in Beckenham, Bernard went on to Malvern College before going up to St. John’s College, Cambridge to study Classics. He was awarded a prize for one of his odes written in Latin and gained a First Class Honours Degree.
Described by a former teacher as a “quiet and reserved” man who preferred “writing to speech”, Bernard was appointed Warden and Assistant Educational Adviser at a hostel for Indian students in Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London.
In 1914, he volunteered for service in the Army and was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers with the rank of Lieutenant – before Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves joined the same Regiment.
Bernard was one of the first among the writers who enlisted to publish his memoirs of service. This was written while he was convalescing after he was wounded in the arm on the Western Front in June 1916.
“Nothing of Importance – a Record of 18 Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion, October 1915 – June 1916” was published in New York by Robert M. McBride & Co. in 1918 - the only such memoir to be published during the First World War.
While convalescing at his parents’ home in Kent, Bernard wrote about “that distant growl, that insistent mutter” of the guns in Picardy which could be clearly heard on the south coast of England.
Bernard returned to active service on the Western Front on 31st January 1917. He was gravely wounded on 26th February 1917 while leading his men in an attack near Serre Somme. Bernard died of his wounds the following day in a Field Hospital in France.
“Nothing of Importance” is available to read here https://archive.org/stream/nothingimportan00adamgoog#page/n63/mode/2up