Bernard F. McNamara was born and raised in the Brighton section of Boston, MA. His wife, Mary Swift, sailed to Ellis Island alone at 16 from Williamstown, County Galway, Ireland. Mary’s parents sent her to live with cousins in Boston due to the financial hardships her family and much of Ireland endured at the time.
Bernard joined the Boston Fire Department on October 14, 1903. Stationed at 16 Harvard Ave in Allston, he served as a Hoseman with Engine Company 41 Ladder 14. He died in 1934 at the age of 59 from pneumonia after being soaked while fighting a winter fire. Bernard McNamara proudly served this community for over 30 years.
This firefighter line of duty fatality occurred before the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in Emmitsburg, Maryland. While this firefighter has not been officially honored at the Memorial site, there are plans to do so when resources are available.