Career : 1940 and 1945
Debut: Round 6, 1940 vs Fitzroy, aged 23 years, 20 days
Carlton Player No. 554
Games : 6
Goals : 0
Last Game : Round 6, 1945 vs Collingwood, aged 28 years, 14 days
Guernsey No. 34
Height : 174 cm (5 ft. 8 in.)
Weight: 79 kg (12 stone, 6 lbs.)
DOB : 12 May, 1917
Born in Birmingham UK, Bernard Alfred ‘Bernie’ Bignell came to Australia as a child and grew up in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Northcote. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he was a prominent player for Mantons – a company that fielded a team in one of the industrial and commercial leagues that were flourishing at that time. He had originally played for Northcote High School.
In 1940, Bernie found his way to Carlton, and turned out for the seniors for the first time in a 14-point win over Fitzroy at Princes Park in round six. Bignell played in a back pocket that afternoon, alongside Frank Anderson at full-back, and Jim Park. He was either injured or omitted the following week, but did return for two more games before the season wound up with Carlton just missing out on a finals berth.
Bernie signed up for military service after that, and was posted away to do his bit for the war effort. He didn’t get back to Princes Park until 1945, where he found his number 34 guernsey waiting. He played on a half-back flank in another narrow win over Fitzroy in his comeback game, but only made two more appearances before finishing up after a 25-point loss to Collingwood at Victoria Park in May.
Bignell passed away on the 19th June, 1967 aged 50.