Monday, August 29, 2011

Pte William Mason, 4th Bn Border Regiment


(Top): High Altar, St Begh's RC Church, Whitehaven
Pte William Mason married Isabella Mason here
Date of the wedding: 7 July 1934

(Bottom): Pte William Mason, 4th Bn, Border Regiment
[Photograph courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']

Private William Mason (Service No 3596362), 4th Battalion The Border Regiment was killed in action in the Middle East in November 1941. At the time of his death Private Mason was 27 years old.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Some biographical details

Private William Mason, Service No 3596362, was born in 1914. His parents were Edward and Elizabeth Mason. On 7 July 1934, when his address is listed as 68 Central Road, Arrowthwaite (Kells), Whitehaven, William Mason married Isabella Rooney, daughter of Daniel and Margaret Rooney of 5 West Strand, Whitehaven. The marriage took place at St Begh's R.C. Church, Coach Road, Whitehaven. Best Man at their wedding was Harold Davidson and the Chief Bridesmaid was Mary Ann Rooney. Their first child, a daughter, Margaret Mason was born on 26 February 1936.

William Mason was a regular soldier with the Border Regiment for 11 years. After leaving the Army William Mason returned home to Whitehaven where he worked as a coal miner at Haig Pit, Kells, Whitehaven. At that time the family home was at 107 Windermere Road, Woodhouse, Whitehaven. With the outbreak of war, William Mason was recalled to the colours.

Relieving the siege of Tobruk (November 1941)

In late 1941 the 4th Battalion The Border Regiment was in the Middle East and had been brigaded with the 1st Buffs and a Czech battalion as the 23rd Brigade. This Brigade, together with the 14th and 16th made up the 70th Division, which was given the important task of relieving the siege of Tobruk (Libya).

Operation Crusader - the main offensive began on 18 November 1941 when the Eighth Army crossed the Egyptian frontier and advanced towards El Adem, the plan being to meet with the Tobruk forces. The break-out from Tobruk began on 20 November. By 21 November, 30th Corps and 70th Division were pinned down by artillery fire from the German 90th Light Division. Between the 21 November and the night of 3rd / 4th December, the 4th Battalion The Border Regiment was involved in heavy fighting in an area about 12 miles SE of Tobruk and 3 miles N of Sidi Rizegh.

It was during this period of the fighting, on 30 November 1941, that Private William Mason was killed in action. However, the battle resulted in the withdrawal of the German Afrika Korps and the Italians and the relief of Tobruk.

Private William Mason is now buried in Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya (Grave Ref. 3.D.6). There are almost 2,500 soldiers buried or commemorated in this cemetery, which includes Commonwealth and other Allied forces.

Monday, 29 August, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

A family remembers

The following family notices for William Mason were placed in 'The Whitehaven News' during WW2.
NB - there is a discrepancy between the date of death listed by the CWGC and that given by the family in the notices.
It would seem the family were told the date of death was 5 December 1941, rather than 30 November 1941.

(a) Notification of death
(Thursday, January 1 1942):

MASON - In December 1941, killed in action with the Middle East Forces, William, beloved husband of Isabella Mason, 107 Windermere Road, Woodhouse. Aged 27 years.

(b) 'In Memoriam'
(Thursday December 3 1942):

MASON - In loving memory of William, beloved husband of Isabell Mason, killed in action in Egypt, December 5th 1941.

'Tis just one year ago today
Since one I loved made us part this way;
But though you are miles from the ones you loved,
A strange soil beneath you, a strange sky above,
Both of us remember, and both of us care;
Your name is whispered in our prayers,
Mornings, evenings and all the year through,
Both of us, dearest, are thinking of you.

Loved always by his little daughter, Margaret, Bell, also Brothers who are serving on the Forces, also Parents and Relatives.

MASON - In loving memory of my dear son, William, who was killed in action in the Middle East, December 5th 1941.

No loved ones stood around him
To kiss him a last farewell,
But his name is written in letters of gold
In the hearts that loved him so well.

Always remembered by his loving Mother, Sisters and Brothers.

MASON - In affectionate remembrance of Willie, killed in action in the Middle East in December 1941.

Sleep on, dear Willie, in a far off land,
In a grave we will never see;
But as long as life and memory last
We will always remember you.

From Mary, Bob and Brian, also Kathleen at Preston.

MASON - In loving memory of Willie, killed in action in the Middle East, December 1941.

We are thinking of you, dear Willie,
Thinking of the past,
Picturing you in our memory
Just as we saw you last.

From Mam, Dad and Hilda, 5 West Strand, also John in the R.A.F. and Jimmie, H.M. Forces, Mary and children, also Kathleen.

(c) In Memoriam'
(Thursday December 2 1943):

MASON - In loving memory of my darling husband, William, killed in action in Egypt, December 5th 1941.

I have just got beautiful memories
Of the one I loved so dear;
We, who loved him, only know
How much we lost two years ago.

Loved always by his little daughter Margaret, and Bell. To be remembered by Brothers in Forces, also Parents and Sisters.

An epitaph for Pte William Mason and his family

When William Mason married Isabella Rooney at St Begh's Church, Whitehaven there was a sign which was hung high above them as they exchanged their vows. This sign, which still hangs above the altar steps of St Begh's Priory Church and can be seen in the above photograph. It is a symbol of light and hope even in the midst of the darkest of times.

On this sign is written the following words (in Latin) taken from the prologue to the Gospel according to John (John 1:5):

'Lux Lucet In Tenebris'
('The light shines in the darkness')

Dedicated to the memory of Private William Mason, Border Regiment
May he rest in peace.

Monday, 29 August, 2011  

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