Private 13247 James Mason

Mason James 96 343x600  Mason James 96 428x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 19th December 1915, age 35.
Buried in Grave III. E. 20. at Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

Husband of Mrs Lydia Mason, 11 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/96627/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
52 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Mason (38, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Mercy (38, born Tipton), and two children James (10, Scholar, born Tipton) and Joshua(7, Scholar, born Tipton).

1901 Census
53 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Mason (48, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Mercy (48, born Tipton), and two children James (19, Furnace Labourer, born Tipton) and Joshua (17, Labourer, born Tipton).

Marriage of James Mason and Lydia Whitehouse registered December quarter 1906 in Dudley.

1911 Census
34 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
James Mason (30, Blast Furnace Man, born Tipton), his wife Lydia (27, born Tipton), and their 1 surviving child of 2: Evelyn Ada (3, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Note that there is another J Mason, see JH Mason.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th South Staffs were in the 19th (Western) Division, landing in France in July 1915. They initially concentrated near St Omer, but soon moved to Belgium. On the 18th December the 8th South Staffs moved into the front line at Railway Wood, about 2 miles east of Ypres.

The War Diary for 19th December records that a gas attack was felt as far back as Ypres but had not affected the front line, and goes on to say: "At 2.15 pm enemy commenced a heavy bombardment of our Support trenches. Chief damage was on the right of our frontage however. The evening was quiet up to 8.30 pm. Gas was again reported on our left at 9 pm, and the enemy commenced firing lachrymose shells all round Battalion HQ and the X line. This was continued all through the night and a barrage of gas established."

It is likely that James was killed during the bombardment rather than by gas. He is buried, along with three other 8th South Staffs men killed on the 19th, at Menin Road South Cemetery, Ypres.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 9th September 1916
Private James Mason, of 11 Park Lane West, Tipton, who was killed in action on December 19th last year, enlisted in the 8th South Staffs on September 3rd 1914. He leaves a widow and three young children. He was 35 years of age. He had worked from a boy at the Tipton furnaces of Messrs Roberts Ltd., and was well known and respected. He was born and reared in Coppice Street, as were his parents.
The following letter was received from Sergeant Darville, 8th Bn. South Staffs, by Mr Cooper, of Neptune Street, who worked with the deceased for many years.
"Dear Mr Cooper, I am writing to ask if you will express the deep sympathy of No. 4 platoon with the wife and family of Private J. Mason, who met his death while fighting for King and Country. A better soldier never lived, and speaking as his platoon sergeant, I never met a more willing one in my 12 years experience. He was always ready to perform the most arduous task that you could ask a man to do, and I can assure you we will all miss him very much."