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  • Arthur Pelham Mason. His nephew, Arthur P Hughes, notes ‘probably during his stint with the Officer Training Corps at University College Nottingham, October 2nd 1916 to August 9th 1917. He joined the Officers' Cadet Battalion, Oxford on August 10th 1917’.
Person Details
05 Feb 1899
Nottingham
This chronological account has been supplied by Mason's nephew Arthur Pelham Hughes (b.1943) who was named in honour of his uncle. Mr Hughes lives in the United States. 1899 Born February 5 in Nottingham to Kate Lymn Mason (b.1873 Nottingham - d. Aug. 14, 1932, Nottingham), and Richard H. Mason (My grandfather, b.1874 Nottingham - d. Aug. 8, 1960 near Brighton). Family resident at 111, Sneinton Dale, Nottingham. Kate Mason was a haberdasher and Richard an accountant’s clerk, then accountant in 1908, later gas accountant for the gas works. Family later moved nearby to 36 Ena Avenue, Sneinton Dale, in a new middle-class development. [Richard and Kate later lived at 'Park View', Dagmar Grove, Alexandra Park, Nottingham]. 1901 Sister Edith Irene born July 22, 1901, died in childhood 1905 or 1906. 1903 Sister Lilian Paula (“Paula,” my mother) born Nottingham Sept. 25, 1903, (d. April 1, 1995, Ojai, California) 1905 Brother William Alfred born; died in infancy. Brother Hubert Edgar, b. Oct. 28, 1907-d. March 1912 from diphtheria) 1911 Autumn 1911 –Spring 1912 Form 3B, Mundella Secondary School, Nottingham (from class photo). 1912 Brother Edward Stanley (“Stanley,” my uncle) born March 12, 1912, (d.1994 Basford, Nottinghamshire. No children.) 1913 Autumn1913-Spring 1914. Form 5B Mundella school 1914 Autumn 1914-Spring 1915 Form 6B Mundella school. 1915 Autumn 1915 – Spring 1916 Upper 6 Form Mundella school. 1916 Summer works as a farm labourer in village of Apethorpe (Morehay Lawn) near Peterborough with his Mundella school friend Frank Carpenter. Autumn: enters University College Nottingham. Receives somewhat intimate letters from his Mundella school classmate Lilian Maltby (1898-1971. During 1940s she married Frank Pye of Mansfield. (They had no children). Joins Officers’ Training Corps Oct. 2 under Capt. (later Maj.) S.R. Trotman. 1917 January: Is in OTC at University College Nottingham. July: Gets “excellent” in OTC training report. Granted leave July 28 to Aug. 15. August: Begins studies at Worcester College, Oxford. August 10 inducted into Officers Cadet Battalion. October: in Warwick on rifle training (letter of October 1, mentions that “Bailey” is assigned to shore defence.) October 19: Is 'C' Company 6th OCB commander for a day. October 28 letter: His friend from Nottingham Frank Carpenter in flight training, expects to be assigned to a squadron. (Lt. Frank Carpenter of 98 Squadron RAF was taken prisoner of war in Flanders Aug. 9, 1918). October 31: Hears Principal Selbie of Mansfield College, the “non-conformist college” catering to dissenters. Rev. W. B. Selbie was a Congregationalist minister. Mason seems to express non-conformist sympathies. November 4: Nighttime bayonet charge practice with ‘C’ Company under Very light in The Parks, Oxford. Is transferred to combat training in Londonderry, Ireland. November 28, at Clooney Park camp, Londonderry, is commissioned 2nd lieutenant. December 28: Is in 3rd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (S.L.I.) Regiment. December 30: In training with the S.L.I. at Clooney Park in a “junior officers’ school” in a platoon of 35. Names mentioned: W[illiam] Donald Willatt (of Nottingham), Bailey, Paton, Roe. 1918 February 5: His 19th birthday. February: Comments on reassignment of General Robertson. A commanding officer Brown’s negative reaction and pro-Labour sympathies. March 8: transferred from Clooney Park barracks, Derry, to Holywood Barracks outside Belfast, still with the 3rd Battalion, S.L.I. March 10, in letter to his mother recounts a daytrip to nearby Bangor; also, that a “Lieutenant Besant” (Geoffrey B. Besant 1880-1965) in charge of his barracks room is the son of Walter Besant (1836-1901), the novelist, historian, friend of John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, etc., and brother-in-law of Annie Besant, the Theosophist. Geoffrey Besant is 39 and they talk literature into the night. March 28 revolver training followed by training on the Lewis Gun (machine gun). Is spending time with his friend Padfield [Lt. W.M. Padfield], who he describes as a religious “non-conformist.” April 5: Brief 36 hour visit with his family in Nottingham before deployment to Flanders. (See photo of Mason with his mother Kate and classmate and friend Lilian Maltby at Nottingham Castle) April 6: en route to the front via Southampton. In letter to his sister Paula, laments the short time they had together in Nottingham. April 12 in letter to his father gives account of trying to find divisional HQ (37th Division) with his platoon. Is with the 8th Battalion S.L.I. “D” I.B.D. (Infantry Base Depot) somewhere near Rouen. Had time to finish George Elliot’s Silas Marner. April 17 in letter to mother describes chaos of trying to find where to take his men, which turns out to be the Corps reinforcement camp. Runs across “Smith,” who had been gassed working with R.E. tunnellers. Is 10 miles behind the line near Amiens when writing (A.P.O 15). April 20 letter to his mother refers to visiting officers' rest club at Étaples, staffed by W.A.A.C.S. April 22: Gets a copy of H.G. Wells’s Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916). He runs across officers he knows sent up from Holywood Barracks, some to be assigned to the 8th. It is around this time that he meets, briefly, Maj. (Lt. Col. in May) J.H. Maitland Hardyman, second in command of the 8th. See below for May 29 Hardyman letter to Mason expressing sorrow that Mason has been transferred to the 1st Battalion. May 22 letter to his mother is written on day he and three other officers are transferred from the 8th to the 1st Battalion, S.L.I. Asks her “…not to worry at all. Of course, the whole business is mad….” Is dismissive of slackers: “Some people make getting cushy jobs their sole aim & devote all their energies to wangling them. But you wouldn’t have me belonging to them?” Talks of having been on a work party in hot weather digging trenches in case of an attack. Of sending their batman to get soap at French shops, and lists the towns he has seen since getting “on this side”: Harve, Rouen, St. Omer, and Doullens. May 24: Is still en route to 1st Battalion HQ via the divisional detail camp. Is reading The Crimson Field. May 28: Has reached his unit, three miles behind the line. May 29 letter to his father: Is billeted in a pleasant village but knows the regiment will have to move on in a week. Is reading George Eliot’s Romola. Writes that he received a letter from Lilian Maltby, his Mundella school classmate and admirer, and from “Frank” (Lt. Frank Carpenter, the R.A.F. pilot) sent from the Marske airfield, Yorkshire, that he was crossing on May 25th, and that a friend E.W. Bramber had been wounded. Comments on air war going on overhead and the uselessness of firing Lewis Guns at the German aircraft. Hopes to witness a “real live air fight.” May 29 is date of letter from now Lt. Col. Maitland Hardyman hoping they “shall meet later on” as “you and I would have found a good deal to talk about.” Suggests that Mason “make” the opportunity to become Battalion Intelligence Officer or Assistant Adjutant. Offers Mason the privilege of ordering books from his Edinburgh bookseller and passing them on to him. Suggests anything from the risqué novelist Elinor Glyn to conchology texts. May 31 enthusiastic letter to his mother telling of his letter from Hardyman. June 6: Is still with Brigade details and away from the front. Says R. Donald Willet remains with the 8th. June 15: Is now at the front-line trenches. Tells his father that no leave is in sight. July 8: Discovers that there is another literary-minded chap in his platoon who was a personal friend of Henry James and is better read than he having gone through all of Gibbon, much more English poetry, most of Carlyle, knows Latin and Greek, etc. and is of his own age. Frank “Carpenter was in quite an exciting scrap the other day, six attacked by 15, two Bosche down, ours all OK.” July 13: In letter to his mother says he has received another letter from Hardyman and plans to take him up on his offer to use his bookseller. Relates that Carpenter and he are in regular correspondence and near to each other and he hopes to visit him. August 1 In letter to his mother describes on patrol peacefully “winkling” out Germans and taking them prisoner. Implies demoralization in the German line, which is not a developed trench but a series of shell craters. August 2: Writes to Hardyman. Asks about officers with the 8th (the younger Willett, Cook the gas officer, Padre [Theodore] Hardy, pleased with the Victoria Cross going to him. Mentions that the 2nd in command of Mason’s Company C is Clarke, formerly with the 8th. Plans to read Anna Karenina. Asks Hardyman if he knew Henry James, and that his platoon mate did. (Mason has not named this mate yet.) Has read James’s Roderick Hudson. Asks Hardyman if he thinks the League of Nations “has any chance of being put into operation.” Read “Grey’s pamphlet [advocating a league of nations]” which “seemed very sane.” August 11: At the front, doing reconnaissance for a carrying party. Carpenter in his Corps area again. August 14: Letter to his father: Has started Rhoda Fleming by George Meredith. Is “right up in the outpost line” in territory recently vacated by the Germans. August 18: Says Padfield (2nd Lt. W.M.) was given leave to see his dying father, and was “pretty badly knocked up himself.” Had spent time establishing a forward outpost but had returned to a previous outpost on the line. Says there is little chance of getting a home leave. August 20 letter to his sister Paula thanks her for sending a book of poetry by Henry Newbolt, which he will pick up from the transport on his return from the front. “This tour has been one continual move, move, move. And we’ve by no means finished yet.” And “I’m afraid that I have nothing to talk about in these days. I can think of nothing at all to interest you. I will write longer letters if interesting things ever do happen. So goodbye for the present. Yours affectionately, Arthur.” August 22: From an August 27 condolence letter from Lt. Col. V.H.G.MajendIe, commander of 1st Battalion S.L.I.: “He had got his platoon into position and was returning to platoon H.Q. when he was hit by a bullet. He died about a quarter of an hour afterwards, and until the end was quite unconscious.” December 3: Dr. George Hardyman, Maitland’s father and Bath surgeon, writes to Richard Mason about their sons. Letter indicates that Richard Mason intends to visit Arthur’s gravesite and suggests he also visit Maitland’s, at the Bienvillers Military Cemetery. Recounts that Maitland was killed 7:15 a.m. August 24 near Bienvillers. Letter talks about plans for small book on Hardyman, which resulted in the 1919 A Challenge, which included his poetry. 1919 August 24: A letter from A. Blandford, the wife of a soldier who accompanied AP Mason’s body to be buried, to Richard Mason. Blandford retrieved the body from the stretcher bearers, transported it back from the line, and helped bury it.
He attended Mundella School, Meadows, Nottingham, was a member of University College Nottingham OTC and a cadet at Hertford College, Oxford (Mundella Magazine, Christmas 1917).
22 Aug 1918
19
530519 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
8th Bn attd.1st Bn The Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry)
1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry were at Riez-du-Vinage, near Mount Bernachon on 22nd August 1918, when according to their war diary (TNA WO95/1499/6) 'Sudden order received at 7am to co-operate with 74th Division on left who were going to advance... only if slight opposition met. Attempt made to get guns on to Le Eppenite which we knew was strongly held and which was in front of the junction of the two divisions. This failed owing to short notice given: attack a failure, the 74th Division coming under very heavy machine gun fire and heavy artillery barrage. Battalion on our left fell back 700 yards behind their old line. O/C 'C' Coy Capt CW Hall MC then threw back a defensive flak to keep in touch with them and at dusk helped them to restore the situation. In this operation 2nd Lt AP Mason was killed. Capt LA Osborne DSO Mc was wounded.' Mason is buried in Gonnehem British Cemetery, Grave Reference: H15 Military research by David Nunn
Nottingham Corporation minutes of council meeting 2 September 1918: Motion of sympathy to Mr RH Mason, Assistant Gas Accountant on the death of his son, Second Lieutenant Arthur Pelham Mason (Somerset Light Infantry). Mundella Magazine, Christmas 1918 (No 48), Obituary. Arthur Pelham Mason was a true soldier of Christ. For this reason it is most difficult to write about him, because when one has said that he lived and died a perfect gentleman and a gallant soldier, that is all there is to say. Mason was nothing if not sincere and single-hearted; both in and out of the army, the stream of evil passed him by and left him untouched. At the same time, no one who came into close contact with him could help being inspired by his influence, and encouraged by his example. His presence seemed to breathe a spirit of kindness and good-fellowship wherever he went. Of a quiet and retiring disposition, Mason may have been misunderstood by a few, but never by those who really knew him. Though he never pushed himself forward, yet he was intensely observant; and his naturally peaceful nature was stirred to bitter protest against the evil of the world whose paths he expected to tread when his school life should come to a close. ‘At School I knew him as a silent youth’, but at the same time he took a keen interest in his surroundings and he was always ready to give a helping hand to anyone. No one ever came for help to him in vain, no matter how pressing his own work might be. He found his chief companionship in books; and the first fruits of his own pen gave good augury of greater things to come. But whatever his power of achievement, the world is the poorer for the loss of a pure and saintly character, while in the hearts of those who loved him, his death has left an aching void. But it is not for us to grudge him his happiness now that he has gone ‘over the top’ for the last time. His work on earth was done, and his Great C.O. needed him. He was untroubled at the thought of death, which he faced with a serenity that none could surpass. The last time I saw him before leaving for France, it seemed to me that a ‘waft of death went out from him to me.’ I tried to suppress the idea, but it still remained, and it was with deepest sorrow, not with surprise, that I heard he had found an early grave in the blood-sodden soil of France. (Author ‘HMS’) Article published 28th August 1918 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “KILLED. “Mr. and Mrs. Mason, of 36 Ena-avenue, Sneinton Dale, have received news of the death in action of their son, Sec.-Lieut. Arthur Pelham Mason, of the Somersetshire Light Infantry, at the age of 19. Born in Nottingham, the young officer was educated at the Mundella Secondary School, where he passed the London matriculation first class, subsequently taking his inter-arts, and proceeding to the University College, where he was in the O.T.C. under Capt. Trotman. Later he was transferred to O.C.B. At Worcester College, Oxford, and given his commission. He went to France in April of this year, and had seen a good deal of fighting.” In memoriam published in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “MASON. – In tender and honoured memory of Arthur Pelham Mason, second-lieut., 1st Somerset Light Infantry, killed in action August 22nd, 1918.” Both above are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on

Photos

  • Arthur Pelham Mason. His nephew, Arthur P Hughes, notes ‘probably during his stint with the Officer Training Corps at University College Nottingham, October 2nd 1916 to August 9th 1917. He joined the Officers' Cadet Battalion, Oxford on August 10th 1917’.
    Courtesy of Mason's nephew Arthur Pelham Hughes - Arthur Pelham Mason. His nephew, Arthur P Hughes, notes ‘probably during his stint with the Officer Training Corps at University College Nottingham, October 2nd 1916 to August 9th 1917. He joined the Officers' Cadet Battalion, Oxford on August 10th 1917’.
  • Arthur Pelham Mason. His nephew, Arthur P Hughes, notes ‘Arthur P Mason (centre) during officer cadet training at Cunmor, outside Oxford, with two Australians demonstrating cutting barbed wire’.
    Courtesy of Mason's nephew Arthur Pelham Hughes - Arthur Pelham Mason. His nephew, Arthur P Hughes, notes ‘Arthur P Mason (centre) during officer cadet training at Cunmor, outside Oxford, with two Australians demonstrating cutting barbed wire’.
  • Mason's nephew, Arthur Pelham Hughes, notes 'A.P. Mason with his mother Kate, centre, and sweetheart Lilian Maltby, a fellow student from Mundella Secondary School, 5 April, 1918, at Nottingham Castle the day before his deployment to France'.
    Courtesy of Mason's nephew Arthur Pelham Hughes - Mason's nephew, Arthur Pelham Hughes, notes 'A.P. Mason with his mother Kate, centre, and sweetheart Lilian Maltby, a fellow student from Mundella Secondary School, 5 April, 1918, at Nottingham Castle the day before his deployment to France'.
  • Family headstone Nottingham General Cemetery. Photograph Rachel Farrand
    Arthur Pelham Mason - Family headstone Nottingham General Cemetery. Photograph Rachel Farrand
  • Family headstone Nottingham General Cemetery. The inscription reads 'Arthur Pelham Mason, 2nd Lieutenant 8th Bn, attached 1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry, killed in action 22 August 1918 aged 19 years. Buried Gonneham British Cemetery, Bethune, son of Richard Henry and Kate Mason.'Photograph Rachel Farrand
    Arthur Pelham Mason - Family headstone Nottingham General Cemetery. The inscription reads 'Arthur Pelham Mason, 2nd Lieutenant 8th Bn, attached 1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry, killed in action 22 August 1918 aged 19 years. Buried Gonneham British Cemetery, Bethune, son of Richard Henry and Kate Mason.'Photograph Rachel Farrand
  • Arthur Pelham Hughes with his grandfather Richard Mason, father of Arthur Pelham Mason, in about 1950 at Bierton near Aylesbury.
    Courtesy of Mason's nephew Arthur Pelham Hughes - Arthur Pelham Hughes with his grandfather Richard Mason, father of Arthur Pelham Mason, in about 1950 at Bierton near Aylesbury.