No.G/10081, Lance Corporal, Walter Ellis MASON
8th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
Walter Ellis Mason was born in 1894 in Soham,(Newmarket Q3-1894 3B:511), son of Alfred and Martha MASON (née GINN), of Green Hills, Soham.
1901 census... Aged 7, he was at Green Hills, Soham with his father Alfred  farmer; his mother Martha ; brothers Jonas Robert , George , Alfred , James Charles  and John Septimus . All were born in Soham, all the brothers except Jonas Robert (bricklayer's labourer) were farm labourers.
1911 census...Aged 17, a farm worker, he was at Green Hills, Soham with his parents, brothers Jonas Robert and George (farmers) and Alfred and John Septimus (farm workers).
His father died in Soham in 1915, the rest of the family were still all in Soham in August 1919
He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds on 12th December 1915, giving his age as 22 years 4 months, a farmer from Green Hills. Soham, next of kin Martha Mason, mother.
He was 5 feet 2.5 inches (158.6 cm)tall, chest 35" to 38" (88.9 to 96.5 cm). Placed on Reserves.
Mobilised 18th May 1916 and posted to 3rd Battalion, the Buffs on 15th May.Promoted to Acting L/Corporal on 29th August 1916. He embarked on 14th December 1914 for France where as Lance Corporal, he joined the 8th Battalion, The Buffs on 30th December 1916.
He was wounded in the face and left arm on 28th March 1917 and sent via 72 Field Ambulance to No 1 Casualty Clearing Station, returning to duty on 6th April 1917. He was killed in action on 27th July 1917
The battalion was at Micmac Camp, a hutted camp lying between Dickebusch and Ouderdom. The line was near Hedge Street Tunnels on the edge of Zillebeke. The war diary has:-
Early morning again quiet. About 11:30 am a large shell,somewhat like a minenwerfer from the piece found, pierced the tunnel, killing five men and gassing about 30. This caused a block in the narrow tunnels and caused considerable delay in different carrying parties. About 10 pm "A" Coy went into the line to relieve "D" Coy - carried out quickly and in order about midnight.
Walter's was the only body recovered, the other 4 men are named on the Menin Gate.
Local press report:-
Lance Corpl.Ellis Mason, East Kent Buffs Regt.,was killed in action on June 27th. He was the youngest son of Mrs.Alfred Mason of GennHills, and was 24 years of age. He enlisted on May 28th, 1916, exactly two months after his brother Alfred had joined up. His officer, in a letter of condolence to the bereaved mother, says of him "His death was caused by a fall of earth in a tunnel due to the explosion of a shell overhead. I am afraid no words of mine can assuage the profound pain this news will cause you, but I am assured that he was a most promising N.C.O., and will be a great loss to the company. He was buried in the presence of most of the N.C.O.'s of the company and myself, and I am having a cross erected over the grave. I wish to assure you of my deepest sympathy with you in the loss of your son, and can only conclude with the hope that your sense of loss will be lessened by the thought that no man can die a nobler death than for his King and Country."
Walter was found here, before burial in Perth (China Wall) photo: Roy Beardsworth
Walter was found here, before burial in Perth (China Wall)
photo: Roy Beardsworth
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details