Photograph courtesy of Beverley Bowry
Born: 1896, Coddenham, Suffolk.
Died: 23rd April 1917; age 20; Died of Wounds to the head, arms and legs received the same day, whilst trying to rescue an injured officer at Monchy le Preux during the Battle of Arras – at No. 8 Casualty Clearing Station.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 473234
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps, T.F., 88th Field Ambulance.
Pas de Calais,
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Mr & Mrs F.B. Mason (nee Griss), of Coddenham.
1901 Valley Farm, Coddenham, Suffolk.
Kenneth was 4 years old and living with his parents & brothers.
Frederick Benjamin Mason, 39, a Farmer – employer, born Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
Elizabeth Mason (nee Griss), 40, born Ipswich.
Hugh Frederick Mason, 12, born Coddenham.
Frank Griss Mason, 11, born Coddenham.
George Arthur Mason, 8, born Coddenham.
Ivan Francis Mason, 6, born Coddenham.
Harold Benjamin Mason, 3, born Coddenham.
Henry Edward Mason, 1 month, born Coddenham.
1 general domestic servant
1911 404, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
Kenneth was 15 years old, a Clerk – Coal Merchants. He was living with his parents & brothers.
Frederick, 49, a Coal Merchants Traveller.
Hugh, 22, a Coal Merchant’s Manager.
Frank, 21, a Grocer’s Assistant.
George, 18, a Grocer’s Assistant.
Ivan, 16, a Grocer’s Assistant.
Kenneth’s mother, Elizabeth Mason, died July 1913, Ipswich.
Kenneth is also remembered on his parent’s headstone at Ipswich Cemetery.
A note from the family:
Kenneth had returned to Ipswich on leave in 1917, staying with one of his brothers, and on his way back to the Front he went to say goodbye to his father. Frederick had remarried and his new wife invited Kenneth in to wait, as his father had popped out. Kenneth waited for his father, but he sadly did not returned in time before Kenneth had to leave. They never got to say a last goodbye.
Kenneth, like his brothers, was a pacifist and refused to kill anyone and that is why he joined the Medical Corps.
A letter from Kenneth and George’s brother Ivan to their father. Ivan was serving in Cairo at that time and the second page of his letter gives a description of how Kenneth died as told by a soldier who was present.
Sunday June 2nd 1917
I was very pleased to get your letter dated April 19th which reached me a few days ago & to hear that you have received the note safely. Glad you liked the photos as you say I have altered a good deal during the last three years aboard.
You make me feel quite envious when you write about your garden for as you know I am passionately fond of gardening & only wish I could be at home doing some now. What a job for you! Washing the pet dog, that sort of thing must go against the grain very often.
I like you have not heard from Hugh or Frank lately. Hugh as I suppose you know has obtained his commission in the R.G.A. while Frank is still on home service.
Its over a year now since Kenny was killed in France & although we still grieve over our loss in his death yet we can rejoice in the knowledge that for him to die was Christ & his everlasting gain.
You will no doubt be surprised to hear that I am at a camp near Cairo being trained for the infantry.
It was almost as bad as leaving home to have to leave the unit & all the boys after having been with them for nearly four years & three of these on active service in the field together. We have pulled through some tough jobs together for as you know Field Ambulance work is pretty still and altogether different to being in a Base Hospital.
Well its no use grumbling as its got to be done so I shall have to make the best of it.
Ivan is still with the unit in Palestine & was quite well when I left him.
My address is No. 3 Wing Administration Units, Zeitoun, Cairo. We are allowed in Cairo on Saturdays & Sundays which makes a little change.
Well I must dry up now as I have several more letters to write.
With Love & best wishes from
I have not heard from Ben or anything about him since he left for France about two months ago, have you?
Sept. 4th 1917
My Dear Father,
Was so pleased to get a letter from you and to hear you was feeling well. Thanks for the cutting.
Well I have been on a weeks leave at Cairo with a friend we put up at the Anzac Hotel a Y.M.C.A. for soldiers on leave from the front. We had a jolly good time and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. While we were there we had our photos taken and I am enclosing one for you.
When I got back to the unit I found some letters waiting for me and one of them was from Lance/Corp Youngs who was out in the same draft as Kenny. He was at the Cyclists Base Dept, B.E.F.
He gave a few details of Kens death. Lance/C Youngs says it was on the 23rd of April that Kenny was hit when carrying wounded at a place called “Monchy le Preux” and although badly wounded in the head, arms & legs he was quite conscious when they brought him into the Advanced Dressing Station. Everything possible was done to save his life and he was quickly moved to the Causality Clearing Station. It was on the next day that the chap who carried him off heard that he had died.
Kenneth was the second cousin of Frank John Mason, MBE, draper and later JP and Mayor of Ipswich in 1920 – 1921 and November – December 1942.
Kenneth’s second cousin once removed of Naval officer & engineer, Vice Admiral Sir Frank Trowbridge Mason who was High Steward of Ipswich from 1967 to 1988.
Kenneth is also remembered on the war memorial at Bethesda Baptist Church, St. Margaret’s Plain, Ipswich.
The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) is part of the British Army providing medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. Together with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, the RAMC forms the British Army’s essential Army Medical Services. In combat the men followed the troops over the top into no man’s land suffering losses of 743 officers and 6130 soldiers killed, while delivering medical care to wounded exposed to enemy fire.