Herbert Richard Mason is named on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton War Memorial as having given his life for us all in the Great War of 1914 – 1918. Please click on the link to read his story.
Sadly, his son James Albert Mason, is also named on that Memorial, but for WW2, therefore 2 members of the same family had given their lives for us, a sacrifice many families on Deeside and around the country got used to hearing about.
According to the 1911 census James Albert is mentioned as being 11 months old but his date of death and age, on the Commonwealth War Graves Certificate gives him a birthdate of 1908, so there is a discrepancy. Herbert, 33 & Mary, 30 had moved to 16, Princess Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire by the 1911 census. They had been married for 13 years and they had 6 children born, but 1 had died, according to their census papers. Herbert, was a ‘Bar Cutter’ at the Iron & Steel Works. The children listed were William Edward 10, John Richard 8, Herbert 5, Elsie Isabel 3 and James Albert 11 months. Also in the household was William Albert Jones a Boarder.
Because there has been no censuses published after the 1911 census, the next time we see James Albert is when he marries Mary Ann Corbett, in St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton on the 27th April 1931.
Then again on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, the war having been declared on the 3rd September that year. James Albert & Mary were living at 22 Prince’s Street , Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. James was born on this on the 5th April 1910 and he is a Steel Bar Dragger in the Rolling Mill, probably at John Summers & Sons. Mary’s birthdate was given as 2nd September 1911 and their son William E. had been born on the 6th November 1931, who was at School.. There are 3 redacted or closed records as well.
There is a birth Certificate for their son William Edward Mason (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/41A/78) seen on the 1939 Register, with the mother’s name as Corbett, but this would have to be purchased to confirm/deny.
The National Register also tells us that Mary Ann was to marry again after James Albert died in 1944 at a Civil Ceremony at Hawarden in 1946 to John Henry Benbow. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/18/10)
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Transfer Register gives his name, Regtl. No. 21.ITC and the date 27th May 1943 and – “From GSC,” so I don’t think this is when he enlisted, but was a Transfer, this source also tells us that he was killed in Action on the 25th September 1944 N.W.E. (B10453).
On Casualty Form 1570 (or 1576), Page 13, James Albert is listed as Killed in Action with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 25th September 1944, with a large number of other RWF Fusiliers and many, many men listed from other Regiments ranging from the 17th September to the 27th September 1944.
James was buried in VALKENSWAARD WAR CEMETERY and buried next to him is Emrys Jones in Grave reference I. B. 13. James Albert is I. B. 12. :-
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Service Number 3963600
4th Bn. Welch Regiment
Son of William and Lily Jones, of Ponthenry, Carmarthenshire.
SLEEP ON, BELOVED, FAR ACROSS THE SEA, IN LOVING MEMORY WE EVER THINK OF THEE
In May 2018 I was contacted via the flintshirewarmemorials.com website by Gea en Peter Brokking, who have “Adopted” James and Emrys’s graves.:-
James Albert Mason
Message: Dear Sirs,
Today, the 5th of May we visited the grave of James Albert Mason,
Son of Herbert Richard and Mary Mason, husband of Mary Ann Mason. of Connah.s Quay, age 36. buried in Valkenswaard. On your site we saw information about his father ?? Do you have any information about his family? We like to honour his memory and thank them for our freedom.
I was so touched by this that I wrote back to her the same day and had this reply.:-
Dear Mrs Mavis Williams,
Thank you for your quick answer. We recently adopted 2 graves of solders who died near Valkenswaard, our home town, in September 1944. This is a program of the foundation “erfgoed 44-45.” I am searching to find more about him and, if possible about his family. In a separate e-mail i send you the pictures. The left side grave is that of James Albert Mason.
Met vriendelijke groet,
I was so intrigued and touched that I asked the WW2 Talk Forum if they could shed any light on what happens in May in Valkenswaard, I had a reply from “stolpi” from the Forum and he explains:-
Its the “Nationale Dodenherdenking”, or National Remembrance Day for the WW2 dead (and those fallen in postwar conflicts …), which is held each year on the 4th of May in Holland.
People through the whole country gather at monuments and cemeteries and at 20:00 o’clock a nation wide two minute silence is observed.
The ceremony at the national War Memorial at “De Dam” in Amsterdam is attended by the King & Queen of Holland.
Also “stolpi” added :- I had the privilege to participate in the silent walk to the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery a couple of years ago with DRYCH and Canuck. A very moving event.
I have contacted them again and helped them with the story of James and his father who both gave their lives for us, by sending my notes.
History Information from the CWGC Citation:-
Valkenswaard was the first village to be liberated on the main line of the British advance into Holland in September 1944. The cemetery, which lies in a pinewood, contains over 220 graves, almost all of them are those of men who fell in the fighting in the woods around Valkenswaard during that month. All the men buried here belonged to the forces of the United Kingdom.
I then found out while I was researching the men who are remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial that Frank Michell, a local boy from Pentre and who is also remembered on the Sandycroft Roll of Honour in St. Francis’s Church, also died the day before James Albert and is buried 3 graves away. Please click on the link to read his story.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Service Number 4202923
6th Bn. Royal Welch Fusiliers
Son of Sampson and Charlotte Michell, of Pentre. Flintshire.
Grave No. – I. B. 15.
I told Gea and his grave has been “Adopted” by another of the lovely people of the town.