Born at Keadby on 15th June 1892, Joseph William (known as William) was one of the seven children and only surviving son of Joseph and Esther Mason (nee Pitman). His mother was from Althorpe and his father from Keadby, was a coal merchant in 1901 and a carrier for the Grand Central Railway in 1911. The family lived in North End, Keadby and in 1911 William was a grocer’s assistant and the only member of the family still living at home.
William enlisted in the army at Hull in 1914, where he joined the 11th Battalion, East Yorkshire Rgiment, commonly known as the ‘Hull Tradesmen’.
Following initial training at Hull and Pocklington in May 1915 the Battalion joined the 92nd Brigade in 31st Division after which it moved for divisional training to Penkridge Bank Camp near Rugeley, then later to South Camp, Ripon and Hurdcott Camp near Salisbury. Their first action overseas was not in France but Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and the set sail on 23rd December 1915 arriving on 28th December.
The stay in Egypt lasted only a matter of weeks before they were recalled to France, sailing from Port Said on 1st March and arriving in Marseille a week later. From Marseille they travelled by train to Pont Remy from where they marched to Bertrancourt on The Somme, arriving on 2nd April.
The Hull Tradesmen were still on the Somme on 1st July 1916 the first day of the Battle of the Somme, although they did not see any action as their Brigade was in as the remainder of their Division attacked the heavily fortified village of Serre.
However prior to the Battle of the Somme they had been in action. In order to get an idea of the troop deployment in the trenches opposite during the build up to the attack, the Hull Tradesmen were ordered to stage a raid on the enemy trenches. The first raid in the late evening of June 26th 1916 never reached the trenches as the men were spotted by a German sentry just short of the German line and came under intense fire sustaining several casualties. A second raid followed on the evening of 28th June.
William Mason was injured in one of the trench raids at Serre prior to the Battle of the Somme. He died of his injuries on 1st July 1916 and is buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.
William is not remembered on the Althorpe War Memorial but he is remembered on the War Memorial in St Oswald’s Church, Althorpe.