World War 2 - Charlton Cyril Mason

Charlton Cyril Mason was born in 1886 at West Mersea. His father and mother were George Mason (born in Brightlingsea and brought up at Moverons Farm) and Susannah Skipper but his mother died young when Charlton was only a baby. His father then married, Elizabeth Siles, in approximately 1889. Elizabeth appears in the 1891 census living with the family as the housekeeper. Charlton is 5 and the address given is West Mersea Road. Interestingly Elizabeth is from Norfolk and in later years the Masons' house goes under the name of Norfolk Cottage.

Through the censuses we see that Charlton's father is a farmer in 1901 at 'Masons Farm' Peldon and Charlton is a Grocers' apprentice. By now George and Elizabeth have nine children.

In 1911 (where George is the census enumerator for Peldon) the family is listed as living at Ives Farm, Peldon, and George is a Farmer and Poultry dealer.

In WW1 Charlton was on the SS Euterpe which was a liner of 2270 tons, built in 1886. It was sunk on 11th August 1916 by Italian Submarine SMG-F-7. SS Euterpe was being used as a troop ship and c 453 were lost and 450 saved including Charlton.

In 1918 he is on the Absent Voters Register and is described as Merchant engineer on HMT BRAMBLELEAF.

In 1919 his name appears on the Absent Voters Register his address is given as Strood Villa [Pyefleet House] and he is described as a Merchant Engineer on the SS Euterpe [out-of-date because the Euterpe was sunk in 1916]. On the register of electors in 1921 he is living with his family at Strood Villa.

In 1932 we find him returning to Southampton from New York on board the SS Bremen arriving on 17th November 1932. His occupation is that of engineer, he is 45 and his address is given as Norfolk Cottage, Peldon, Essex.

TEMPLE MOAT built 1928 4,427 tons gross

The next we hear of him is in 1941 in the local newspaper where despite his age, 55, he is again on war service on board a Merchant Ship, this time, 3rd Engineer Officer on SS TEMPLE MOAT.

MISSING AT SEA The shipping office has reported that Second Engineer (Merchant Navy) Officer Charlton Cyril Mason second son of the late George Mason of Peldon must be presumed lost at sea. Engineer Mason had a lucky escape round Narvik but lost all belongings there. He was afterwards taken prisoner by the French in Algiers and was six months in captivity, but was finally released and sent to Gibraltar, joining his ship in January 1941. He afterwards left for America.
Essex County Standard 10.5.1941

That trip at the beginning of 1941 on board the TEMPLE MOAT was to be his last. The TEMPLE MOAT was a Merchant Navy vessel en route from Blyth to Buenos Aires carrying 6,130 tons of coal. It was part of the convoy, OB288, but had been dispersed. At 01.45 hours on 24th February 1941 the ship was hit by one torpedo from the U boat U-95 and sank fast by the bow about 240 miles south of Iceland (59° 27'N, 20° 20'W - Grid AL 2331). The master, Thomas Ludlow MBE, 39 crew members and two gunners were lost.

There were no survivors.

Charlton's probate was administered by his married sister, Gladys Pullen.
MASON Charlton Cyril otherwise Charles of the Lion Garage, Abberton, Essex, died on or since 23 February 1941 on war service. Administration (with Will) Llandudno 27 February to Gladys Frances Pullen (wife of Ernest Edgcomb Pullen) Effects £333.9s.9d
[Gladys Frances Mason married Ernest Edgecomb Pullen at Peldon, 11 August 1936.]

Charlton Cyril Mason's name appears on the Tower Hill Memorial to men of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who gave their lives and have no grave but the sea.

POSTSCRIPT
It is clear his family were immersed in village life, his father George was clerk to the Peldon Parish Council from 1894 to just before his death in 1936. On George's behalf his son Arthur Blackwell Theobald Mason accepted a presentation from the Parish Council and stepped into George's position.

PARISH COUNCIL PRESENTATION A meeting of the Parish Council was held on Friday March 20, Mr E Walker presiding. The Chairman said that it was with regret that the Council found itself obliged to accept the resignation on account of ill-health of Mr George Mason, who had held the office of clerk since its formation in 1894. His son Mr Theobald Mason was appointed to fill the vacancy. The meeting which followed was open to the public, when an interesting ceremony took place, viz the presentation of a chiming clock inscribed as follows:- 'Presented to Mr George Mason by the parishioners, after 42 years' service as clerk to the Peldon Parish Council'. The clock was received by Mr Theobald Mason , who in thanking the parishioners, said he was sure his father would greatly value it; he would regret having been too unwell to be present to receive the gift in person. Essex County Standard 28.3.1936

George Mason was to die on 25th November in 1936.

There is no memorial in St Mary's Church to his son Charlton, nor the other three who died in World War 2. Is it not time that, as Peldon's vicar wrote in 1946, there should be a plaque in the church?

Roll Of Honour December 15 1946
Four people lost their lives serving their country in World War 2 (1939 -1945)
Petty Officer W Heap Royal Navy
Private J Hodson Army
Pilot Officer J Scales RAF
C Mason Merchant Navy
It is hoped to place a suitable plaque in the church to the above.

From "Some Record of the Parish Of Peldon Rev C.R. Harrison 1867" D/P 287/28/6 Essex Records Office

Author: Elaine Barker

Related Images

 TEMPLE MOAT was a tramp cargo ship of 4,427 tons gross, Official No. 160481, built in 1928, and operated by Lambert Brothers. She was sunk by U95 south of Iceland on 24 February 1941, with the loss of all on board.
</p>
<p>The Third Engineer on board was Charlton Cyril Mason (sometimes Charles Mason) who was born in Mersea and lived in Peldon for much of his life. See <a href=mmresdetails.php?col=MM&ba=cke&typ=ID&pid=WW2_CCM>WW2_CCM </a>.
</p>
<p>There is a more detailed article on the TEMPLE MOAT on <a href=http://www.fourmarksnews.co.uk/addendum.pdf target=moat>www.fourmarksnews.co.uk/addendum.pdf</a>.
</p>

<p>
SS TEMPLE MOAT was a steam merchant ship of 2,620 nrt, built in 1928 and operated by Lambert Brothers. It was a general cargo tramp steamer picking up and discharging cargo whenever hired to do so. Like many merchant ships at the start of WWII, the TEMPLE MOAT was armed by the Admiralty to provide some defence against enemy submarines and aircraft. These defensively equipped merchant ships (DEMS) also carried Royal Navy personnel to operate the weapons. Since the start of WWII SS Temple Moat had sailed both independently and in convoy around the British Isles and across the Atlantic to north and south America. 
</p> <p> 
On 2nd January 1941 the ship sailed from Oban to join a convoy (OB 268) of 33 merchant ships outbound from Liverpool. These OB convoys catered for vessels crossing the Atlantic, and were escorted by ships of the Royal Navy for part of the way. On 4th January 1941 the convoy dispersed and the next day SS TEMPLE MOAT was bombed and damaged by aircraft. The ship is next reported as being back in the Clyde on 9th, presumably having returned independently for repairs. She was laid up for about six weeks. As Germany was using French bases from late 1940 OB convoys were being routed north of Ireland. OB288 left Liverpool on 18th February 1941 and SS TEMPLE MOAT left the Clyde the next day to join it. She was probably still carrying the cargo of 6,130 tons of coal destined for Buenos Aires she had picked up at Blythe on 24th December 1940. Initially there were 46 merchant ships protected by 6 escorts in the convoy. In the afternoon of 21st a course change was made to avoid a U Boat. The next morning at 9 am the escort reported an attack by aircraft when two merchant ships were hit. These were subsequently escorted back to the UK. 
</p> <p> 
In line with normal practice, the C in C Western Approaches ordered the convoy to disperse at dark on 23rd when the last escort left. From that point on the convoy had no defence against submarines. During that night a number of ships were sunk by submarines, including SS Temple Moat. She had straggled behind the convoy and was hit by one torpedo from U-95; she sank fast by the bow about 240 miles south of Iceland. The master, Thomas Ludlow MBE, all the 39 crew members and two gunners were lost. The Tower Hill Memorial records their deaths as Sunday 23rd February, whereas records subsequently available suggest that it was at 1:45 am on Monday 24th. U-95 was on her third sortie, having left Lorient on 16th February, when she sank both TEMPLE MOAT and CAPE NELSON from the same convoy. Although of no consolation to the mariners who lost their lives, U-95 was subsequently sunk in the Mediterranean by a Dutch submarine on 28th November 1941. 
</p><p> 
Thomas Ludlow, MBE, the Master of SS TEMPLE MOAT, had previously been Chief Officer on SS TERLINGS, another Lambert Brothers' cargo steamer of 2,318 tons built in 1937. On the 21st July 1940, when in convoy en-route from Southend to Falmouth in ballast she came under air attack from German Do-17 with fighter escort and Me-110 aircraft. The ship was defensively armed and when the alarm was sounded Thomas Ludlow went amidships to the Lewis gun, and, though bombs fell all round him, he remained there, firing until he was thrown into the water. He was awarded the MBE and subsequently Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery (posthumously) for his actions that day.
</p>
</notonweb>  SHP_PHO_001SHP_PHO_001
TEMPLE MOAT was a tramp cargo ship of 4,427 tons gross, Official No. 160481, built in 1928, and operated by Lambert Brothers. She was sunk by U95 south of Iceland on 24 February 1941, with the loss of all on board.

The Third Engineer on board was Charlton Cyril Mason (sometimes Charles Mason) who was born in Mersea and lived in Peldon for much of his life. See WW2_CCM .

There is a more detailed article on the TEMPLE MOAT on www.fourmarksnews.co.uk/addendum.pdf.

SS TEMPLE MOAT was a steam merchant ship of 2,620 nrt, built in 1928 and operated by Lambert Brothers. It was a general cargo tramp steamer picking up and discharging cargo whenever hired to do so. Like many merchant ships at the start of WWII, the TEMPLE MOAT was armed by the Admiralty to provide some defence against enemy submarines and aircraft. These defensively equipped merchant ships (DEMS) also carried Royal Navy personnel to operate the weapons. Since the start of WWII SS Temple Moat had sailed both independently and in convoy around the British Isles and across the Atlantic to north and south America.

On 2nd January 1941 the ship sailed from Oban to join a convoy (OB 268) of 33 merchant ships outbound from Liverpool. These OB convoys catered for vessels crossing the Atlantic, and were escorted by ships of the Royal Navy for part of the way. On 4th January 1941 the convoy dispersed and the next day SS TEMPLE MOAT was bombed and damaged by aircraft. The ship is next reported as being back in the Clyde on 9th, presumably having returned independently for repairs. She was laid up for about six weeks. As Germany was using French bases from late 1940 OB convoys were being routed north of Ireland. OB288 left Liverpool on 18th February 1941 and SS TEMPLE MOAT left the Clyde the next day to join it. She was probably still carrying the cargo of 6,130 tons of coal destined for Buenos Aires she had picked up at Blythe on 24th December 1940. Initially there were 46 merchant ships protected by 6 escorts in the convoy. In the afternoon of 21st a course change was made to avoid a U Boat. The next morning at 9 am the escort reported an attack by aircraft when two merchant ships were hit. These were subsequently escorted back to the UK.

In line with normal practice, the C in C Western Approaches ordered the convoy to disperse at dark on 23rd when the last escort left. From that point on the convoy had no defence against submarines. During that night a number of ships were sunk by submarines, including SS Temple Moat. She had straggled behind the convoy and was hit by one torpedo from U-95; she sank fast by the bow about 240 miles south of Iceland. The master, Thomas Ludlow MBE, all the 39 crew members and two gunners were lost. The Tower Hill Memorial records their deaths as Sunday 23rd February, whereas records subsequently available suggest that it was at 1:45 am on Monday 24th. U-95 was on her third sortie, having left Lorient on 16th February, when she sank both TEMPLE MOAT and CAPE NELSON from the same convoy. Although of no consolation to the mariners who lost their lives, U-95 was subsequently sunk in the Mediterranean by a Dutch submarine on 28th November 1941.

Thomas Ludlow, MBE, the Master of SS TEMPLE MOAT, had previously been Chief Officer on SS TERLINGS, another Lambert Brothers' cargo steamer of 2,318 tons built in 1937. On the 21st July 1940, when in convoy en-route from Southend to Falmouth in ballast she came under air attack from German Do-17 with fighter escort and Me-110 aircraft. The ship was defensively armed and when the alarm was sounded Thomas Ludlow went amidships to the Lewis gun, and, though bombs fell all round him, he remained there, firing until he was thrown into the water. He was awarded the MBE and subsequently Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery (posthumously) for his actions that day.

ID: WW2_CCM
Source: Mersea Museum / Peldon History Project