Private Norman Graham Mason


Norman Graham Mason was born on 22 October 1873 at Campsie Avenue, Omagh, County Tyrone, the first of nine children of English-born Provincial Bank clerk William Charles Jackson Mason and his wife Annie (nee McElwee).

On 27 November 1893 he married Jane McConnell at St Anne's Church of Ireland Parish Church in Belfast. The couple had five children over the next nine years.

Mason enlisted in the 4th Dragoon Guards at Belfast on 21 December 1891 (No.3953). He served in India from February 1895 to November 1902, including in the north-west frontier campaign of 1897-98. He was discharged on completion of his twelve years' service on 20 December 1903. He then re-enlisted in Section D of the 1st Class Army Reserve, serving from January 1904 to January 1908. (His enlistment papers noted that he had a "mounted trumpeter tatooed on [his] breast.)

At the time of the 1911 Census, Mason was living with his wife and four children at 81 Lawnbrook Avenue, Belfast, and working as a general labourer.

Mason enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 13 September 1914 (No.1217 – later Corps of Hussars No.71286). He gave his occupation as 'machineman'. Although 40 years of age at the time, the recruiters would have viewed his previous cavalry experience as a valuable addition to the regiment. On 20 January 1915 he embarked with a small group of reinforcements for France, where he was posted to A Squadron.

Mason remained with A Squadron until the end of 1916, when he fell ill with rheumatism. On 6 December 1916 he was evacuated to England, where he was treated at a military hospital in Sheffield.

On 10 April 1917 Mason was transferred to Class T, Army Reserve – a reserve for men with specific trade skills (mostly industrial or munitions related). On 5 October 1918 he was transferred to Class W, Army Reserve – for soldiers whose services were deemed to be more valuable in civil rather than military employment.

On 3 January he was discharged as being a surplus to military requirements (not having suffered impairment since entry into the service) – paragraph 392xxv(a), King's Regulations.

Mason died at his home, 77 Ainsworth Street, Belfast, on 27 December 1946. He was buried in the Dundonald Cemetery.