The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4169) Private Claud William Mason, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Places
Accession Number PAFU2015/193.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 17 May 2015
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on (4169) Private Claud William Mason, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War. The address is read by Major Charles Singer.

Speech transcript

4169 Private Claud William Mason, 48th Battalion, AIF
KIA 8 August 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 17 May 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Claud William Mason.

Claud Mason was the youngest son of Joseph and Eliza Mason. He was born on 24 November 1894 and grew up in O’Halloran Hill, South Australia. Claud was educated at the local and Reynella public schools and went on to work as a blacksmith’s assistant. At the same time he undertook a correspondence course on surveying and had satisfactorily passed the first stage when he left for war.

Claud Mason had had no previous military service, but according to his mother had enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in mid-August 1915 “as a duty to his country”. He was sent overseas with reinforcements to the 16th Battalion and arrived in Egypt at a time when the AIF was undergoing a period of training and reorganisation. As part of this process he was transferred to the 48th Battalion.

Mason became seriously ill in Egypt, diagnosed with a dilated heart. Although he could not train with the infantry, he continued to serve in a number of desk jobs, and returned to the 48th Battalion in France in September 1916. Private Mason spent the harsh winter of that year rotating in and out of the front line with his battalion. According to letters sent home he suffered from trench foot, but it was never severe enough to send him to hospital.

In April 1917 Claud Mason went into the I ANZAC training school and remained there for much of that year. He spent two weeks in Birmingham visiting relatives, and then rejoined the 48th Battalion.

On 8 August 1918 the 48th Battalion participated in the great Battle of Amiens by attacking the French village of Proyart. At 4.20 am the men of the battalion advanced with nine tanks, taking hundreds of yards of ground with minimal casualties. However, despite their success, some lives were lost. One of those killed was Private Claud Mason. Little is
known of the manner of his death, but he was buried by his comrades, and now lies in Heath Cemetery in Harbonnières, France. He was 23 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Claud William Mason, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4169) Private Claud William Mason, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War (video)