Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 30, 1892
Place of BirthDundee
CountryScotland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDavid Mason, The Cottage, West Newport, Scotland
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number252923
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentGull Lake, Saskatchewan
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 6, 1946
Age at Death54
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot37E-35-2

Mason, Harry

Henry McBain (Harry) Mason was born on 30 November 1892 in the city of Dundee, Forfarshire (now Angus) in Scotland. His father David Mason was from nearby Brechin while his mother Mary Ann, maiden name also Mason, was from Montrose. The couple had married in Dundee in 1874. Harry had at least four older siblings, William, Clementina, David, and John, and a younger sister Annabella who died in 1901 at age 4. Harry’s father worked as a clerk in the timber trade and by the 1911 census had moved to Newport in Fife with Harry’s mother Mary Ann. It appears that the other family members had moved into adult life and were on their own.

Harry signed his attestation papers in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan on 11 May 1916. He gave his address as Stone PO and occupation as farmer. The 209th Battalion had been organized in February of 1916, with recruitment in the Swift Current district where Harry had been living. As a Private with the 209th he was sent to Camp Hughes in Manitoba for training and while there it was discovered that he had a hernia that needed medical attention. Surgery was deemed as necessary but as Harry initially refused it he was discharged on 23 November 1916 as medically unfit for further service. However, his service record indicates that he did follow through with the surgery, having the operation that December.

By 1917 Harry had moved to the Eston area of Saskatchewan and was drafted under the Military Service Act, completing his medical examination in early November of 1917 in Prince Albert and called up in Regina in mid January of 1918. With the 3rd Draft of the 1st Saskatchewan Depot Battalion he embarked for overseas aboard the Missanabie on the 24th of March.

Once in England Harry was transferred to the 15th Reserve Battalion and then on to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps Pool in mid August at Seaford, joining the 3rd Battalion CMG Corps in the field on the 30th. Just a month later, at Cambrai, Harry sustained a gunshot wound and was admitted to the No 26 General Hospital in Etaples. A machine gun bullet had hit him in the hand and exited through his wrist, also causing nerve damage.

Invalided to England, Harry spent time at the 2nd West General Hospital in Manchester, the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Bexhill-on-Sea, as well as the 5th Canadian General Hospital in Kirkdale. Unfortunately he suffered a case of influenza while dealing with his injury. He was invalided to Canada in late May of 1919, arriving in Quebec aboard the Megantic on the 2nd of June. He was admitted to the Ste Anne de Bellevue Military Hospital upon arrival in Canada. Built in late 1917 to meet the needs of returning wounded veterans, it was/is located on land leased from McGill University’s MacDonald Campus in close proximity to major railways and roads. The surgical wing had the most up-to-date equipment for surgery and massage therapy, as well as facilities for hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.  In early August Harry underwent surgery for nerve suture of the right ulnar but recovery was slow and incomplete and he never regained full usage of his hand.

A Harry Mason, born in Scotland and of the right age, was found on the 1921 Canada census for the municipality of Yahk in the Cranbrook subdistrict of the East Kootneys in British Columbia. He was working as a labourer in a logging camp, year of immigration listed as 1909.

Coming from Winnipeg, Harry moved to Kenora, Ontario on 5 November 1946 to work for the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company in a logging camp at Red Cliff Bay on Lake of the Woods. Only one day on the job, Harry died of natural causes on the 6th. The Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion took care of the funeral arrangements, with legion ritual conducted at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora where Harry is interred. His gravemarker was replaced in 2015.

by Judy Stockham

 

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