Alfred Vernon Mason, Signalman, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was 25 years old when he died on HMS Laurentic. Alfred was the first of Charles and Jane Mason’s two children. He was born in Wilden, Near Stourport, Worcestershire on the 2nd of April 1891.
His mother Jane Hook was born Worcestershire, Hartlebury and his father Charles Ephraim Mason in Bilston, Staffordshire. The couple married in the summer of 1890 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 26 Lorne Lane Stourport. His father was a Tin Pate Worker. Alfred was 9 years old and his sister Gladys 7. His granny Anne Hook was also living with them.
Alfred was employed as a Clerk in the offices of Wilden Ironworks (Baldwins Ltd). Wilden Works had dominated this small Worcestershire Village for over three hundred years. At the time Alfred worked for the company its Midland Division was managed by Stanley Baldwin, who would later become Prime Minister of the UK. Alfred was transferred to Baldwins Ltd’s headquarters in Swansea at some point before April 1911. In the 1911 census he’s age 20 and a Clerk with Baldwins Ltd, Iron & Steel manufacturer, boarding at 38 Rosehill Terrace, Swansea.
According to his obituary Alfred was “a popular musician and fairly good pianist, he was of a retiring disposition and much respected by all who knew him.” He joined the R.N.V.R. in 1915 and was one of the few saved from the sinking of H.M.S. Warrior at the Battle of Jutland. Fought off the west coast of Denmark, over 36 hours on May 31 1916, the Battle of Jutland changed the course of the First World War. This was the only major battle of the war fought at sea, and became known as perhaps the largest surface battle in naval history due to the numbers of battleships and battle cruisers engaged.
Alfred became a member of the crew of HMS Laurentic on the 29th September 1916.
His body was never recovered after the sinking. He is remembered on Stourport Loyal Stanley Baldwin Lodge of Oddfellows Roll of Honour, Stourport Wesleyan Methodist Church, Stourport First World War Memorial, war memorial at Stourport High School, Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for navy casualties located in Worcester Cathedral and Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 and 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK.