A 5th Mounted Rifles Memorial Cross; Missing in Action at Regina Trench
A 5th Mounted Rifles Memorial Cross; Missing in Action at Regina Trench; (AKA James Welch), 23rd Infantry Battalion, 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles -(457676 Pte. W. MASON.). Naming is officially engraved. Dark patina, naming is slightly faded, light contact near extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records and Pay Records. Footnote: Walter Mason was born on October 28, 1883 in Barrow-in-Furness, England, the son of Stephen Welch and Cathrine Welch. He signed his Attestation Paper with the 23rd Infantry Battalion on June 23, 1915, in Montreal, Quebec, naming his next-of-kin as his sister, Mrs. Mary Scofield of Barrow-in-Furness, stating that he had previous military service with the King's Own Volunteers in England, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Handyman. The Battalion was raised in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec with mobilization headquarters at Quebec City, under the authority of G.O. 26, March 15, 1915. The Battalion sailed from Montreal aboard the S.S. Scandinavian on August 27, 1915 with a strength of 35 officers and 942 other ranks under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel F.W. Fisher. In England, the 23rd Battalion was re-designated the 23rd Reserve Battalion, with Mason being taken on strength at Shorncliffe on September 6th. Mason also had an alias: James Welch, as evidenced by his recorded service number. He was to be Acting Corporal on September 13th and is documented as having been on command while attending Rouge Finding Course at Chelsea on September 21st. A little over a month later, he was reduced to the ranks and forfeited eight days pay and allowances for being absent, on October 29th. Mason was to see a number of visits to hospital over the next seven months. He was admitted to Tent St. Martins Plain Hospital at Shorncliffe on November 4, 1915 with a case of Gonorrhea, then transferred on the 25th to Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe, diagnosed in two reports with Pneumonia and Rheumatism, before being transferred again on January 4, 1916, to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Monks Horton. It was here he was documented as "Paraded sick. Complaining of pains in (his) right shoulder", and subsequently treated for Myalgia (muscle pain, a symptom of many diseases and disorders, with the most common causes being the overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group of muscles; Myalgia without a traumatic history is often due to viral infections), before being discharged to the 23rd Battalion on February 18th. He forfeited four days pay and allowances and was sentenced to seven days Field Punishment No. 2 on March 2, 1916. He was again admitted to hospital, this time to Cherry Hinton Military Hospital in Cambridge on March 4, 1916 with Venereal Disease, remaining there until he was discharged on April 21st. The day of his discharge from hospital, he forfeited forty-nine days at 50 cents plus allowances. Two weeks later, he visited hospital for the last time, when he was admitted to the Military Hospital at Shorncliffe on May 4th for the next three weeks, before being discharged on May 25th and subsequently forfeited twenty-one days at 50 cents plus allowances. Mason (AKA Welch) was drafted overseas to the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles on June 6, 1916, landing in France on the 7th. He left for his unit on the 8th and arrived with the 5th CMR on the 9th. Mason was with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Quebec Regiment) when he was reported Wounded, then Missing in Action and later, Presumed to have Died, on October 2, 1916 at the Battle of Regina Trench in the Somme, at the age of 32. He is remembered with honour on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, the base of which is inscribed in French and in English: "TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA". Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as "'missing, presumed dead" in France. As his father had predeceased him, his Plaque and Scroll, along with his Medals and his Memorial Cross, went to his widowed mother, Cathrine. She was also not eligible for a War Service Gratuity.