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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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User ID: U781507

Briefly our lot started messing about in aeroplanes at the beginning of WW I, with my grandfather, Eric, serving throughout the 'Great War', and inexplicably, given the statistical improbability, surviving that conflict. His squadron was later sent to Turkey during the Chanak Crisis, and in 1922 re-deployed to Aden ( now South Yemen ). Shortly after arrival there Eric died, in an 'in action' situation, although it was believed that it was an accident brought on by an earlier bout of amoebic dysentery. He went down at the controls of his Sopwith Snipe. I will try to post a photo, one of the last, of him with his 'kite'. Here's the link to the photo : A2845857

Then his son, my father, George, usually known as Tony, who joined the RAF right out of Wellington School in 1939. This is the Sergeant-Pilot George Anthony Mason of Tricia Cowell's marvellous story, see A2784963 , and the photo at A2802133 . My father's wartime exploits will hopefully be the subject of a book that he is writing at the moment, but suffice it to say that he had a very 'interesting' war! I will not even try to steal his thunder here, it's his story, not mine, after all.

To complete the litany of the 'Flying Masons' I joined as a cadet and student pilot in 1968.

Although the subject never entered my head at the time, it has struck me a few times since that I may well have been the first 'Third-Generation' RAF pilot, unless of course anyone knows anything different ??? Any challenges will be welcomed, maybe we could start a '3G' club ???

I am most interested in researching both my father's experiences, and of course, my grandfather's. The details are rather sketchy, Eric was buried in Aden, and my grandmother told me that she did visit the grave a few years after the accident. The War Graves Commission has no record of such burial, and the RAF is amazingly bereft of any data relating to Eric's service.

It is a ( for me ) rather sad fact that if my family is anything to go by, so many of our brave, and selfless, heroes of the last century of conflict remain not only un-sung, but even seem to have vanished into some kind of void. I believe that this is a condition that should be rectified before all memory is lost forever.

War is a sorry, ghastly, business, and the possibility that we may, one day, learn to turn away from this monstrous type of manifestation, is one of the few things that gives me hope for the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. However, when young men ( and nowadays women, as well ) are called to upon to give their all, and they do so in such appalling circumstances, then we, the survivors, owe it to them to use their courage and sacrifice as a beacon to light the future.

In this way they will live forever, immortal and incorruptible, an example, and a salutary lesson, to future generations.

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Stories contributed by David-M

The First of the Flying Masonsicon for Story with photo

David-M added messages to the following stories

A Spitfire pilot and a brave soldier "A story of a quest"

Archive List
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

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