Image of Jesus College war memorial

Kenneth Ralph Mason, 2nd Lieutenant, Suffolk Regiment (Territorial Force)

Kenneth Ralph Mason came up to Jesus College in October 1909.

Born: Ipswich, Suffolk on 12 May 1888

Killed in action: France 21 June 1915

Schooldays

He was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and by private tuition.

Thanks to the kind assistance of the Archivist at Ipswich School we know that he took part in many activities there, including athletics and that he was elected to the Literary and Dramatic Society.

A Cambridge Letter featured in the school magazine of November 1910 notes that:

“Willis, Tempest and Mason have emerged unhurt from their period of fresherdom and all are beginning to look ‘bloods’ in their own ways.”

College life

We have hardly any information on Mason’s time at the College. His obituary records that he was not a prominent athlete but took a keen interest in college life and was “held in high esteem by all” (Jesus College Society Annual Report, 1915, p31).

We know that he continued his interest in things theatrical as he appeared in the 1912 Footlights production of The Vegetarians: A dietetic absurdity in two acts".

We also know that he was involved with the Cadet Corps at school so he may well have extended this interest when at Cambridge as a member of the newly formed College ‘I’ Company of the CUOTC. Perhaps he was one of the record number of 32 new recruits enrolled at the start of Michaelmas 1909 mentioned in that term's edition of Chanticlere.

One thing that we do know from our records is that, by the standards of the time he took a lot of exams. The College examination records show that he took Part I and Part II exams in Law and History and took his BA in June 1913.

Memorials

Kenneth Mason had an older brother, Wilfred Howard Mason, who was also killed, on 9 July 1917. Both are commemorated within sight of the sea, on the war memorial in Felixstowe, Suffolk and also on the war memorial in Ipswich, where their father was Mayor.The unveiling of the War Memorial at Felixstowe, Suffolk.

You can email us on ww1-project@jesus.cam.ac.uk, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War

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