Alfred David Deck Mason (1926‒46)
Alfred David Deck Mason was the only child of Alfred Norman Mason and Kathleen Valletta Mason (née Deck). He was born on 25 May 1926, and baptized on 7 August of that year at St Botolph’s Church, Cambridge. The family lived at “Norvaleen” (Norman + Valetta + Kathleen), Summerfield, in Newnham Village.
His grandfather, Arthur Deck, had been a pharmacist, his shop being at 9 King’s Parade, Cambridge. His great-great grandfather, Isaiah Deck, had started the pharmacy in 1830 and was a distinguished mineralogist; Alfred’s great grandfather, also Isaiah Deck, maintained the pharmacy, but also travelled to Egypt in search of diamonds, and had a wild plan to ship mummies to America to supply rags for paper-making!
David attended Oundle School between 1940 and 1944, and was noted for his prowess in athletics and rowing. (See Oundle School photograph, 1943, in which he is fourth from the right in row 3.) In 1944, while still at school, David decided to volunteer to serve in the Indian Army for three years, and, after training in England and India, was posted to the 1st Battalion the 10th Gurkha Rifles in August 1945.
The 1/10th Ghurka Rifles served in the Far East throughout the Second World War, first on the North West Frontier, then moving into Burma in 1942 shortly after the Japanese invasion, where it joined with the 17th Indian Division. It fought in many of the major battles, and took part in the defeat of the Japanese army in 1945. The 1st Battalion had the historic distinction of being the unit which received the first organised surrender of Japanese in Burma. It was then engaged in internal security in Burma throughout 1946 and 1947.
At the time of his death, he held the rank of Lieutenant (EC/16274). His death occurred in Rangoon, Burma, on 9 May 1946 aged 19, apparently as the result of a tragic accident. (See his obituary in The Laxtonian, the Oundle School Chronicle, for possible cause.) His grave is in the Rangoon War Cemetery (2.F.18) in Myanmar (Burma), where his body is presumably buried and additionally his death is commemorated on this family grave in Mill Road Cemetery.
Parish : All Saints
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
War Graves Photographic Project
St Botolph baptismal register
Kind communication from Elspeth Langsdale, Oundle School Archivist
With thanks to Oundle School
By Ian Bent and Mary Naylor