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Alexander Mason


Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District
Private Alexander Mason

382448 Private

144 Company, Labour Corps

Age: 35

Date of Death: 22.9.17

Buried: Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery V.G.13


Family: Son of Alexander and Annie Mason, 8 Glen Village, Falkirk. Alexander had two brothers John and Thomas. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a coal miner with the Callendar Coal Company. He enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers with the number 13794 and was later transferred to the Labour Corps. His younger brother Thomas was serving in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District
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His headstone does not mention he was a member of the Labour Corps. In 1919 it was decided that the headstone of a member of the Labour Corps, who previously served in any other unit, should record his connection with his previous regiment.

What was a Labour Company?

The Labour Corps company was defined in Army Orders when the Labour Corps came into existence in 1917. Its standard composition was defined in Army Council Instruction 611 of that year.


Composition

1 Major, commanding the company

4 Lieutenants or Second Lieutenants

1 Company Sergeant Major and 1 Company Quartermaster

Sergeant

8 Sergeants

18 Corporals (of which, 1 a Corporal-Cook and 1 a Corporal-Clerk)

461 Privates (of which 6 were appointed to Lance-Corporal)

6 officers’ batmen (normally Privates)

Attached

1 Medical Officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps

8 Drivers of the Army Service Corps (of which 1 a Corporal)

Organisation

The company was structured into:

Company Headquarters

4 Platoons (under a Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant), each of 2 Sections (under a Sergeant). Each Section made up of 2 Sub-Sections (under a Corporal).

Transport

The company was provided with three carts and four General Service wagons and a total of 13 draught and heavy draught horses.

The officer commanding would be provided with a riding horse or bicycle at his discretion.


The action leading to his death

The work of the Labour Corps during Third Ypres was to keep the lines of communication open maintaining the roads and light railways under enemy shell fire. They worked in the open and in daylight and in all weathers. Some 750 men of the Labour corps were to be killed in the Ypres Salient by shellfire and bombing during the offensive.


Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.


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