Earl Wallace Mason

The following has been kindly written by Mrs Vernice Trask, Earl's sister ...

P/O Earl Wallace Mason (Tootie)
19th April 1917 - 15th September 1941

"Earl was born in Pitt, Minnesota on April 19th, 1917, a brother and best friend for John. During their early years, the boys had good times visiting their grandparents, aunts and uncles in Williams and Roosevelt. Earl's sunny disposition and cheerful personality endeared him to all. Somewhere along the line he picked up the nickname "Tootie" which was to stay with him all his life.

After Pitt he lived in Stratton, Wroxton and Elrose where he spent his growing years doing all the things young people do - skating, hockey in the winter, baseball in the summer.

When he was 12 years old he began to deliver telegrams for his father, Nat. Often telegrams were sent to patients in the Elrose Hospital, and on these deliveries he would stop in every room to greet the patients. Many were strangers but he would introduce himself with - "Hello, I'm Tootie Mason, how are you today". He never missed seeing the new babies in the nursery either.

Every summer he would return with John, and some of the younger members of the family, to visit his Minnesota relatives. He enjoyed being with his cousins at Uncle Bill's farm, where they began the tradition of sleeping in the hay mow.

Back row (left to right): Nat, Earl, Agnes, Family friend, Vernice, Glen, Thelma, Lee
Front row: Lynn, John, Sharon.

His father taught him telegraphy. His impish personality seemed to amuse his dad and Earl had no difficulty wrapping him round his finger. He used a different approach to the family car than his brother John. Instead of asking politely for the car (and being refused) as John did, he would say, "By the way Pop, I need the car Friday night so be sure and have it filled with gas". And of course it worked.

The summer he was 16, Mother took him to the Chicago World's Fair. She enjoyed Earl's enthusiasm for everything as much as the fair.

Now he began spending his summers in Glencoe, Ontario, with his Aunt Lizzie and her family. One summer Hugh was able to get him a job working on the tracks for the C.P.R.

Earl with his Aunt Lizzie in Glencoe, Ontario. Canada.

Earl at Prince Albert during his basic training.

In 1935 he quit school, after completing his Grade 11 and went to work for Hunt Graber Garage in Elrose. After a general lay off by that company in 1937, he went to work for his Grandfather Oseid in the store in Roosevelt. He enjoyed it here very much, with his many relatives nearby.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Earl decided to join the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). He dreamed of being a flyer - now he had his chance. However, he needed his High School diploma, so he came back to Elrose, enrolled in school and took a part-time job at Herr Brother's Garage. During the year he continued with his telegraphy and enjoyed the friendship he made with the agents along the line, Ripley in Hughton, Ayotte in Wartime among others via these telegrams.

After he had fulfilled his Grade 12 requirements he enlisted in the Air Force in Saskatoon and was accepted on June 4th 1940. After a brief time in Toronto, he went to Prince Albert for his basic training. He flew Tiger Moth's with the group called "Terrible 23", known for their daring exploits (it is sad to note that only three of them survived the war). His final Canadian posting was at Camp Borden. While in Ontario he visited the McEachrens in Glencoe on every leave and spent his final embarkation leave with them before joining the Overseas Pool. He left for England on February 4th, 1941 and was stationed with No. 121 Squadron at RAF Kirton Lindsey.

No. 121 Eagle Squadron, RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, June 15th 1941
Rear row (left to right): Richard Patterson, Carroll W. McColpin, John J. Mooney, Earl W. Mason, Thomas Allen, Reade Tilley, Bradley Smith, Gilmore Daniel, Hubert Stewart, Donald Geffene, William Jones, Warren Shenk, Fred Scudday.
Front row: Clarence Martin, Joseph Durham, Assheton-Smith, M.D. (Intelligence), Hugh Kennard (CO "A" Flight), Sqdn Ldr. Peter Powell, Royce Wilkinson (CO "B" Flight), H.E. Wilson (Adjutant), Edward Miluck, T.H. Tucker, Vivian Watkins.

He loved England, and flying. Now he flew Hurricanes. His letters home were filled with his marvelous enthusiasm, each letter was kept, lovingly in a cedar box by his mother. The cedar box had once been given to mother by Earl filled with chocolates.

In the early summer of 1941, Earl transferred from the RCAF to the American Eagle Squadron. The United States had not entered the war at this time, but young flyers from America came to England to join the RAF and formed their own Squadron. Because he had been born in Minnesota, Earl was able to join them. He was thrilled to be part of this daring, glamorous group of flyers. But it was not to be for long.

Earl at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey in 1941

Earl with his best friend - P/O John (Red) Campbell, in August 1941

On September 15th 1941, Earl was killed in a flying accident at High Toynton, near Horncastle. It was a bitter blow to his family, perhaps most of all to his father who took down the tragic telegram from the War Department, and his mother who had been so close to this warm and loving son.

He was buried in the Military Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey. Memorial Services were held in Elrose and Hanley, Saskatchewan.

A letter was received from his Squadron Leader, Peter Powell. Three paragraphs of this letter warmed our hearts and i will quote them here:

"Earl's death, as a result of a operational exercise, was a very great loss to the Squadron, not only because of his flying ability, but because of his never failing cheerfulness, and his friendly nature. Not only in this Squadron, but in the others at this station, he had many friends.

As you can well imagine, English people are slow to make up their minds about people coming from other parts, but we didn't take very long to realise that Earl was definitely what we call over here"a good type".

I would like to take this opportunity of offering you and your family my most sincere condolences in the loss of your son".

"He did a heap of living in his short life, and is still remembered fondly by his family and friends."

All the above text was wrote by Mrs Vernice Trask, Earl's sister and the images have been kindly supplied by Mr Lee Mason, Earl's brother.
We would like to thank both Mrs Trask and Mr Mason for all the help they have given us, without it, this page would not have been possible.