A submariner in World War II – George Leonard Mason (1913-1943)

George served on the submarine HMS Turbulent during World War II and was declared dead after the submarine went missing while out on patrol in 1943. He was my third cousin 3 times removed and his grandmother Elizabeth Haw (1837-1902) was my first cousin 4 times removed.

George was the youngest son of Albert Mason (1870-1932) and Kate Adams (1876-1955). While his father Albert had been baptised in Monk Bar United Methodist Chapel on 14 February 1870, his mother Kate was a Roman Catholic. Kate’s parents had been born in Ireland and Albert and Kate married in St Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church, York on 14 September 1895. George was baptised in St Sampson’s Church, Church Street, York on 27 April 1913 when the family were living at 3 Wilmots Court, Swinegate (see the following map for Swinegate and St Sampson Church which is just nearby in Church Street and circled in red).

Extract from OS Map York 1910 CLXIVNW

By 1939 George had married Annie Upton (1912-1991) and they had had a son Leonard (1936-2003). The family were living at 44 Kyme Street, which is inside the city walls and part of the Bishophill area of the city of York. George gave his occupation as a “maintenance mechanic motor transport”.

By 1943 George was a submariner on HMS Turbulent where he was described as a “engine room artificer 4th class”. An artificer is a Royal Navy trade and they are skilled mechanics. Presumably George’s previous experience as a mechanic was being put to use here.

The following photograph shows HMS Turbulent on the outboard side, moored up with HMS Taiku on the inboard side, in Algiers in 1943.

HMS Turbulent – Royal Navy Official Photographer, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

HMS Turbulent is known to have left Algiers on 23 February 1943 for a patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is part of the Mediterranean, to the west of Italy. She did not return from her patrol duties and was declared overdue on 23 March 1943. It is likely that she was torpedoed and sunk in early March, but the precise details have not been conclusively confirmed, and her wreck has not been found. Members of George’s family continued to live and work in York and George’s death is commemorated on the Naval Memorial at Plymouth.  

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/ : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205147929 : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/HMSM_Turbulent_FL20300.jpg : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent (N98). https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3505.html : accessed October 2020.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Royal Navy Trades. https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2016/01/15/royal-navy-rank-and-trades-explained : accessed October 2020.

3 thoughts on “A submariner in World War II – George Leonard Mason (1913-1943)

  1. Pingback: Methodism in York and the Haw family | Joan Reid Genealogy

  2. Karl Walker

    Hi Joan,

    I’m not sure if I have any information that would interest you, but I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about George’s son, Len. I am the grandson of Len and Maureen Mason, Annie was my great grandmother. Len and Maureen had a daughter (Dawn Mason) in 1969, who was my mother. Dawn passed away last year and I’ve been trying to find information about George. I am so pleased to have come across what you have documented here. Again, I’m not sure if I will have any information of this interest, but i had a strong feeling that I had to reply to this.

    Kind regards,

    Karl Walker


    1. joanannreid Post author

      Its good to hear from you. George’s grandmother Elizabeth Haw (1837-1902) is my 1st cousin 4 times removed. I started researching the Haw family a few months ago as it was an area of my tree which I hadn’t really looked at. I came across George (my 3rd cousin 2 times removed) and was fascinated by his story. Do let me know if you’d like to know more about the Haw family. Best wishes Joan



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