Tom Mayson grave (3rd November 1893 to 21st February 1958)


Here I am up in splendid countryside in Cumbria. I found Tom Mayson buried along a wall behind the church. He killed at least nine of the enemy. Blimey.


He was educated at the local school and then went to work as a labourer on a farm. As the World War started he enlisted in the army in November 1914 and was sent to France to fight six months later. While fighting there he was shot in the hand, taken to hospital and sent back home to England. He was out of action until March 1917 when he joined up again. On Tuesday 31st July 1917 he was fighting in Wieltje in Belgium when his platoon was held up by machine-gun fire. Without waiting orders the 23-year-old charged at the offending soldiers manning a machine gun (which was temporarily out of action due to bombing). He was expecting to get shot at any moment but made it to the enemy and wounded four of the enemy (presumably by shooting or bayoneting them.) Three other of the enemy fled but Tom chased after them. They took refuge in a dug-out but Tom shot them. Later, when clearing up a strong point he tackled another machine-gun single-handed, killing six of the enemy. Later on during an enemy counterattack he took charge of an isolated post and successfully held it until ordered to withdraw and his ammunition was exhausted.


Within weeks Tom was promoted to Sergeant and in November was presented with a VC by King George V at Buckingham Palace. Soon he was back fighting in France but suffering from myalgia (chronic muscle pain). It was so bad he was sent back to England. He recovered and returned to France but with the onset of winter he was soon suffering from repeated myalgia. It was so painful he was hospitalised and eventually discharged from the army.


He returnedto Cumbria and was later a green-keeper on a local golf course. Aged 36 he married Sarah at the church where heís now buried. Sarah already had a daughter but the couple went on to have eleven children of their own.


Through World War Two Tom served in HM Coastguard and was also a special constable. In later life he worked for the Atomic Energy Authority at Sellafield and retired aged 64 due to ill health. There was no long happy retirement as he died almost immediately in North Lonsdale Hospital, Barrow-in-Furness.


I didnít see a single person while I wandered around the churchyard. I had a coffee and a sandwich in the car with the window down surrounded by near silence. This church looks onto some of the best rural views Iíve seen. The church used to keep the Victoria Cross medal on display but theyíre worth over £100,000 these days and itís now held by the Regimental Museum in Lancaster. I did a salute and left.










Other war graves in the churchyard...