3693 Herbert Nelson Masson BASTON was a long-serving soldier who enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in September 1892. By 1910 he had already served overseas in Malta, Crete, Egypt, China, India and Burma, and when Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914, he again served overseas in Egypt. In November 1915, and by now a regimental quarter master sergeant, he was discharged to commission and continued to serve with the 3/7th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
I now seek the medals awarded to this man which are as follows:
China Medal 1900, 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Long Service Good Conduct Medal.
Herbert Nelson Masson Baston was born in India on the 9th October 1876, the son of Elizabeth Catherine Sophia McDougal Baston, and Edward Baston. Edward was employed as headmaster at the Diocesan School in Naini Tal, and Herbert was baptised at Naini Tal by his father, a deacon at the church, on the 12th November 1876.
When, many years later, on the 12th September 1892, Herbert enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Clonmel in Ireland, he gave his age as 17 years and 10 months. In actual fact though, he would have been a month short of his sixteenth birthday.
Surviving papers in series WO 363 show that when he enlisted, Herbert gave his next of kin as his father (by now a minister) as the Reverend Edward Baston of Dinorwic Street, Caernarfon. His description on enlistment was given as height 5 foot 8 inches, weight 115 Lbs; complexion fresh; blue eyes and dark brown hair.
Service with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Herbert's papers show that he joined the army as Herbert N M Baston, although his second middle name 'Masson' is dropped from First World War medal records. The first of his many promotions took place on the 23rd March 1894 when he was appointed lance-corporal, and this was followed by promotion to corporal on the 31st March 1895. He was appointed lance-sergeant on the 6th August 1896 and promoted to sergeant on the 12th August 1898. On the 23rd May 1905 he was promoted to colour sergeant and appointed orderly room sergeant. On the 10th July 1915, Herbert was appointed acting company sergeant major and on the 20th November 1915 he was discharged on appointment as quarter master and honorary lieutenant, continuing his service with the 3/7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. There are papers held at The National Archives which chart his service as an officer.