Object: Portrait of Kenneth Randall Mason
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- there is no copyright or other intellectual property rights in this work in New Zealand; and
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|Title||Portrait of Kenneth Randall Mason|
Berry, William (photography studio), 1918, Wellington
|Materials||photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates|
|Classification||studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives|
|Format||half plate (1/2)|
|Credit line||Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds|
Portrait of Kenneth Randall Mason
We believe the young man depicted in this portrait is Kenneth Randall Mason, service number 71343.
Kenneth was born on 11 October 1897. He grew up in Wellington and after leaving school worked as a clerk for the Commercial Union Assurance Company in Wellington. He enlisted for military service on his twentieth birthday, nominating his father, Mr GT Mason, 1 Goring Street, Thorndon, as his next-of-kin. He embarked for England with the 39th Reinforcements on 13 June 1918.
With experience as a Senior Cadet in Wellington's Divisional Signaling Company, Kenneth was assigned after his arrival in England as a sapper in the Divisional Signallers. Signallers played a crucial role in military communications. They were required to lay lines and be proficient in Morse code and several forms of visual communication including flag, lamp and heliograph signalling. Signallers were often stationed near the front lines, in vulnerable positions.
Kenneth, however, never went to the front. He was based in England at the NZ Signal Reserve depot at Stevenage from 31 August 1918 till 3 July 1919 when he embarked for New Zealand. A second portrait of him in the Berry collection may have been taken shortly after his return and shows him in smart civilian clothes. Kenneth lived a long life, until his death in Wellington in 1977, aged seventy-eight.
The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war. These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.
In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.
Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email email@example.com or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.
To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.