In the 1881 census Eleanor, aged 6 years, had two sisters and one brother, Elizabeth 14, Tamar 12 and Philip 3. Her Dad was a Boiler Plate Cutter.
She trained as a nurse at Bradford Royal Infirmary from 1896 to 1899. Leaving with a Nursing certificate and recorded in the Register for Nurses (reg no 168), Eleanor served in the Second Boer War, enlisting as a member of the Army Nursing Reserve in July 1900, with the service number of 702. Eleanor worked as a member of the Army Nursing Reserve at the Herbert Hospital, Woolwich and travelled to South Africa on 11th February 1901 on Hospital Ship Nubia, with 28 other nursing sisters. Eleanor worked at No. 5 General Hospital, Wynberg.
It is unusual for a nurse to have both Queens and Kings South Africa Medals. The Queens South Africa Medal was awarded to all those who served in the Boer War between 11th October 1899 and 31st May 1902. The Kings South Africa Medal was awarded to 600 nursing sisters, who had to have served in the Boer War on or from 1st January 1902, and have served for 18 months before 1 June 1902. It was never awarded without the QSA.
Eleanor’s name is inscribed in Leeds Town Hall on a plaque to commemorate the volunteers from Leeds who served in the Second Boer War. It was also unusual to have names of survivors of a conflict on a memorial.
Eleanor was appointed Matron at Oswestry Cottage Hospital in 1910. In the 1911 Census Eleanor Jasper (36) is named as Head of Oswestry Cottage Hospital, along with 8 nurses, all single and various other staff.
On 2nd February 1918 she married Sergeant Henry George Mason, a Canadian Infantryman who had previously been a Mountie until he joined up in March 1917. The wedding was reported on in the Daily Mail; “Much interest was taken in the wedding at Oswestry on Saturday…. The wedding was the result of a romantic attachment when Sergeant Mason was a wounded patient at the hospital, and he spent the first day of his next leave from the front leading his bride to the altar.” Henry had been a patient of hers, who tragically died six months later on 13th December 1918, just after the Armistice. It appears that Henry shot himself, apparently due to the effects of gassing. He was admitted dead to the No. 32 Casualty Clearing Station. He is buried at Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery.
Eleanor received her Royal Red Cross, second class from the King at Buckingham Palace on Saturday 2nd August 1919. She continued to work at the Cottage hospital, until her retirement, when she appears to have moved to Ulverston to be nearer to some of her family. Eleanor’s will, which was written in 1932, showed forethought and compassion for her dog; “If my dog Mike is still alive and misses me please have him put away painlessly”. Eleanor died in 1938 aged 63.
Source: Collecting Nursing History42 Eleanor Mason by Sarah Rogers.http:www.schoolsofnursing.co.uk/collections1/Collections42.htm