Charles B Mason

Dear Sir/Madam,

I live in Brisbane, Australia and I am trying desperately to trace my father, Charles Baumgardt MASON born: 16 April 1918 at Cape Town.

He could be 91 years now and I believe longevity is a family trend. I have written to some 315 Mason surnames throughout RSA with some successes but now I am trying to find his current location.

I have attached a copy of a letter I am now sending to some Retirement Homes (of which I do not have a complete list) but hope that you may be able to check with your members listing for his name.

If you could help with any information about his whereabouts it would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

C. J. (Cliff) Rae-Smith.


C. J. Rae-Smith
PO Box 4125
Loganholme DC
Queensland 4129

31 August 2009

The Manager

Re: Urgently looking for: Charles Baumgardt MASON

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am trying to trace my natural father and/or any family relatives.

My mother, Henrietta Robina Rae-Smith (born Smith) died 30 April 1991; never did marry and I have no other siblings that I know of. I never knew my father or much about him. The information I have, has been relayed to me by her only sister my Aunt Dorothy, now living in Spain & being a young teenager in 1945 only recalls small bits of information.

However, since sending 315 letters to Mason surnames all over RSA, I have discovered that my father is Charles Baumgardt MASON; born 16 April 1918 which would make him 91 if alive today.

His birth & Christening address was 93 Bree Street, Cape Town

Charles Baumgardt Mason (Bdr.) SADF Service Number is: 106145.
Taken POW 20.6.42 at Tobruk and interned at Campo PG 82 Laterina Italy.
He was released and then arrived in the UK 18.5.45.

My mother, who was about 29 at that time, belonged to a Christian group that tried to help entertain (outings, dances, dinners, etc.) and make life better for these prisoners of war who had suffered greatly.
This was where they met, dated and I would have been conceived about May 1945.He was aware of my coming birth but he was commanded to return with his unit to South Africa prior to my birth on 1946.

Admitted to 109 SA Military Hospital 28.6.45 in Brighton UK discharged from hospital 12.7.45.
(I know what this was for, and for verification, can reveal that at a future time.)

Left the UK for Union on 26.8.45, disembarked at Cape Town on 11.9.45.
He was discharged 12 November 1945 at Westlake, Cape Town.
His next of kin – mother – was living in Cape Town. Last known record

My Aunt recalls, that he wrote several times, but my mother being a few years older than him and very independently natured, refused to burden him, as she felt he had been through enough already.

My mother and I immigrated to Australia from the UK in 1968 and suffice to say, as our surname was Smith, for a number of years and we were constantly moving from city to city, due to my mother’s ill health, it would have been impossible for him to ever be able to trace me.

His mother, Cecilia (nee Davis) Mason, was alive and traced in 1987 through “White Pages” under CB Mason and maybe lived with Charles somewhere around Claremont to Plumstead in Cape Town
His father was Cyril Baumgardt Mason and died 25 October 1918 (from the tombstone) due to “Spanish Flu.”

Feel free to “Google” my full name Clifford John Rae-Smith (born Smith) for authenticity. You should see that I have patents for some inventions and have my own business “Manhole Form Hire.”

It is very probable that my father does not appear anywhere on your records and in which case, please email with a simple “nothing known at (name of establishment,)” so that I may eliminate your name from my list and therefore not bother you in the future, as my quest continues.

Should you have any associated establishments, could you please pass his name along to them, to confirm or negate anything known?

Should he reside or have resided with you in the past but not currently, or has deceased, it would be greatly appreciated if you would notify me immediately.
Due to the urgency of this enquiry please respond by email to:

If he does currently reside with you, please carefully and with due respect, present him with this letter.

With his approval, please notify me immediately or should he respond in the negative, still notify me and I will accept and respect that.

I would understand that at this late stage in his life that it is likely, that he may not be strong enough to deal with this emotionally but I would nevertheless, be very grateful and assured of knowing who he is and where he is.

You may wonder why this search has been left so late in my life.

I only found out the facts about my father, very recently from my Aunt, who thought I had known all my life but it had always been something never spoken about. Also growing up in and around London, Brighton and other cities, it was very common for children to have lost their fathers after WW2 from disease, war wounds, etc and one never dwelt on the subject, or discussed it but accepted what you were told without question.

I sincerely thank you for any assistance or advice that you can provide.

I must add that I am already greatly indebted to Cherry Mason, Diana Auer (nee Mason) and Gordon Bickley of the SA Military History Society, for the great assistance they have provided over the past two months.

My daughter, Jodie Marie Wills and I, would greatly appreciate any information, no matter how trivial or small it may be, that you may have to offer. Even a note saying “nothing known” helps with the elimination of possibilities.

I also give an absolute undertaking that there is no wish at all to intrude upon him or his family or descendants in any way, (unless specifically invited,) other than to be aware of the existence of my father or his place of burial, that we may acknowledge and honour him, show our respect and find closure.

Yours sincerely,

C. J. (Cliff) Rae-Smith.

Home Phone: 61-7-3806 1223 Mobile: 0402 138 110 Office: 61-7-3801 4414

PS. Sending these letters is possibly our only real chance of ever finding my dad in my lifetime.