5 November 2018
“BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART”
William Henty Rason, was born on 6 April 1891 to Mary Evelina Rason (née Terry, great niece of Joseph Terry, co-founder of Terry’s confectioners of York) and the Hon. Cornthwaithe Hector Rason.
Two sisters, Edith and Mabel, are listed on the 1911 census for the family at 54 Crystal Palace Road, Sydenham, S.E. London and he also had a younger brother, Ernest Hector who remained in Australia.
William enrolled on the Harper Adams Certificate course in October 1907, with plans for a career in dairy farming abroad. His index card records he passed these examinations in 1909: College Certificate, 1st CC in Vet & Chemistry, 2nd CC in Agric Eng, Applied Botany, Book Keeping, Dairying, Farm accounts. He passed the College certificate and left Harper Adams on 7 April 1910 to go to Kilmarnock Dairy Institute.
Like many Harper Adams students of the time, he may have travelled to Canada to further his career
William Henty [sic] Rason served with the Canadian Army Service Corps and died on 5 November 1918, age 34, less than a week before the armistice.
He was probably the last Harper Adams student to die in the First World War and is remembered with honour at the Douai British Cemetery, Cuincy (Cemetery/memorial reference: A. 20.)
More information about his military service may be found here:
The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station at Douai was posted in the town from the 28th October, 1918, to the 25th November, 1919. Douai British Cemetery was begun at the end of October, 1918, and closed in November, 1919; but graves were brought into it later from the neighbouring battlefields and from other burial grounds. There are over 200, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.
Black Sheep in the family?
William Henty Rason’s father, Sir Cornthwaithe Hector Rason, was born in somerset and went to Australia in 1881 where he had a colourful career in business and politics, briefly becoming Premier for Western Australia in 1905 but resigning and returning to England in 1906 taking up the post of Agent General in London and becoming a Knight Bachelor in 1909.
William’s brother Ernest also served briefly in the First World War but was discharged as permanently unfit in 1915 suffering from mental health issues.
Online searches for Ernest Hector Rason reveal newspaper reports of a string of convictions for fraud involving stolen cheques dating from at least 1912, and including sentencing to 6 months hard labour in December 1915, not long after returning to Australia