|Dudley William Mason|
Dudley W. Mason, GC
|Born||7 October 1901
|Died||26 April 1987 (aged 85)|
|Service/branch||British Merchant Navy|
|Rank||Merchant Navy Master|
|Commands held||SS Ohio|
Second World War
Dudley William Mason GC (7 October 1901 – 26 April 1987) was master of the tanker SS Ohio during the Second World War. He commanded the tanker during Operation Pedestal, a convoy to relieve Malta. He was awarded the George Cross for this operation.
George Cross action
In August 1942, the Ohio, a 14,000-ton tanker belonging to the Texas Oil Company on loan to the British Ministry of War Transport, was one of 14 merchant vessels sent to aid Malta. The convoy, with naval and air escort, met enemy action on 11 August. The next day, when air attacks began, it became apparent the tanker was the main target. For four days she suffered continuous attacks from aircraft and submarines. She sustained grave damage from a torpedo, two sticks of bombs lifted her out of the water and another exploded in her boiler room. A Stuka crashed and exploded on her deck, her back was broken and she was twice abandoned and reboarded. In spite of this she reached Malta on 15 August and was carried into Valletta harbour, lashed between the destroyers HMS Ledbury and HMS Penn, and not until the last of her fuel had been pumped out did she finally settle on the bottom. Captain Mason's GC was not only for his personal courage and determination but for his crew. Other gallantry awards to the crew of Ohio during Operation Pedestal included a Distinguished Service Order, five Distinguished Service Crosses and seven Distinguished Service Medals.