THE tale of the son of Beamont School’s headmaster features in a new book lifting the lid on little-known stories of the First World War.

Bayly’s War is the sixth book written by naval historian Steve Dunn and is published this month.

Among the stories featured is that of William (Willie) Mason, from Manchester Road, Warrington.

A medical student at Victoria University, Manchester, he was the son of the headmaster of Beamont School and somewhat unwillingly joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.

In January 1917, he found himself on HMS Laburnum as surgeon probationer, receiving seven shillings and sixpence a day.

His experiences, including a first-hand account from his diary, are featured in the book.

Steve said: “Clearly a great deal has been written about the First World War but I wanted to do something different and get under the skin of just some of the men that we don’t usually hear about.

“Their exploits are just as important and help us build up a picture of what life at sea was like during the four-year conflict.”

According to his diary, Willie wasn’t impressed by his new home, describing his cabin as ‘a vile filthy mess’ and one of the officers as having ‘an innate sense of selfishness’.

He also lived in perpetual fear of U-boats, opting to wear his lifebelt at all times.

Perhaps it was this fear that prompted him to rush home to Warrington when he had some leave to get engaged to his sweetheart, Mary, and then marry her five days later.

He also made a will.

In December 1917 he was injured and disabled and returned to his studies in Manchester in 1918.

Steve added: “Willie and many others featured in the book were just ordinary people who found themselves in an extraordinary situation.

“But somehow they coped, showing courage, determination and I hope I have done justice to their stories.”

Bayly’s War focuses on the Royal Navy’s Coast of Ireland Command and the brave role its men played in the Allied victory.

The sailors were in a fight for survival as German U-boats targeted trade in the Atlantic in an attempt to drive Britain to submission through lack of food and critical resources.