Born in 1903 in Yarmouth, Norfolk, Herbert Mason was the son of Walter Mason, who ran a photography businesses on the seafront and in Gorleston.
Mason initially worked for the Yarmouth Mercury newspaper before moving to London aged 21. After a brief spell with a commercial film company he became a photo-journalist and became chief photographer at the Daily Mail.
It was during this period, when on fire patrol on the rooftop of the newspaper's headquarters in December 1940, that he took the photograph of St Paul's Cathedral for which he is remembered.
During the war, he also covered a meeting between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in which he acted as a decoy, impersonating the president in a cortege while the real one slipped away by a secret route.
He also worked for the Associated Press.