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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

The FREEMASONS


johnboy
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The book I quoted from is vastly different in number of men listed to the masonic roll of honour in Freemasons' Hall. The book was an early post war compilation and the roll of honour came later. I can only assume (I have no published source to qualify this) that many names were submitted to United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) after the book was sent to the publishers. I have to say I have not spent any of my time researching the many individual casualties or the roll of honour as this area is we'll covered by the Masonic Great War Project. I prefer a broader view of how English freemasons and UGLE acted & reacted during this time.

Neither the book or roll of honour provide a difinitive list of names and I guess that the name of every Freemason who gave their life in the war will never be known.

Andy

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Neither the book or roll of honour provide a difinitive list of names and I guess that the name of every Freemason who gave their life in the war will never be known.

Andy


Considering that Freemasons are a society of secrets, maybe that's the way it should be after all.


khaki
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  • 6 months later...

New Zealand Troops formed 2 Masonic Associations in theatres of war.

The first was the NZEF Masonic Association in France created by Col. George Barclay. This group was very active around the South Coast of England and Freemason soldiers were encouraged to join and also visit local lodges. Approximately 1500 men joined the association. There is a jewel created and was worn by members. This jewel was in three grades Metal, Silver Gilt, and Gold.

There is a jewel in the collection of a Lodge in Torquay, the other in in the collection of the United Grand Lodge of England in London. I am aware of some 450 men who purchased the jewels.

The other Association was formed in Egypt and Palestine. This group was much smaller as the troops were in constant action against the Turks and Germans. This group styled itself as the NZEF Masonic Association in Egypt and Palestine. It had about 116 members and held meetings in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine. It was created by Brig-Gen William Meldrum O.C. NZ Mtd Division. This group held a meeting of Freemasons in the temple of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem on the 6th April 1918. Thirtyone Freemasons representing 27 Lodges were present. The event was later commemorated by a photograph taken outside the Temple. One of t he men in the photo was reputed to be the Sheik in charge of the temple. Himself a Freemason.

A jewel was created and carved in mother of Pearl shell. Fiftyone were manufactured and sold to members. I have ttraced the location of 10 of these jewels. Of the 51 men present I have identified about 1/3rd of them.

Two books have been published about this particular meeting "The Fulfilled Promise" by Eli Minoff and Keith Stockley published 2007. The second book titled The Brig. by Gordon Sylvester published May 2013

Both Jewels are seen in some Lodge Collections in New Zealand the Dome Jewel is possibly one of the rarest jewels in the world of Freemasonry

The Brig is both a record of those events prior to and at the meeting as well as a Family History about William and a history of his lodge as well as the Mounted Rifles Squadron he was instrumental in forming before he became O.C. Wellington Mounted Rifles.

William (Bill) went to Egypt, fought at Gallipoli and all through the Egypt and Palestine campaigns.

He was briefly in command of the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade, and was later promoted as OC New Zealand Mounted Division.

Barclay reported there Freemasons in Mesopotamia. But there are no records to substantiate this comment

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  • 2 weeks later...

While trawling through a book looking for other material I sawa this which might be of interest:

"Freemasonry in the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) by T F Henderson. Aldershot. Gale and Polden Ltd 1934 xv 100 pp.

MG

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  • 6 months later...

New Zealand created two Masonic Associations during WW1.

The NZEF Masonic Association In France. Based in Southern England and NZEF Masonic Association in Egypt and Palestine.

The first group are still in existence in New Zealand and created its own Masonic jewels for both conflicts.

The second association was created separately in the Middle East and was never associated with the former association. The English Association claim to have had a Branch in Mesopotamia but has never been actually confirmed.

The membership roll of the France Association claims some 1400 members

Whereas the Egypt and Palestine Group claimed 115 members Only one man a Chaplain claimed membership of both associations.

I have details of most of the men associated with both associations and the lodges they were members of.

Meetings were held in the field. And one meeting was actually held in the Tomb of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem 16 April 1918. at which 31 Freemasons were present.

The KOH Lodge is still in existence but was created prior to WW1 in fact during and towards the end of the Anglo-Boer War.

Coastie 68

A New Zealand Freemason.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello Andy

I am seeking information about Colonel James William Henry Brown who was in command of the Northern Telegraph Companies, Royal Engineers at the outbreak of the Great War. A local Medical Practitioner in Leeds, he later transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps and was posted to Egypt. He is listed as a past master of the Goderich Lodge, Leeds. I understand that there is a published history of the Goderich Lodge and would be interested to know if he gets a mention, particularly if there is a photo of him. I would be most grateful for any help you might be able to give regarding Colonel James William Henry Brown and the Goderich Lodge, Leeds. Many thanks.

Regards

Ron

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  • 1 month later...

I have this photo of freemasons in Soltau POW camp between 1916 and 1917. It is from my grandfather's photo collection, he was a POW in Soltau from 1916 to 1918

The reverse of the photo has their names and lodges:

Daniel Cook - Perseverance 1018 (now Clydebank?)

W.R. Simmonds - Mizpah 35 - Medicine Hat, Alberta (from ICRC records I think this is Pte William Robert Simonds of the 10th Canadians wounded at Ypres and prisoner at Soltau 1916-1917)

Hugh A.R. MacLennan - Langside 955 - Glasgow (from ICRC records I think this is Lance Corporal Hugh MacLennan 1 Cameron Highlanders, wounded at Ypres and prisoner in Soltau

Russell Taylor - St Johns 967 - Coatbridge

Geo C. Hughes - 3323 Lebong - Bangal (he is listed in Freemasons Roll of Honour)

Hope this is interesting to Forum members. Grateful for any more information on these men, and whos's who in the photo. Also grateful for any advice on whether any freemasonry or lodge archives would be interested in this photo.

Maggiepost-114706-0-56699900-1417371855_thumb.

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Hi Maggie

Fantastic photo!

Being cheeky ;) any chance you can email me a scanned copy for my personal collection if I pm you my email address please.

Lodges outside of the Grand Lodge of England are not my speciality but many of the lodges listed appear to be Scottich so The Grand Lodge of Scotland may be interested in a copy of the photo; their address is Freemasons' Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 3DH.

Thanks for sharing the photo, are there any other photos showing masonic signs or regalia in the photo album?

Best wishes

Andy

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My Grandfather was a staunch Mason, the Grand Master of his Lodge (Victory) for a year. I have two photographs of him in uniform during the Second war, when he served in the RAF Police in the Bahamas (where, according to family tradition, he was in the same Lodge as the Duke of Windsor). In these photographs he is in uniform shorts and socks, and in both photographs his left sock is rolled down towards his ankle (though still retaining a smart and soldierly appearance).

I am not a Mason but my guess is that this rolling down of the sock had some Masonic relevance, and I wonder if Mason soldiers of the Great War adapted their uniform in some small way, recognisable by other Masons but of no significance to others.

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Looking through the thread I'm a bit surprised this photo has not been put up already. It's not clear what the banner actually signifies is being done, but from it's iconography with obvious Masonic influence I have always assumed this indicated Freemasons within the Division engaged in some sort of effort connected with this Guards Divisional canteen. Photo taken Sept 1916 at Guillemont.

post-23614-0-78509000-1417453738_thumb.j

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Looking through the thread I'm a bit surprised this photo has not been put up already. It's not clear what the banner actually signifies is being done, but from it's iconography with obvious Masonic influence I have always assumed this indicated Freemasons within the Division engaged in some sort of effort connected with this Guards Divisional canteen. Photo taken Sept 1916 at Guillemont.

The image was used as the Guards Div in the Great War and later in the Second World War. IWM blurb below. You might want to explore Maj Sir Eric Avery.

The Second World War sign was a somewhat simplified version of the sign worn by the Guards Division during the First World War. The original badge was designed by Major Sir Eric Avery (who commanded the Divisional MT Company) and the Second World War version was chosen from a number of designs painted on divisional vehicles by Rex Whistler, who was serving in the 2 Welsh Guards, Divisional Armoured Recce. unit. The sign represents the eye of vigilance, red and blue being the Household Brigade colours. The Division was formed in September 1941 under command of Maj. Gen. Sir Oliver Leese. Maj. Gen. Sir Alan Adair took command in September 1942 and remained in command until the end of the war.. The Division became part of 21 Army Group for the invasion of Europe, Operation Overlord. It landed in Normandy as part of VIII Corps and fought at Caen and Falaise. After the breakout at the end of July 1944 it took part in the dash to the Seine and was later the first formation to enter Brussels in September. It crossed the Rhine under XII Corps and fought its way to Bremen and Cuxhaven. After the armistice the Division moved to the Rhineland, where it had been in occupation at the end of the previous war. In June 1945 it was converted to an infantry division and became part of BAOR.

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The pre-war regular army was not averse to Lodges in ..... or near .... its midst.

Photos of mixed ranks in army uniform with masonic regalia on top are not that rare, which I find surprising.

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Andy. Happy to send you copy of Soltau photo. Please provide email. thanks for the Scottish address, I don't think any of the other photos I have include any masonic signs of regalia but will check again.

Maggie

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Navy rather than army, but on a tour of Britannia Royal Naval College last year we were told that the chapel there was originally designed so that it oculd be used as a Masonic Temple as well, but shortly after the college opened there was some sort of Admiralty edict that meant the civilian staff of the colelge wouldn't have been able to be in the same lodge as the serving officers. The masons didn't feel that this was in keeping with the spirit of equality, and so in the end the chapel was never used as such.

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Did they go into action with their shirts hanging out and trousers rolled up to the knees?Would they have had a funny handshake with a German before killing him?

I only ask.

Edited by healdav
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Did thwey go into action with their shirts hanging put and trousers rolled up to the knees?Would they have had a funny handshake with a German before killing him? I only ask.

:)

There are other ways for Masons to identify themselves without having to roll up the trouser leg or bearing their breast :)

Not strictly Masonic but There is certainly evidence of Orangemen wearing their sashes at the front

Andy

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:)

There are other ways for Masons to identify themselves without having to roll up the trouser leg or bearing their breast :)

Not strictly Masonic but There is certainly evidence of Orangemen wearing their sashes at the front

Andy

Bearing their breasts. I didn't think women could join (more sense).

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There are women's lodges and Co Masonic Lodges with members of both sexes but neither are officially recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England & I digress away from the 14/18 period.

Andy

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Did thwey go into action with their shirts hanging put and trousers rolled up to the knees?Would they have had a funny handshake with a German before killing him?

I only ask.

Healdav

Your response is hardly helpful to this thread and shows a lack of respect.

Yours most sincerely

Douglas

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Healdav

Your response is hardly helpful to this thread and shows a lack of respect.

Yours most sincerely

Douglas

Well, they should try tucking in their shirts and wearing their trousers properly.

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Well, they should try tucking in their shirts and wearing their trousers properly.

Healdav

Another gem from yourself which will not add to the standards of the Forum.

Douglas

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest mackinnon68

I have this photo of freemasons in Soltau POW camp between 1916 and 1917. It is from my grandfather's photo collection, he was a POW in Soltau from 1916 to 1918

The reverse of the photo has their names and lodges:

Daniel Cook - Perseverance 1018 (now Clydebank?)

W.R. Simmonds - Mizpah 35 - Medicine Hat, Alberta (from ICRC records I think this is Pte William Robert Simonds of the 10th Canadians wounded at Ypres and prisoner at Soltau 1916-1917)

Hugh A.R. MacLennan - Langside 955 - Glasgow (from ICRC records I think this is Lance Corporal Hugh MacLennan 1 Cameron Highlanders, wounded at Ypres and prisoner in Soltau

Russell Taylor - St Johns 967 - Coatbridge

Geo C. Hughes - 3323 Lebong - Bangal (he is listed in Freemasons Roll of Honour)

Hope this is interesting to Forum members. Grateful for any more information on these men, and whos's who in the photo. Also grateful for any advice on whether any freemasonry or lodge archives would be interested in this photo.

Maggieattachicon.gifSoltau POW camp - freemasons - 1916 or 1917 - RH 167.jpg

Hello Maggie,

I found a reference to a "Billy Simmons" from Medicine Hat in Ivan Rossiter's tale of his imprisonment at Soltau (Ivan Rossiter: In Kultured Kaptivity, p. 197-198)

https://archive.org/details/inkulturedkaptiv00rossrich

Rossiter recounts the first meeting with his old friend from his home town on his arrival at Soltau.

I think this might be the Simmonds from your photo.

Ulrich

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