As Lodge Glittering Star has been in existence as a Regimental Lodge and has remained such throughout its existence, it is appropriate to commence this history with a brief outline of the Regiment with which its history is so intimately bound up.
The 29th Regiment of Foot (now known as the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regt.) was originally raised by Colonel Thomas Farrington of the Coldstream Guards under a Royal Warrant dated 16th February, 1694 and was known as “Farrington’s Regiment” (in some records `Farrington’s Foot) in accordance with the existing practice of calling regiments after their Colonel.
In 1702 the Regiment was transferred to Ireland; from 1704-06 it fought under the Duke of Marlborough, including the great victory of Ramifies; from 1711-13 it was stationed at Gibraltar. From 1713-26 the Regiment was again in Ireland and from 1727-45 it was once more stationed in Gibraltar.
In October, 1745 the Regiment, then known as “Fuller’s” was ordered to proceed to Louisburg in Cape Breton, recently captured by New England troops. Stormy weather obliged transport to stop at the Leeward Islands, and afterwards at Virginia where they were stationed from December to April 1746. The Regiment eventually reached Louisburg in May where it remained until 1749 when Cape Breton was returned to France under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and the Regiment was transferred to the new settlement of Halifax where the men were employed in cutting down trees and clearing the ground.
In 1750 the Regiment returned to Ireland. While in Ireland from 1750-65 a Warrant No. 322, dated May 3rd, 1759 was issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland to the Masons in the Regiment. During this period the Regiment had a number of moves in Ireland. In 1759 it was stationed at Dublin, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Cashel and Athy; in 1760-61 at Limerick; 1762 at Galway, Londonderry, Belfast and in 1763-64 at Dublin. In May 1765 the Regiment marched to Cork where it embarked on the 5th June for Nova Scotia. The Regiment remained in Nova Scotia until October 1763 when, together with the 14th, the Grenadiers and one Company of the 59th and a Company of Artillery it was removed to Boston where it took a leading part in what has been called “the Boston Massacre”.
In December 1763 some members of the Lodge, along with others petitioned the Grand Lodge of Scotland for the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master and the request having been granted this Lodge provided both Warden’s for the new Body. Records show that the Lodge was represented at the Provincial Grand Lodge, while it remained in the area.
On the 20th August 1769, nearly a year after the arrival of the 14th, 29th and 64th Regiments in Boston a Royal Arch Lodge was formed and worked during the years of its existence under the Authority of the Charter of St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 82 SC. The Minutes of the first Meeting record the fact that William Davis, a P.M. and Member of Lodge No. 58 in the 14th Regiment, received “four steps, viz. of Excellent, Super Excellent, Royal Arch and Knight Templar” (the oldest record of the last mentioned in the world).
In May 1770, the Regiment removed to New Jersey where it was split up into various companies and stationed at Brunswick, Elizabeth Town, and Port Amboy, and in the following year again removed to St. Augustine, Florida where detachments were sent to Mobile, Pensacola, and one company to the Bahamas. In September 1773 the Regiment embarked for England and from then to 1776 was stationed at Dover and Chatham. In May 1776 it returned to Quebec and thence in June to Three Rivers and in July to Montreal where it remained until September, when it was quartered at St. John’s, Verchere and elsewhere, detachments taking part later in fighting around St. John’s, Lake Champlain, Tichonderog, the action at Saratoga and other points in Quebec and New York State, returning to Quebec for the winter of 1780-81. The winter of 1783-8 was spent at St. John’s. During the years 1784-86 the Regiment was quartered principally at Niagura which place it left in July 1787 by way of Quebec. On disembarking at Portsmouth the Regiment marched to Worcester and was billeted in various parishes in the town. In 1788 the Regiment moved to Pershore and in July of that year marched to Tewkesbury whence a detachment was sent to Cheltenham to do duty over Their Majesties. (George 1)
In 1790 the Regiment marched, by way of Tynemouth, Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to Dover and thence to Portsmouth and was embarked aboard H.M. Ships for duty as Marines during the months of June to October, after which the Regiment returned to Dover. In 1793 and 94 they again served as Marines aboard ship and at Plymouth. In 1795-96 it was stationed at Granada in the British West Indies after which it returned to England until 1802 when it was again in Canada at Halifax, Nova Scotia until July 1807. Full lists of Members, correspondence and returns for Lodge No. 322 during this period are to be found in the Grand Lodge archives at Halifax.
The Regiment subsequently served in the Peninsular War at the end of which in 1804 it was again sent to Halifax arriving in August of that year from which point it embarked shortly afterwards for Maine where it remained until the following June, 1815 when it embarked for England. After service in Mauritius, England, Ireland, Scotland and India, the Regiment served for a long period in Burma during which time the Masons of the Regiment at the instance of Colonel George Congreve CB, who became its W.M., applied for and obtained a renewal (1854) of their Warrant, as the old Warrant was showing considerable signs of wear.
For much of this period the Regiment saw considerable active service in Burma and India including the 2nd Sikh War in 1848-49 and the Indian Mutiny, from November 1856 to September 1859. The Regiment again visited Canada in 1887 landing in Quebec in July and proceeding at once to Montreal and later to Kingston. In May the Regiment relieved the 17th Foot at Toronto; in November four Companies were quartered at London, Ontario, rejoining H.Q. at Toronto in the following May. Proceeding later, in October, from Quebec to Halifax where they were stationed for a short period before embarking for Jamaica. Whilst in the West Indies they served in Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Barbados and St. Vincent. The Regiment undertook another tour of duty in India and Aden through 1879 to 1895. It took part also in the South African War from 1899 to 1903.
The “Worchester’s” were in Cairo from 1913-14 and in Europe for the first World War from 1914-18. From 1919 to 1931 it served in India and at Shanghai. In 1938, just prior to the second World War it was moved to Palestine and served in the Sudan (1939); in the North African campaign, id 1939-42, the North West Europe campaign from 1944-1945; and at various places in Germany from 1945-49. From 1950 to ’53 it served in Malaya and after a short period in England at its home town of Worcester went once more to the Caribbean in 1957.
Following a two year spell at Worcester the Regiment moved to Germany, back for a short time in the U.K. then to Gibraltar and back to the U.K. again. The amalgamation of the 29th/45th Regiments took place and the new Regiment became the Worcestershire and the Sherwood Foresters Regt. The next eight years saw the Regt. in Berlin for two years, N. Ireland for two years, two years at Colchester and back to Germany for two years
Founders & Membership
The Lodge was founded on the 3rd May 1759 with nine “Founder” members. Of the nine, George McCartney became the first Master and Alexander Wilson and Joseph Alcock the first Wardens. The original Founders continued to comprise the full membership of the Lodge for the next twenty months when four new Members joined the Lodge on 10th February 1761.
Having regard to the fact that it was a new Lodge it would be interesting to know why the Lodge went so long without expanding. After that, the membership of the Lodge does show an increase and by the end of 1761 the number had risen to thirty. Thirteen more Members joined in 1762 and two others on the 20th April 1763.
The Lodge then appears to have had another static period because it is not until the 8th March 1774, almost eleven years later that the strength increased by a further fourteen members. An even longer gap then occurred and just over ten years passed before new blood in the persons of twelve new members joined on the 14th April 1792. Although intervals of up to six years at a time with no new members occurs up to 1831, by that time the serial numbers of the Register reached No. 190. In 1831 the Lodge ceased to meet and that condition persisted for twenty-four years when on the 13th November 1854 the Warrant was renewed in the names of Bro. Colonel George Congreve of Lodge No. 596 (E.C), Bro. Captain Hugh G. Colville, Lodge No. 609 (E.C) and Bro. Captain Augustus A. Dick of the Scottish Constitution.
One wonders whether pressure was brought to bear on various Brethren, some from English Lodges, to re-establish Lodge Glittering Star because although thirty-five members joined in 1855 and 1856 no fewer than twelve of those who did so resigned within two years and some in the same year that they joined. The system of maintaining a Register with each new Members being allotted a serial number continued until 2nd August 1865. It is questionable, however, whether the copy available, which appears to be transcribed from older Registers, is accurate for in 1805, according to the Minutes, brethren were appointed to Office who are not shown as members of the Lodge.
Down through its many years of existence Lodge Glittering Star has suffered many vicissitude, its fortunes have ebbed and flowed and sometimes they have ebbed far out, but it has survived; one of the two Military Lodges to do so. In the year of its bi-centenary, 1959, it had a membership of over one hundred and was undoubtedly in a very flourishing condition, probably far more so that at any time during its long history. Membership in 1967/68 was still of the order of one hundred and although the Regiment was stationed in the UK, meetings had to be cancelled owing to an outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease. Fifteen members of the Lodge were serving with the Regiment, at this time and a further fourteen were serving with other units. By 1979, due to problems of running a Lodge within an active unit the numbers of serving personnel had virtually been reduced to a handful of members and no dues had been collected for five years. Whilst dues were paid to Grand Lodge for fifty-three members about half of this number were not traced until 1981.
Re gap prior to 8 March 1774.
Possibly also due to the cost of postage or uncertain postage from overseas, many members of ambulatory lodges were never registered in the books of Grand Lodge.
In May 1765 the Regt. embarked on HMS Thunderer at Cork and sailed to Halifax to act as a reserve and to relieve those units which had been engaged against the French.
In October 1768, the 29th & 14th Regiment accompanied by part of the 59th 2nd Battn, East Lancs. were despatched from Halifax to Boston by order of General Gage.
As recalled in Chapter 1 it was at this time, March 1770, that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (under the G.L. of Scotland) was formed and in May 1769 Joseph Warren was appointed Provincial Grand Master `with jurisdiction over Ancient Masons in Boston, New England, and within one hundred miles of same’. He duly installed his officers at Masons Hall, Green Dragon Tavern, Boston on 30th December 1769 when the Master and Warden’s of Lodge 322 were present together with those of No. 58 E.C. (General Joseph Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 as a rebel on the Colonists side.)
Glittering Star’s part in this event was recognised in 1959 when a Solid Silver 24″ Gauge was presented by Massachusetts Grand Lodge to the Lodge and this is one of the prized possessions today. See Chapter 18.
Of the 14th, 29th and 84th Regiments in Boston, a Royal Arch Lodge was formed and worked during the years of its existence under the authority of a Charter of the Lodge of St. Andrew’s SC. See Chapter 20 `Sovereign Great Priory of Nova Scotia’.
The 29th Regiment were in Plymouth from June 1801 to 24th June 1802 and the old Account Book shows that they were still working the Royal Arch Degree at that time.
In September 1773 the Regiment had embarked for England and returned in May 1776 to Quebec and other parts thereabouts, taking part in various actions and going back to Quebec for the winter of 1780-81.
The intake into the Lodge up to 1774 had been, according to the Registers, 68 members in total. There are no entries registered during the next 18 years, 1774 – 1792 and then 12 members were admitted in April and a further 6 in July of the same year.
In October 1781 the Regiment embarked on board the `General Elliott’ and `Jane’ transports for Portsmouth. Having been stationed in various places in England till 1790 the 29th embarked in June in the following ships with a view of doing duty as marines. HMS’s Egmont, <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=””>Courageous, Gibraltar,Charlotte, <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=””>Duke and Captain. These were all discharged at Chatham in November 1790.
Again in 1793 the 29th became marines on board HMS Edgar when a valuable Spanish ship was captured, prize money was paid to the ship’s company including the “marines”. Eight members of the Regiment were awarded the Naval General Service Medal with the 1st June 1794 Bar.
1797 saw another large intake of members into the Lodge following only one in 1794.
The oldest record book extant contains minutes, accounts and Rolls of Members. The Accounts are the oldest part of the book and the first entry is for 2nd May 1798.
Two interesting points arise from these Minutes (1805). A lecture on the degree or degrees which had just been worked was always given at the meeting and the entries always refer to the lectures as having been “passed” by the Brother who gave them. It is clear also that the Tyler was not a regular officer as in other constitutions, but was appointed for the evening.
The Lodge was honoured, 5th June 1805, with a visit by the officers of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia the Minutes recording:- “After Inspecting and Examining the Books of Transactions, Bye-Laws and Accounts, as well as the Warrant of the Lodge, expressed their High Approbation of the order and Regularity of the Body in general.”
The minutes of 7th August 1806 record the first mention of a P.M. jewel when `it was proposed that a P.M’s. jewel should be presented to W. Bro. Robinson for his unremitting zeal and fidelity to the Craft during his term presiding as W.M.’ At the same meeting it was decided to procure a Steward’s and Tyler’s jewel.
The minutes of a meeting headed “Emergency” and dated 8th December are unusual and interesting.:- “Lodge met in due form to solemnise the interment of our Late worthy Bro. Arthur McCarrol; the Members having assembled at the Free Masons Hall in Barrington Street and opened an entered apprentice Lodge, they then in company with the different Lodges in town proceeded to the H.B. Square where our deceased Bro. lay, from thence to the Roman Catholic Burying Ground the place of Interment, the Service being performed by the Rev. Fr. Burke, the body was Deposited with the honours of Masonry, surrounded by his sorrowful Brethren, the Honours of War being performed the procession returned to the Mason Hall, closed the Lodge and from thence departed in peace. Lodge ordered to be in Mourning.”
The minutes of the meeting held on 29th January 1807 contain an interesting mixture of discipline and charity:- “Lodge met in due form Bro. Stott in the chair read a letter from the G.L. of England (Favouring W. Bro. Stott) of General Communications, also one from the G.L. of Nova Scotia of the same nature, also one from the G. Secretary, stating Bro. McCrea having been re-instated in Trinity Lodge No. 30 and Bro. Huxford having withdrawn as a member of that Lodge. Mrs. Sillman a Bros. wife being supposed in Distressed situation it was taken into consideration and £2.10.0. [£2.50] was voted for her relief. Bro. Jas. Hayes’ conduct being deemed unworthy as a Mason it was taken into consideration and he was finally excluded and ordered to be reported to the G. Secretary. The expenses of Bro. Carroll’s funeral having been taken into consideration it was voted that £2.11.6. [£2.57½] should be paid by the Body and the remainder from his effects. Sgt. Walton of the Regt. having been on the books for a long time it was taken into consideration and his conduct not meeting with the consent of the Body he was rejected.”
The last meeting during the tour of duty at Halifax was held on 8th June 1807 but the minutes contain nothing of special interest. Having received orders to return to England, on 19th June the Regiment embarked on five transports and after a favourable passage the Regiment arrived at Deal towards the end of July (1807) On November 13th the Regiment set out for Portsmouth completing the march on 7th December and proceeded to embark `for secret service’. The Regiment took part in the campaign in Spain and Portugal before embarking, on 2nd November 1811, in H.M.S. Agincourt, arriving at Portsmouth on December 1st. The Regiment was selected for Windsor duty and the Lodge commenced to hold meetings again. There is no record of any meetings being held between 8th June 1807 (Halifax) and 23rd June 1812. That meeting merely records the election of a Master and his officers for the ensuing year, not a word about the five years wanderings since leaving Halifax.
1812. Meetings were held regularly without very much of note but that on 2nd December demonstrates the care taken with the regard to visitors. It was at this meeting that it was decided to revive the custom of all dining together on St. John’s Day and for wives being welcome to join. Three meetings took place in 1813 at Windsor and in February the Regiment left Windsor and marched to Portsmouth and embarked for Cadiz.
It will be seen later that a Petition a Captain Colville sent to G.L. he made the following statement “A portion of the jewels and documents, the latter containing the minute book from 1769 to 1827 are still safe; the meetings during those years dating from almost every portion of the Globe.” In his address he stated “The 7th May 1828 appears to be the last day the lodge worked and that was at Port Louis in the Mauritius, at least there are no minutes forthcoming of later date.” Nothing further is available until 1855 when we find at the second regular meeting of the Lodge “The W.M. presented the Lodge with a noble copy of the Sacred Law and mentioned that the old Volume had necessarily been destroyed as it was falling to pieces from age and decay, it was buried by three Master Masons in the River Ganges in 1853”. Bro. Quinn presented the Lodge also with a new seal made from an impression of the old seal which had been found among the papers.
About this time there was something of a rush to join the Lodge, both joining and initiates. In consequence as additional meeting was held on 16th July. It is noted in the report of that meeting that `The W.M. delivered a lecture on the tracing board for the instruction of the brethren’. From which one may conclude that most likely a modified version of English ritual was being used. At this time meetings had been held in various officers houses but in November it was decided to approach the local Library Committee with as view to meetings being held there at a suggested charge of Rs. 10 per month.
A minute in the records of the meeting of 5th December (1855) shows that a Charity Fund had been established:- “The W.M. proposed and Bro. MM. seconded that the Charity Fund of the Lodge be made available for the support of 2 orphan children of soldiers of 29th who had lost both parents, namely Child Barker and Child Fogerty – the latter a cripple – the assistance being Rs. 5 per month for the latter and Rs. 3 per month for the former, also a suit of cloths etc. at Exmas – carried unanimously.”
The proposal to form a new Lodge at Whayetuyo at last came to fruition and a meeting was held on 25th April 1856 to establish the new Lodge. The W.M. of 322, having invested the Master of the new Lodge with the jewel of his office, vacated the chair which was taken by the new Master and the meeting continued as a meeting of Lodge `Astrea’. The new Master appointed his officers, who were conducted to their seats by the Deacons of 322, the officers of 322 vacating their seats in turn. This would appear to have concluded the Consecration of the new Lodge.
There is nothing to indicate at what hour the meetings commenced but the hour of closing was always recorded. Rarely did the Lodge close before 9.30. p.m. and very often after 11.00 p.m.
It was expected that the meeting held on 5th November would be the last at Thayetuye as the 29th was under orders to move to Fort William via Rangoon and Calcutta. Brethren unlikely to move were invited to resign from the Lodge if they wished and it was decided to present the pedestals to Lodge Astrea. As the advance party had left for Rangoon and there were not sufficient members left to hold a meeting, that which should have been held on 3rd December was cancelled. The Regiment should have been relieved by the 53rd but owing to some sudden chain of events the detached Wing returned to Thayetmyo and meetings resumed. In fact the Regiment remained for another nine months.
The Lodge managed to hold its meeting on St. John’s Day, December 27th when the W.M. read a letter from the G. Secretary of the G.L. of I. dated 29th August 1855. In these days when mail takes little more than days to reach Rangoon it is interesting to note that in 1856 it took three months.
It is inevitable that circumstances must arise from time to time which make it impossible for a Military Lodge to meet, time spent on voyages, dispersal of the Regiment into small groups, and actual military operations. The latter reason covers the gap from 8th June 1914 until 12th June 1920 when the Lodge next met, this time at Hasarabad in India. It is on record that the Lodge met at Port Louis in the Mauritius on 7th May 1828 and not again until 4th April 1855 at Thyatmyo, Burma, a gap of 27 years.
In 1853 the 29th Regiment was stationed at Dinapore in India and clearly had some very keen masons, amongst them being a Captain H.G. Colville. One must assume that someone came across an old chest which was found to contain the warrant of an Irish Constitution Lodge about which they probably had never heard. The masons of the 29th were evidently moved with a desire to revive this old Lodge and it is clear that Capt. Colville wrote to the D.P.G.M., N.W. Provinces, India, and asked for his advice on how to set about doing so. Unfortunately, a copy of Capt. Colville’s letter is not available now, but the D.P.G.M.’s reply sent from Calcutta and dated 21st March 1853 is to hand and is included in full in the reference together with the permission of the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. G. Congreve, dated 22nd July 1854. The Petition was forwarded to the Grand Master on 19th August 1854 with a long letter outlining the circumstances and in a letter dated 13th November 1854 the Grand Secretary a new style Warrant, by way of a renewal, was forwarded.
There was some delay before the Warrant arrived at Naulmain due mainly to the fact that insufficient postage had been paid on it. It was therefore held up in London until the full postage reached there from Dublin. In the meantime there had been certain changes in personnel and the Regiment had moved to Thyatmyo in Burma. However, eventually it was possible to make a start and the re-establishment meeting was held in the house of Bro. Ross, Brigade Major at Thyatmyo in 4th April 1855. The Reference shows a lost of Brethren present at this meeting and those who signed the Petition. Having opened the Lodge, W. Bro. Colville proceeded to address the Brethren and his address is included in full in the Reference. (p. 23)
4th February 1857. The W.M. informed the Brethren that Bro. Middleton, S.W. had presented to the Lodge a dagger for the I.G. which had been taken by him from one of the Southal rebels during the late disturbances in the district – also a regulation sword for the Tyler. The Master for the ensuing year was duly elected at the meeting held on 3rd June and the Installation should have taken place on 24th as usual. However, owing to a `sudden order received by electric telegraph’ from Rangoon for the despatch of a wing of 29th to Calcutta, no Installation or festival meeting could be held. The August meeting was missed too `owing to the Lodge chest not reaching Rangoon in time’. Owing to his absence in Calcutta the W.M., Bro. Middleton, was not actually installed until the meeting held on 13th January 1858.
When Lodge Astrea No. 972 was formed at Thayetmyo the Master, Capt. Cooper, proposed that a suitably inscribed ink-stand should be presented to Lodge 322 as a mark of appreciation for the assistance given. After the Installation of Bro. Middleton this ink-stand was displayed to the Brethren of 322 and in the course of his remarks he observed `the late much esteemed W. Bro. Cooper of that Lodge (Astrea) so much beloved by the Brethren was no more, he having fallen gallantly and gloriously fighting for his Country at the relief of Lucknow and that it was with extreme regret that he could not present this mark of W. Bro. Cooper and the Brethren of Lodge Astrea’s esteem to Lodge 322 without this mournful intelligence’.
Quite lengthy and normal minutes record the meeting held on 4th August. After that they stop abruptly and the next minutes refer to a meeting held at Newry on 19th October 1864. Presumably the Lodge did not meet during this period. The reference goes on to trace the movements of the regiment for the intervening period.
It was in 1863 that the regiment moved from Glasgow to the Curragh and in consequence of the Belfast riots, and the disturbed state of the north of Ireland in 1864, the regiment proceeded, via Dublin, to Newry and Enniskillen and Masonic activities were resumed again.
By the time the regiment arrived at Newry none of the old members of Lodge 322, who had worked so effectively at Thayetmyo were available. Alternative postings and unknown causes would appear to account for the losses and it was a completely new set of Officers who met at Newry on 19th October 1864. It was not a Lodge meeting as normally understood. It was attended by five Brethren only, one from Lodge 369 E.C, one from No. 215 IC and three from No. 124 SC. and the minutes show that with the permission of the Commanding Officer, and with help from Lodge No. 18 the brethren met “for the election of officers or any other business.”
A further meeting was held on 2nd November at which officers for the ensuing six months were elected. The only member of 322 was a Bro. Capt. Keebone who was given the office of S.D. The officers so elected were duly installed on 27th December, though Capt. Keebone was not there, neither is he shown as having attended following the election on 2nd November.
At a meeting, held on 4th January 1865, the W.M. expressed the opinion that the fees as laid down in Rule No. 12 were too high and he proposed a reduction which was carried. The last meeting at Newry was held on 17th May when the officers for the ensuing six months were elected. The next two meetings were in Dublin on 29th May and 14th June and the following one in Malta but no date is given. However, a well minuted meeting was held on 13th September at which 20 members attended.
Meetings were held regularly during the tour of duty at Malta but there is nothing of special interest to record. The last gathering at Malta was on 9th March 1867. On 2nd July the 29th embarked on board H.M.S. Tamer for conveyance to Canada. The next meeting is recorded at Hamilton on 5th May (1868) when a Third Degree was worked and the Installation of the Officers took place. On 12th June 1869 two Companies proceeded by river steamer to Quebec and encamped at Point Levis. Two meetings were held, one on 8th September, when officers were elected, and the other on 16th October when degrees were worked and the officers installed. On 28th October 1869 the Regiment embarked on H.M.S. Tamar for Jamaica, however on arrival at Halifax the transport was pronounced as unfit for service and the Regiment were transferred, on 17th December, to H.M.S. Orontes. They arrived at Kingstown, Jamaica on 30th December and disembarked, moving on to Newcastle, Jamaica and the first meeting was held on 7th May. At this time the minutes show a membership of 18. As the current officers had not been able to show their zeal for the Order they were re-elected for a further period of six months at the May meeting.
The records of this time contain a letter from the Grand Secretary, dated 17th September 1870, forwarding a Past Masters Certificate for W.Bro. Bray. This was the first such Certificate received by the Lodge. On 29th November the Regiment removed to Barbados and the next meeting was held there on 27th December. It was at this meeting that it was proposed that “a good man should be chosen from the Privates of the Regiment, and be initiated, passed and raised for the purpose of being a permanent Tyler” to the Lodge. This rather confirms the impression that the Lodge members were restricted to Officers and N.C.O’s.
At the meeting held on 11th January 1871 the officers elected at the last meeting were duly installed. At this time the Regiment had companies on detachment and it is noted that no fewer than fourteen members were absent on detachment, rather a lot out of twenty-one. The last meeting held at Barbados was 6th July and shortly after the Regiment returned to Ireland the next meeting being held at Templemore on 5th August. The Lodge was to remain, and meet regularly at Templemore until June 1874 when it moved to Dublin, however, the next meeting was not held until 5th November in Richmond Barracks in Dublin. The Regiment remained in Dublin until 14th June 1875 on which date it sailed from Kingstown for Jersey and reached St. Aubin’s Bay in the afternoon of the 17th. It took some time for the Lodge to settle in and it was not until the 17th November that the first meeting was held, at St. Peter’s.
Once more the 29th was on the move and it is recorded that no meeting was held in July owing to the Regiment being under canvas at Petersfield. Having spent some time training the Regiment marched to Farnborough from there proceeding by special train to Chatham. No meeting was held in August, indeed only two further meetings were held up to the end of 1876. Irregular meetings were held up to 3rd October 1877 when the following was proposed and seconded:- “that in consequence of the irregular working of the Lodge during the time the Regt. has been at home, has not at all been satisfactory. It is resolved that this Lodge meet once every six months and to pay a sufficient fee to enable the said Lodge to hold the Warrant good in the Regiment”. The resolution was deferred until the January of the next year and as a new barracks had been completed at Norton, near Worcester an advance guard of the 29th proceeded to Norton at the end of November. A meeting was held on the 5th December at which the Lodge officers were installed `for the year of 1878′. There is nothing to indicate why the practice of electing officers for six monthly periods was dropped.
Minutes show nothing of interest for a period but for the first time the heading `Glittering Star Lodge 322′ was used from 11th September 1878. This is the first time the name Glittering Star is mentioned. The name first appears in the Grand Lodge records in the 1860’s but there is nothing in either the Lodge Minutes nor Grand Lodge records to indicate that the adoption of the name was considered in Lodge or referred to Grand Lodge for approval to use it.
Early in 1879 the Regiment moved to Dover where four meetings were held after which the Regiment proceeded by rail to Portsmouth where it embarked in H.M.S. Serapis for India and the next regular meeting of the Lodge was at Mhow on 7th April. At this meeting it was decided “that the same fees should be charged as when the regiment was in India before”…… It is interesting to note, and an old form in the Lodge records confirms the point, that unlike present day procedure of automatically giving a candidate all three degrees, in the 19th century a candidate had to make separate application for each degree. It is worth recording also, that there does not appear to have been any annual subscription as such, but that a monthly fee was charged.
In September it was decided to purchase twenty centenary jewels for members of the Lodge. It is fairly certain that the Lodge was working a hybrid ritual made up of a mixture of Irish and English and, possibly, Scottish rituals. Always, before being advanced to a higher degree, a candidate was “examined” in the preceding degree, a system more common in the English and Scottish Constitutions than in the Irish.
Nothing of note is recorded for some time, however, when the Regiment moved to Musseerabad in March 1882 a spate of candidates occurred after the move. Over the following years the Regiment moved to various locations in India. Meetings were held on a fairly regular basis with only a few breaks due to the constraints of active service. Attendance averaged about twenty and while the minutes contain little of special interest they record the transfer of various officers of the Regiment who had been of great assistance to the Lodge. At the meeting held on 21st June 1890 it is recorded that:- “The Ballot was taken for Sgt. Carleton, whose name appeared in the Books for the usual period and passed in his favour.” W. Bro. Carleton died in 1950 and to mark his long association with the Lodge his three sons presented the Lodge with the `Carleton Jewel’ which is worn by the Master.
Apart from recording some dissension in the Lodge, nothing of note occurs for a period, however, on the 22nd April 1893 it is recorded that “An Excellent Master’s” certificate forwarded from Lodge Horeb was presented to Bro. Norton by the W. Master. The Regiment remained in India until 1899 and meetings were held, sometimes only occasionally. Some time in the summer of 1899 the Regiment moved to Guernsey and the minutes record the Lodge’s first meeting there on 21st November, when an Installation meeting was held.
At the time of the outbreak of the war in South Africa in the autumn of 1899 (The Boer War) the 1st Bn. The Worcestershire Regiment and its Lodge were stationed at Guernsey, Channel Islands. Early in 1900, the battalion was ordered to South Africa, but at the same time two additional Regular Army battalions were raised in the Regiment, the 3rd and 4th Bns. The 3rd Bn. was stationed at Aldershot, to which a number of Officers and N.C.O’s were posted from the 1st Bn.
The Lodge at that time had fourteen members serving in the 1st Bn. exactly half of whom were posted to the 3rd Bn. in Aldershot. It was decided that the Lodge should be transferred to the 3rd Bn. until such time as the 1st Bn. was again in a position to receive in back into its rightful home, the 1st Bn. The transfer was approved by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the Lodge successfully operated in the 3rd Bn.
The next recorded minutes are of a meeting held at Aldershot on the 9th February 1900, when the officers for the year were installed. An Emergency meeting was held on 15th February to decide where the Lodge would meet and it was agreed that the Masonic Hall, Aldershot Town was the most suitable. However, the regiment did not stay there very long, the last meeting being on 22nd June. Another blank of sixteen months occurs and the next recorded meeting is at Tipperary on the 4th October. Nothing outstanding is recorded for some time, however, on the 24th January 1903 it is worthy of note that the Installing Officer on the occasion was Wor. Bro. the Rev. Canon Denis Hanon, of the P.G.L., South Eastern Area. Even at this time a mixture of English and Irish ritual was being worked.
The following extract from the minutes of the meeting held on 12th February 1904 are of particular interest.
The bye-laws were amended to make a monthly subscription of 1/- [£0.05] to the Lodge funds and 6d [£0.02½] to the Stewards fund.
The W. Master, Bro. Bennett proposed `That the Brethren in open Lodge assembled, wish to place on record their high appreciation of the services to the Lodge of Wor. Bro. Lieutenant Col. Hilton during his membership of upwards of 25 years and also to express their regret that owing to his giving up the command of the Battn., Bro. Hilton is compelled to sever his connection with the Lodge’.
On the proposition being put to the Brethren it was carried with acclamation.
Wor. Bro. Hinton replied and reminded the Brethren that even though he had complied with the unwritten rule that when a brother of the Lodge is promoted to command he ceases to be an active member of the Lodge. Nevertheless he had been kept fully informed of the Lodge’s workings and that he was pleased to hear of the Lodge’s good works. He also stated that he had never known of harm being done from having the Lodge in the Regiment and he considered that it had done a great deal of good.
The last meeting at Tipperary was held on 10th September 1904 and the Regiment moved to Aldershot, the next meeting being held there on 18th November.
It is interesting to note that not a single ceremony was done in the Lodge during 1905. Some correspondence took place with the 1st Bn. regarding the possibility of the Lodge going back to the Bn. but, as they had so few members in the Lodge it was decided to keep it where it was for the time being and to elect the officers for 1906 from the members in the 3rd Bn.
It is evident the question of transferring the Lodge to the 1st Battn. was still being actively pursued and at the meeting held on 22nd November 1906 a letter was read from W. Bro. Carleton proposing as affiliation members, nine Brethren from the 1st Battn. There was a letter also, requesting that arrangements be made to transfer the Lodge. One assumes that the transfer did take place in January 1907 because, although a meeting was held at Aldershot on 4th January and the minutes are signed by the W. Master and the Secretary, those of the meeting held on 9th February are signed by W. Bro. Carleton as P.M. and W. Bro. Bennett as Secretary. No place is given but it can be safely assumed that the Lodge was meeting at Molesworth Street, Dublin. The minutes of the first meeting merely record proposals regarding such matters as changing the day of meeting.
One of the minutes of the meeting held on 9th March (1907) is of interest:- “W. Bor. Brodell, at the request of the W.M. then instructed the Brethren in worming in the E.A. Degree especially as regards the Irish Ritual.” This was probably the first time for over 100 years that any serious attempt was made to conduct ceremonies strictly in accordance with the Irish Ritual. In rising a Brother at the meeting held on 10th August the Lodge had the assistance of R.W. Bro. Parkinson, evidently to ensure that it was done correctly.
It would appear that the Lodge operated satisfactorily in Dublin up to the end of 1909 and the minutes of 26th January 1910 are headed `Masonic Hall, Aldershot’. In October the Battn. moved to Newport, Isle of Wight and meetings continued at the Masonic Hall in Hugely Street. During their stay at Newport a set of Tracing Boards was presented to the Albany Lodge, No. 151 E.C. in recognition of the great help that Lodge had given Glittering Star during their tour of duty in the Isle of Wight. The presentation was made on 8th January 1912.
An Emergency meeting was held on 16th November and after the normal business of the Lodge it is recorded:- “An invitation from Albany Lodge No. 151 E.C was accepted by all the Brethren who attended in Full Dress Uniform. The I.P.M. Wor. Bro. Briarly, presented a `Loving Cup’ suitably inscribed, to the Lodge from the Brethren of Albany Lodge. He referred at length to the Good Will and Fellowship which had existed between the two Lodges since our stay in the Island, and on behalf of the Lodge wished then God Speed and all fraternal wishes on leaving England.”
The January 1913 meeting was held at Newport and the W.M. and officers for 1913 were duly installed. No meetings were held in February and March as presumably the Regiment was in transit to Egypt during that time. The next meeting was in Alexandria on 14th April 1913. At the meeting on the 13th October 1913 Bro. Winnington presented to the Lodge a Maul, which was engraved with the Masonic emblem of a Square and Compasses. This he had recently brought from the Mount of Olives. The W.M. accepted this on behalf of the Lodge and thanked Bro. Winnington for the present.
After the Installation meeting in 1914 the Regiment moved to Cairo and meetings were held there in the Maison de Farro in March, April and June. Then came the First World War and no meetings were held until 12th June, 1920 at the Freemasons’ Hall, Nasirabad, India. That was a sad and unique meeting. During the preceding and war years all the members of Glittering Star serving on the Active List had been killed. True, the Lodge had not been denuded of all members, but such as there were, were members who for one reason or another were not serving with the Colours: most were members too old for military service, and so on. But such as were left were in England and all there was in Nasirabad was the Lodge Chest with the Warrant Regalia, Minute Books etc. It is indeed providential that those items had survived the hazards of the Great War and had been so carefully preserved.
The reference on page 40 outlines the rather unusual circumstances which occurred at the end of the Great War. Grand Lodge required to authorise the installation of office bearers for the year in accordance with a list submitted, only one brother being a member of the Irish Constitution and even he not being a current member of Lodge 322. Six proposed affiliate members were to join from Lodge 594 SC. and one each from Nos. 118 E.C, 415 E.C and 107 IC. This rather unique situation enabled “Glittering Star Lodge No. 322 IC to re-commence labour on the 12th June, 1920 with the help and assistance of many brethren.
A petition was sent to Grand Lodge for the granting of a Centenary Jewel. This is difficult to understand as a similar petition had been made in 1879. However, at the Installation meeting on 27th December correspondence was read indicating that a design for a Jewel had been submitted to, and approved by, Grand Lodge.
The Lodge having been duly launched had to be consolidated and it was fortuitous that Service conditions were favourable. Times were quiet and there was the prospect of the Unit being stationed in Nazirabad, India for the next two or three years. The consolidation was, as always, through good new members by initiation, affiliation and cautious selection. Meetings were held frequently during the early part of the Battalion’s stay in Nazirabad, generally about twine monthly. The nine `New Founder’ members of the June 1920 meeting were increased by three at the July meeting. At the next meeting two further new members joined by affiliation.
W. Bro. Charles Inwood, who was to guide the destinies of the Lodge throughout the `Twenties’ was a stickler for etiquette; the meeting on the 29th August was the fifth of the post war series and, being without particular `Degree’ labour, there was a ballot for three Candidates. There followed a talk by W. Bro. Inwood, the first of many over the coming years.
The Installation Ceremony on St. John’s Day of 1921 was very ably conducted but it was quite obvious that the Lodge proceedings were not purely Irish but much of a mixture of the Workings of the English and Scottish Constitutions, as was the case in most Lodges operating in India at that time.
At this time news of the Lodge’s re-activation had reached some of the pre-war Members, who had left the service and settled at home and overseas. They contacted the Secretary through the Battalion, were re-elected and placed on the list of `Absent Members.’ The Membership was also increased from the Second Battalion which had, since the war, spent some time in Ireland.
The `Geddes Reforms’ of 1922, which caused the five Regiments of the Corps of Infantry still with four regular Battalions, to have two battalions disbanded, indirectly affected the Lodge, to its eventual advantage. In India there was a wholesale transfer of about 200 from the Third Battalion at Fyzabad to the First Battalion in Nazirabad, when the cadre of the disbanded Battalion returned to England. This large draft more than made up for the `Three Year’ specially enlisted personnel, who went home from the First Battalion for discharge.
After two very successful terms as Master, Wor. Bro. C.H. Inwood installed Bro. Lieutenant H.U. Richards, as his successor, on St John’s Day 1921. Wor. Bro. Inwood was invested as Treasurer and Secretary, an Office he was to hold with great distinction, until his retirement from the Army in 1929.
The Minutes of the meeting of the 13th January 1923 give an indication of just some of the trials of an Ambulatory Lodge in the Army, where improvisation must prevail when sudden transfers tend to wreck the best laid plans:- “Owing to the Senior Deacon Elect, Bro. Skerrett, having been transferred to Karachi, it was necessary to re-elect a Senior Deacon for the current year. Consequently, Bro. Rowley who had previously been elected to the Office of Senior Warden was now elected Senior Deacon and W. Bro. Griffin to the Office of Senior Warden. These Brethren, together with Bro. Farrow to the Office of Tyler, were then invested by the W.M. and saluted according to ancient custom”.
This was the last meeting to be held at the Hazirabad Temple where the Light of the Lodge had re-emerged from the Darkness of War, some two and a half years before. It would appear that the Lodge, on leaving the area, left its furniture behind and in the Lodge Room at Nazirabad and when that Temple closed the local brethren transferred same to Ajmer. In 1981 it was still there.
January 1923 saw the periodic change of Station. The Battalion relieved the Seaforth Highlanders, at Meerut, as the British Infantry Unit of the 3rd Indian Cavalry Brigade, in the United Provinces District. The District was commanded by a very well known Military Mason, Wor. Bro. Major General Sir George McKenzie Franks, who was subsequently Provincial Grand Master of Wicklow and Wexford. General Franks took more than a passing interest in the Regimental Lodge, of which he eventually accepted Honorary Membership. He visited the Lodge at the St. John’s Day Communication in 1925, to witness Very Wor. Bro. Newman’s Installation as Master for the first time.
By 1923 the number of British troops in India had been reduced considerably. The economy cuts of 1921 (disbandment of Cavalry and Irish Units) and 1922 (disbandment of 3rd and 4th Battalions of English Regiments) had only been partly offset by additions to the Indian Army, including its Auxiliary and Territorial Forces; the British Units which had gone home were not replaced by other troops from the U.K.; so single Unit stations became the rule and it was somewhat out of the ordinary to serve in a station with a Field Artillery Brigade, a Divisional Ammunition Column, a large Signals Unit and a regiment of British Cavalry. The Indian Army was represented in Weerut, by two regiments of Cavalry, three battalions of Infantry, Sappers and Miners and small ancillary units such as the Supply and Transport (R.I.A.S.C.) Barracks Department, Grass Farms and the like.
At the first meeting of the Lodge in Weerut, on 10th February 1923 and two Degrees were worked. There was a good attendance of local Brethren from the English and Scottish Lodges to support the meeting and to see how the newly arrived Irish Lodge performed their ceremonial of “Labour”. Unfortunately the posting of the W.M. from the Battalion left the Lodge without any Irish Past Masters with the exception of Wor. Bro. Captain C.H. Inwood, the Treasurer and Secretary, who then undertook the duties of Master, additionally and an “Acting Secretary” was appointed.
Because of the Lodge’s small active membership, Postings, Courses, Secondments, moves to the Hills and Leave, those present at Head-quarters were forever struggling to fill the bare essential offices of the Lodge at its meetings. Despite the shortages the gaps were always filled. Whilst there had been no organised `Lodge of Instruction’ connected to Glittering Star since the Great War, a `Rehearsal’ system always operated in the Lodge as occasion demanded.
During 1923 Labour continued throughout the Summer in consolidating the Lodge. From the St. John’s Day meeting onwards, no less than fifteen meetings were held.
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th September, 1924 gives further evidence of the influence of the Sister Constitutions when it is recorded that the Master `delivered the lecture on the First Tracing Board’. Although there were thirteen communications during 1924, including the Installation, degrees were only worked on seven occasions.
1925 proved to be a very quiet year for the Regimental Lodges and eight meetings were to pass before two candidates were initiated. At the St. John’s Day Communication in 1925 eighteen members were present together with thirteen guests; included in their number was the Commander of the Unites Provinces District, Wor. Bro. Major General Sir George McKenzie Franks. At the Installation Banquet he responded to the Toast of the Visitors, during which he recalled some of his experiences during, as he described it, “twenty five years as a Military Mason” during which time he could neither remember a case of a Serving Member bringing discredit upon himself, nor his Lodge into disrepute; further, to his knowledge no Military Mason had ever used the Order for personal preferment in the Service.
There were fourteen meetings during 1926 and the duties of Master had to be shared by two Past Masters due to the return to the United Kingdom, on promotion, of the Master.
As the Dorsetshire Regiment had arrived from Malta in mid-December the 29th went under canvas, on the Misdan, where they spent Christmas. The families and a small advance party, proceeded to Allahabad by train on Boxing Day and the Battalion marched out of Meerut on 28th December and reached Allahabad early in February 1927, some six weeks later. The members of the Lodge, in company with the remainder of the Battalion thoroughly enjoyed this old fashioned method of moving Stations, with a new camp site almost every day.
There was a Masonic Temple in the Canning Road, which, whilst adequate, did not have the added Club and Sports facilities as attached to the Meerut Temple. the new Master presided over his first Allahabad communication on 19th February 1927, with but thirteen members and two visitors present. The Lodges of Allahabad held their Annual Church Service and Procession in December and “Glittering Star” was invited to join having received a cable from the Grand Secretary authorising the wearing of regalia on the occasion.
The Battalion was due for posting out of India during 1929. It was confidently expected that the move homewards would be by way of the Sudan. Rt. Wor. Bro. C.H. Inwood’s service to the Lodge was sadly drawing to a close and his last appearance as Treasurer and Secretary was in September 1929. Bro. Inwood has received Grand Lodge Honours in 1927 when he was appointed Past Senior Grand Deacon of the G.L. of Ireland. At the August Communication he made an official visit to the Lodge as District Grand Inspector for India. At this time there was considerable movement home by members during this last year in India.
The Regiment arrived at Shanghai in October 1929 and what they found was a most cosmopolitan city from a Mason’s point of view. Masonry in many degrees, operating under no less than six Constitutions, flourished in the City. The right hand of Friendship was outstretched to all of the Fraternity who came to Shanghai; this was particularly the case with Service Brethren; who invariably received the utmost hospitality, kindness and consideration.
It was fitting that the first communication in North China was the 1929 St. John’s Day meeting in Shanghai, ten members and forty-five visitors attended. The forty-five visitors representing a good cross section of the Brethren of the City as, in addition to the tendering of hearty greetings by Officers of the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland, and the District Grand Lodges of All Scottish Freemasons in North China and North China (E.C).
By the time of the Installation Meeting on 28th December, 1930 which was to be the last in Shanghai all the current candidates had advanced their three steps. It was at this meeting that R.W. Bro. Inwood was elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge, in view of the great amount of work he had done to resuscitate the Lodge, after the Great War. R.W. Bro. Inwood, having now retired from the Service was put on the `Absent Members List’ and it was considered that only the highest honours were suitable for such a hard working, zealous and excellent Mason.
The Battalion left Shanghai in January 1931 for Crowhill, Devon. On a sparkling Sunday morning early in February, the Troopship `Heuralia’ docked at Valletta, Malta escorted by the Destroyer, H.M.S.Worcester which had come out to meet the Battalion, to commemorate the 29th Regiment who had served as Marines and as witness bore the Naval Crown as a battle honour inscribed `1st June 1794′ for their part in Earl Howe’s famous victory on `The Glorious First of June’.
After eighteen years of service abroad (with only a few weeks break in 1914 and a period of a few months at home in 1919) the Battalion returned to England and to Crownhill Barracks, Plymouth, in February 1931. Various brethren either left the Service or received appointments away from the Battalion and this was to prove the commencement of the most difficult period for the Lodge, since its resuscitation in 1920. It was six months, 8th August 1931 before a meeting of the Lodge was to be held. Since the installation of the Master in December 1930 only three meetings had been held before the Installation of a new Master on 13th February 1932. When the Master was installed in February 1933 it was of a very empty Lodge, whose very small number of members had been distributed all over the U.K. by service postings. The next meeting could not be called until 27th January 1934. The Minutes of November 1934 meeting tell of the re-appearance of some of the stalwarts of the Lodge and it would seem that the worst was over, the depths had been plumbed and in the light of future events, the `Glittering Star’ of 322 was once again about to shine.
The move from Crownhill to Ramillies Barracks, Aldershot at the beginning of 1935 meant this most unprogressive period in the Lodge’s existence, which had obtained since leaving Shanghai, was happily at an end.
It was at the Masonic Temple at Farnborough, on 9th March 1935 that the next Installation took place. The attendance was twenty-eight, the best for five years. Aldershot, of necessity an excellent centre for road and rail travel, with its easy access from London and the South Coast helped to attract a number of experienced Irish Masons to 322. These Brethren must have been amazed at the Lodge’s rendering of the Irish Ritual, which for such a long time had been a curious mixture of the workings of the Three Sister Constitutions, with a distinct leaning towards England. From the first Aldershot Meeting the task of rectifying the ritual working of the Lodge was taken in hand, this is not easily deducted from the Minutes at first sight, but only by comparison.
The progressive trend continued throughout 1936, during which ten Meetings were held, with an average attendance of thirty-four. At the end of the year Lodge membership had increased by thirteen; nine Joining Brethren and four Initiates.
Now that the Lodge was again prosperous the members were able to recognise the hard work of its Masters during the lean years since Shanghai. The meeting held on 12th December 1936, had an unusually lengthy agenda. Labour was due to commence at 5.00 p.m. but had to be delayed for an hour because of Military duties. The Battalion had left Aldershot very early that morning for duties in London in connection with the Proclamation Ceremonies for H.M. King George VI following the Abdication of Edward VIII.
There was no degree ceremony worked at the final meeting held on 2nd March 1937. The fourteen members present discussed the non-presentation of the 1935 accounts by the previous Treasurer and Secretary. The meeting closed with a resolution that the accounts for the period ending 31st December 1936 “be passed as presented” and adding that “a vote of thanks be accorded to the Treasurer.”
Seventy-six Brethren attended the Installation meeting, at Farnborough, on 31st March 1937. A great many distinguished guests were welcomed from the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It was at this meeting that a magnificent banner was presented to the Lodge. The high standard of ritual continued throughout 1937; nine meetings were held, with an average attendance of forty. Towards the end of the year a heavy blow was struck when Wor. Bro. Captain H.E. Newman, on whom the brunt of maintaining the life blood of the Lodge had been largely dependent for some years, received posting orders for India. In due course a suitable presentation was made by the Lodge to this faithful Brother as a token of their regard for his valued services.
The Master for 1938 was installed in Farnborough, on the 12th February 1938. Subsequently meetings were held at H.M. Tower of London in June and two further meetings at Farnborough in July and September, the final meeting of this period being only one week prior to the Battalion’s embarkation for service in Palestine and from which its serving members were not to return until the conclusion of the 1939-45 War.
The Colonel, The Worcestershire Regiment, Rt. Wor Bro. Field Marshal Sir Claud W. Jacob, GCB., P.G.W. (England) had been appointed Constable of H.M. Tower and was installed in this Office during the stay of his Regiment in the Tower. Despite the fact that H.M. Tower of London had been in existence since 1078 and that the White Tower was actually within the ancient City of London, there was no record of a Masonic Meeting having been held within its precincts.
At the time that permission was requested it was agreed that the meeting should be held in the Yeoman Warder’s Social Club, in the East Casemates, no one in the Lodge had envisaged an attendance larger than at a normal installation Communication. As soon as it became generally known in London Masonic circles that a meeting of an Irish Travelling Lodge, warranted in an English County Regiment was to be held in H.M. Tower of London, members were inundated with requests from Brethren to be given an opportunity to attend. Just before the meeting it was said that so many sought admission that the Lodge could have filled the Albert Hall. About a fortnight before the actual meeting, the number attending, from all sources, had to be limited to one hundred.
It is especially worth of note that the three Sister Constitutions, Ireland, England and Scotland, were represented by the M.W. the G.M., the Deputy G.M. and a Past G.M., respectively, almost certainly a unique honour for a private Lodge.
The M.W. The Grand Master having taken the Chair welcomed the distinguished guests and after a few other remarks returned the Maul to the Worshipful Master who then proceeded to install two brethren who had been absent from the Installation Meeting. The next business was to initiate Colour Sergeant Joseph White of the 1st Battalion into Freemasonry. The ceremony was performed by the Worshipful Master, the M.W. The Grand Master reading The Ancient Charges.
In due course a special jewel was authorised by Grand Lodge to mark the occasion.
News of an impending Emergency move for the King’s Own, the Leicestershire and Worcestershire Regiments, who then formed the 5th Brigade, in Aldershot, appeared in the evening Newspapers on Saturday 9th July 1938, the day of the next Lodge meeting. While the main business of the meeting was the Installation of the new Worshipful Master much time was spent is discussing the report on the meeting held at H.M. Tower of London. The brethren did not realise that over ten years would pass before the next meeting could be held. There were present at this meeting nine Officers and fourteen Members of the Lodge; six of those present were known to be proceeding on service abroad, in the next week.
The Battalion arrived in Haifa in mid-September and from thence by road to Sarafand where it was rumoured that the Battalion would spend a period of special training. Their stay was for one night only for the next morning they moved to a Canvas Camp, on the south side of Jerusalem. As eight Brethren were at that time with the Battalion it was originally intended to hold a meeting in Jerusalem but operations and security made such an assembly impossible.
As soon as War with Germany was declared the Units moved into their War Stations; the 29th went to the Sudan for a short spell. By January 1940 it was clear that a Lodge Meeting could not be held because the expansion of the Army was to even further deplete the already small number of members within the Battalion; and so after a special Meeting the Acting Secretary sent a letter to Rt. Wor. Bro. Major C.H. Inwood proposing that the Lodge might be kept going during the War, in London.
After the War ended in 1945, the 29th, after service in the Middle East and Europe found themselves in Germany, as a Unit of the 43rd Wessex Division. There were no members of 322 serving with the Battalion however all members of “Glittering Star” who were serving in 1939, with the sole exception of Bro. S. Dyke, survived the War.
In the early summer of 1948, whilst the 29th were serving in Berlin, there was a meeting of the Worcestershire Regiment’s Sergeants’ Re-Union Committee, at Norton Barracks. No less than five members of the Lodge were together on this occasion and it was suggested that unless some urgent attempt was made to resuscitate the Lodge, the Grand Lodge might recall the Warrant. All agreed to support endeavours to re-activate the Lodge and Bro. Seabrook was charged with the duty of circulating all the 1939 members and acquainting them of this `ad hoc’ meeting at Norton Barracks.
In the mean time the Grand Secretary had been perturbed regarding the standing of the Lodge within the Regiment and had instructed V. Wor. Bro. T.E. Johnston to take charge of the Lodge books etc. Bro. Johnston wrote to the Committee on the 6th April 1948 outlining his position and suggesting that a meeting be arranged to clarify the position. The Reference includes all the correspondence regarding the re-establishment of the Lodge
As already stated the Warrant of the Lodge had been sent to Rt. Wor. Bro. C.H. Inwood in January 1940 and had been passed to the Regimental Headquarters on his death in 1943. At this time it was deposited in the Regimental Museum. The whole of the Lodge gear was in its usual boxes in the Depot Q.M’s. Store, where they had been housed since being returned from North Africa, in 1943. On checking the property as complete with the exception of one of the Wardens’ columns. It eventually transpired that the Lodge had operated with but one column for many years; always borrowing another from a local lodge for their meetings. The funds of the Lodge were intact and properly secured in two accounts, one at the Midland Bank, Aldershot and the other, a relic of the days in India, at Lloyds Bank, Cox and Kings Branch, London.
The stage was now set for a meeting of the members and the unofficial Committee decided that the time to hold such an informal meeting of the Lodge, with special emphasis on the attendance of those who had served in the 29th, was on the day of the Regimental Re-union. The day selected, 3rd July 1948, was not particularly popular with the Officer Commanding the Regimental Depot, who not knowing the small numbers affected, thought that such a meeting might detract from the re-union. As a matter of fact certain Brethren attended purely for the informal gathering and would not have attended the re-union at Norton Barracks, otherwise. The informal meeting was held in the Courts Martial Room of Norton Barracks and twelve brethren attended with a further sixteen writing to say that they were interested and that they supported the proposal and wished the venture every success. It was agreed unanimously agreed that efforts should be made to resuscitate the Lodge.
The support being available, with a surprisingly high proportion of the 1938 Officers available within thirty miles of Worcester, it was decided to hold the first Communication on the afternoon of the Sergeant’s Re-union, which was to take place at Norton Barracks, later that same evening. Accordingly, the Courts Martial Room, up a winding stairway on the upper floor of the Barrack Administrative Block, was made available. Seven Officers and ten members, including one Honorary Member attended. The main business was to ensure the continuance of the Lodge by electing the Worshipful Master and Officers for 1949. Bro. Captain C.E. Shrimpton, the only member of the Lodge still on the Active List of the 29th, was unanimously elected as Master.
The meeting was peculiar in many ways. After the 1938 Master had opened the Lodge and the Minutes of the meeting held on 3rd September 1938, had been read, confirmed, signed and sealed, Wor. Bro. A.E. Adams vacated the Chair in favour of Wor. Bro. N.E. Newman, who then carried out the programme agreed at the informal meeting held in July and virtually closed the Lodge. It was also agreed that the Installation would be held at Norton Barracks in the following March. Mention is made in the Minutes of the attendance at this meeting of Wor. Bros. Whitty and Carleton who had joined the Lodge in the 1890’s.
After the resuscitation of the Lodge in 1948 it was most unfortunate and regrettable that the Regiment left these shores and after a brief stay at Bulford Camp, spent virtually the next thirteen years abroad, returning to the U.K. in 1961.
During the next few years – 1950 onwards – there were about fifty initiates and affiliates but only about twenty were still on the books at the time the Anniversary Meeting was held in 1983. Whilst operating in Worcestershire, the Lodge had many visitors, both from Worcester and neighbouring provinces and from abroad. Meetings were held in various places in and around Worcester, Norton Barracks, Silver Street T.A. Centre, and the Masonic Hall at St. Nicholas Street and later the new Temple at Rainbow Hill.
A great deal of time was spent in 1958 and early 1959 in Committee meetings, preparing for the Bi-centenary meeting which was to be held at Norton Barracks on Saturday 25th April 1959.
1961 saw the return of the Battalion, from its overseas tours and the prospect of two years stationed at Norton Barracks.
Information obviously reached Grand Lodge of this fact, possibly because of a circular from the Secretary of “Glittering Star” to members in January 1961.
” …. most of our present Officers and members are former members of the Regiment; they therefore can only consider themselves `Caretakers’ of the Lodge which rightly belongs to the 29th Regiment.”
Subsequently, at the meeting of the Lodge held on 17th June 1961, it was decided that the time had come to make every effort to obtain greater representation of the Regiment within the Lodge by bringing in `more serving Officers, WO’s and Sgts.’ A month later a letter arrived from the Grand Secretary which made the matter very urgent. The Grand Secretary had pointed out that the Warrant belonged to the Regiment and he wished to be advised when it would be returned to its rightful home. Every effort was made by the Brethren to comply with the wishes of Grand Lodge, however, in November the Regiment was flown to the Caribbean for duty concerned with the disastrous floods and gales in the area. This setback which was likely to delay further the return of the Lodge to the Regiment caused some concern in Dublin and the Lodge was asked to send a deputation to meet the M.W. the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary.
Following the meeting it was reported to the Lodge `To comply with the Concordance (of 1904) the Lodge must travel. It has been domiciled in England since the War. Unless some effort is made for it to travel with the 1st Battalion The Grand Lodge of England has every right to, and possibly will, demand that it cease to function ….. He (the M.W. the Grand Master) feels that in order to show willing, every possible effort should be made for the Warrant to accompany the 1st Battalion when they leave for Germany in December.’ In the event this proved to be impossible but plans to return the Warrant to the 1st Battalion were put in hand. It was returned early in April 1963.
During the period late 1958 and early 1959 there were many Committee Meetings at which plans were considered in order to ensure the 200th Anniversary of such an ancient Lodge was properly and satisfactorily carried out.
From the outset in the mind of many of the Brethren was the thought that whilst it may well be best to plan the celebrations in a modest way and therefore not upset relationships with the United Grand Lodge of England, the numbers could escalate just as the attendance at the Meeting in the Tower of London did. If this happened and a suitable sized venue had not been obtained then many of the Lodge’s friends, who had supported them over the years, could be disappointed and not be accommodated.
In the event it was decided that an attempt should be made to obtain the Gymnasium at Norton Barracks, in order to accommodate an attendance of 200 to 300 and after considerable work by the Committee all was ready.
The Installation Ceremony took place on Saturday 26th April 1959 at the Regimental Headquarters, The Worcestershire Regiment, Norton Barracks, Worcester by the king permission of the Officer Commanding, who, together with the Barracks Staff rendered every possible assistance. W. Bro. Thomas J.W. Seabrook was installed as Master, the ceremony being performed by Rt. Wor. Bro. F.A. Lowe, the Deputy Grand Master of Ireland. Seventy-five members of the Lodge attended, a record, as was the total attendance, namely 309.
Guests travelled from all over the country to the Meeting. The Irish Military Lodges of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards, The King’s Dragoon Guards, the 8th Royal Irish Hussars and the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards were all represented. Messages of congratulations and fraternal greetings were received from all over the world. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts presented the Lodge with a solid silver 24 inch gauge, suitably inscribed, not only to mark the bi-centenary of the Lodge, but to commemorate also the part played by the Lodge in the founding of that Grand Lodge on 30th December, 1769, when the first Senior and Junior Grand Wardens were Officers on the 29th Regiment.
As Worcester Cathedral was not available, a service of Thanksgiving and re-dedication was held in St. Nicholas Church, Worcester on the 3rd May 1959 and again a good attendance was achieved, many Brethren travelling long distances to be in attendance.
On the 20th March 1963 the Worshipful Master, V. Wor. Bro. Captain T.J.W. Seabrook wrote to the Colonel of the Regiment to inform him of the intention of the Lodge to return to the 1st Battalion. In his letter the W.M. advised that during the meeting, to be held at the Masonic Temple, Backerstrasse 61 Minden, eight Warrant Officers, Colour Sergeants and Sergeants were to be initiated into the Lodge and that by the end of the parties stay the actual membership of those still serving in the Regiment will have reached greater numbers than at any time for, at least a hundred years. Included in the letter was a list of the Members, Honorary Members and Life Members still active in the Lodge. A brief outline of the Lodges history was also included.
Between October, 1962 and 10th April 1963 no less than thirteen meetings were held, the last three being held in Minden, in order to clear all outstanding degrees and to build up the membership of the Lodge amongst the serving members of the 1st Battalion.
On Saturday morning, 6th April 1963, a party of twelve members of the `old and bold’ squad of the Lodge arrived at Victoria Station, London. Every member of the party was given a suitcase, bag or large parcel containing the “furniture, jewels, property and regalia of the Lodge .. and it was each individuals responsibility to see the various items in their possession was handed over to the new Trustees of the Lodge. After an uneventful but tiring journey the party was met in the early hours of Sunday morning at Minden Station. The Masonic Temple at Minden was made available under the sanction of the United Grand Lodge of Germany and many local; Lodges attended the various preparatory meetings.
Unfortunately, there was no Past Master of the Lodge serving with the Battalion and so W. Bro. Warrant Officer J.J.S. Joyce, Master of British Service Lodge `Britannia’ No. 843 G.C. was appointed to govern the Lodge in the unavoidable absence of the Master, he being guided by the Wardens and brethren of the Lodge.
In the months that followed ten meetings were held conferring two second degrees, one first and five thirds, with an average attendance of twelve members and fifteen visitors. At this time the membership of the Lodge, actually in Germany was sixteen. Unfortunately, two brother warrant officers were posted away from the Battalion to Malaya. However it is worthy of note that the Lodge consisted of no less than one hundred and twenty-four members.
The stay in Minden was rather short lived, the last meeting being held on the 23rd May 1964. Members were notified that the next meeting would be held in England.
In October 1964 the Lodge held its first meeting back on English soil, in the Sergeant’s Mess at Lee Metford Barracks, Lydd in Kent. It was over three months before the next meeting could be held, on 6th February 1965 at the Masonic Hall, North Street, New Romney, Kent. It was something like a mini-reunion for some of the older members who had not been able to get over to Minden for the past twenty-two months. There were twenty members of the Lodge present ten of whom had travelled a considerable distance. There were twenty-five visitors and forty-three apologies and letters from members.
Two meetings were held in March with a good attendance and at the next meeting, on 24th April, there was an attendance of forty-eight. Meetings continued in May and June, with average attendance of visitors of thirty plus. A quite outstanding year was ended with the first meeting in Gibraltar on 19th November 1965. No less than fifty brethren attended the meeting at the Mason’s Institute.
No less than ten meetings were held in Gibraltar in 1966, however, only six meetings were held the following year. The Regiment returned to the U.K. in late summer 1967 to be stationed at Bulford. The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Decease caused the cancellation of the November and December meetings. The first meeting of the Lodge after the Regiments return to the U.K. was at Ludgershall in Wiltshire on the 24th February 1968. Again it was good to see that all eleven Offices were filled with serving members, though some of the work was done by two old stalwarts.
A meeting was held at Walsall on the 25th May 1968 there being an attendance of thirty-one members and forty-four visitors. On this occasion there were problems for some of the Officers of the Lodge still serving and no less than seven of the ten Offices were filled by acting Officers. There were even more problems at the next meeting and only two of the Officers were able to be present and even those two had to take other Offices, however, it was a very good meeting and credit was given to the acting Officers. This proved to be a very difficult time for the Lodge and the Acting W.M. explained that he had been posted to Brigade Depot at Lichfield. As the months passed it became obvious that the Lodge was having problems in that it was rarely possible to get the elected Officers together at the meetings. However, it appeared that matters had improved by the time the 1969 Installation arrived for only three Officers were absent and unable to be Installed.
Twenty four members and thirty-four visitors attended the meeting at the Masonic Temple, Swan Lane, Evesham on St. Valentine’s Day 1970. Meetings continued to be held in Worcestershire until early 1971 and one meeting at King’s Heath on 30th January 1971. By the summer the Regiment had moved to Warminster for the amalgamation of the 29th and 45th Regiments. Meetings were held in the Masonic Hall, Trowbridge. The last meeting in Trowbridge was held on 5th February 1972 and the next meeting was held at the Masonic Temple, Smuts Barracks, Berlin, on the 7th November 1972. This was a very difficult time for the Lodge for the new Regiment obviously required time to settle down. There were many new faces and it is significant that at the first meeting in Berlin only nine members of the Lodge were able to be present.
No less than six meetings were held in Berlin in April 1973. During the early part of the year six members of the Regiment were Initiated, passed and Raised. It was the 15th November before the next meeting was held when twelve members were present but no visitors, probably because the meeting had to be called at short notice and lasted only seventy minutes. The next meeting was held on 30th January 1974 and this again called at short notice. No notices were being sent to members in the U.K. or other parts of Germany.
No further meetings were held in Berlin and the next meeting was held at Shackleton Barracks, Ballykelly, N.I. on the 20th April 1975 when the Senior Warden was Installed as Master. Nine members of the Lodge were present and it is understood that at least two members travelled many miles to enable the meeting to take place. Again no notification was made to members in the U.K. Only three other meetings were held at Ballykelly and it was December 1976 before the Lodge met again, at the Masonic Temple, Colchester. No contact had been made with Lodge members outside the Regiment.
Looking back with hindsight it was obvious that `the writing was on the wall’ and there was little likelihood that the Lodge could continue in existence in its present form without help from sources outside the Battalion. No dues had been collected or paid to Grand Lodge for several years and to make matters worse the Master had to stay behind in Northern Ireland, having been posted to Northern Ireland H.Q. It was only possible to muster nine brethren for the Installation. By the time the Battalion reached Colchester in 1970 the members available had been reduced to seven. When the next meeting was held in March 1977 only eight members were present. This was the last meeting held within the Battalion.
The next two years must have been a nightmare for W. Bro. Lynch, who until recently had so admirably managed the Lodge affairs. It would take too long to detail all the problems, suffice to say that movement of the Battalion, postings away from the Regiment, members leaving etc. made the situation quite impossible.
Then in 1979 news came through that the Regiment was again to be posted to Germany.
By the beginning of 1979 news began to filter through that the fears of many of the older members of the Lodge that “Glittering Star” was struggling were justified. A letter to senior members of the Lodge from W. Bro. Major F.V.H. Lynch MBE, dated 19th July 1979 made it clear the situation was very serious; indeed very much more serious than had been thought possible. He suggested that the Grand Secretary be approached requesting that the Lodge be based, once again, in the Midlands hoping that possibly within a few years it could well be able to move back to the Regiment once again.
In due course a small Committee was set up and an invitation was also sent to all known members of the Lodge but the address list proved to be very much out of date and many letters were returned `Gone away’. Eventually thirteen members were located and along with the W.M. met to discuss the difficulties which had befallen the Lodge and Lodge members over the past six or seven years. They resolved to Petition Grand Lodge and subject to that Bodies approval call an Emergency Meeting of the Lodge. An Acting Secretary was appointed and at the meeting on the 27th January 1980 he reported on his discussions with the Grand Secretary and on the many letters he had received from members of the Lodge. He pointed out that no embarrassment must fall on the Grand Lodge in view of the Concordat of 1908 and that they required to find some compromise to keep the Lodge alive.
In a long letter to the Members, dated 1st December, 1982 and included in the reference, outlines the actions of the Committee and how the Lodge re-established itself yet again. Meetings were held on a regular basis throughout 1980, 81 and 82 and two excellent Ladies Festivals were held. The Deputy Grand Master and Mrs Malone attend the first such festival and the Provincial Grand Secretary of Worcestershire and Mrs Perks attended the second. Two Installation Meetings were also well attended.
The letter also pointed out that if the Lodge was to continue its practice of only accepting Officers and Non Commissioned Officers then it must be accepted that some of the members when they join will be nearing retirement from the Forces. This being so it would be to would affect the members progression to the Chair and this must be considered.
The re-establishment of the Lodge must be credited to the small Committee in general and its Secretary in particular. The co-operation of the three Midland Provinces of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, who kindly allowed the Lodge to use its Travelling Warrant within those Provinces whilst the Regiment was in Germany without sufficient Lodge members to hold a meeting.
The Regiment returned to the U.K. in October 1985, for a period of three years and this together with considerable effort by the local brethren has ensured that the old Travelling Warrant remains active.