Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Edition 4: dated 14 May 2020
SOUTH WEST AREA'S
VE DAY SPECIAL EDITION 75TH ANNIVERSARY
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.
Welcome to the fourth and commemorative edition of Lockdown Lowdown.
Since the last newsletter we have marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day. It was an opportunity to reflect on our current situation and compare it with six years of war, which many of our members recall. Despite the hardships we have endured during the coronavirus crisis, those who lived through the 1939-1945 years had it far harder. They secured our freedom. The lockdown has made us realise how precious that freedom is. Thank you.
WBro Leon Whitfield, APGM, and Chris Lockwood, Area Chairman
VE DAY Memories
This iconic photograph shows (left-right) Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, King George VI and Princess Margaret acknowledging the crowds on VE Day. Churchill and the King were both Freemasons. Churchill was initiated into Studholme Lodge (now United Studholme Alliance Lodge 1591) in 1901 and the King (then Prince Albert and later the Duke of York) was initiated into Navy Lodge 2616 in 1919. He resigned his Masonic titles when ascending the throne after the abdication crisis. He was a far more enthusiastic Freemason than Churchill, joining five other lodges and being active in other orders.
During the war our Provincial Grand Master was James Edward Harris, The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Malmesbury. He held the office between 1923 and 1950. And, what’s more, he was from the South West Area.
He was initiated into The Lodge of Hengist 195 in 1901, and two years later was Master. He was also a member of Royal Alpha Lodge 16, Boscombe Lodge 2158 (in our area), United Lodge 1629, and in 1906 was Founding Master of Malmesbury Lodge 3165. He was also active in side orders.
Between 1892 and 1895 he was a lieutenant in the Hampshire Yeomanry Cavalry, and between 1895 and 1899 was a lieutenant in 3 Battalion The Hampshire Regiment. He became a captain in 1899 and served in World War One, retiring with the rank of Major. During the war years only one lodge was consecrated in the Province – and it’s in our area; Twynham Lodge 5889. During the war:
There were 3,363 initiations in the Province.
47 per cent of the Province’s membership was engaged in national service.
127 Freemasons from the Province lost their lives.
411 brethren were decorated or mentioned in Dispatches.
The SW Area in the War
Our area was much involved during the war, especially in the build-up to D-Day. The New Forest was scattered with airfields and the coastal areas were vital in many ways. Children evacuated from London and Portsmouth lived for a while at what was to become Freemasons’ Hall in Knole Road, Bournemouth. The Luftwaffe dropped more than 2,000 bombs on Bournemouth and in May 1943 the most deadly raid left nearly 200 dead – mainly Allied airmen - when a bomb landed on the Metropole Hotel.
New Milton after the raid in August 1940
In Christchurch the town’s airfield was taken over by the military and re-named RAF Christchurch, and it played a part in the development of radar, which was to prove so important.
David Niven 1942
Lymington home to RAF Station Lymington. Opened in 1944, it became the prototype of the ‘Advanced Landing Ground’ (ALG) temporary type airfield which would later be built across Europe following D-Day.
Advancing east across France and Germany the ALG's were used by the Royal Air Force, Canadian and the United States Army Air Forces. RAF Lymington was closed in 1946 after being utilised as a storage area for the Royal Navy.
Military documents were found at the Balmer Lawn Hotel beneath floorboards in 2015
Lymington High Street on VE Day, 1945
New Milton was also hit by the Luftwaffe – on several occasions. The final time on 22 January 1943 left five dead when a bomb landed on a house that was destroyed.
Local girl Vivienne Berry (wife of Paul Berry, Vortigern Lodge 4854 and sister of Robert Govier), her Grandmother was killed by a German bomb in the raid hitting Old Milton Road on the 23 August 1940.
RAF Ibsley just outside Ringwood was a location for the 1942 film First of the Few, with real air crews in the action. And just north of that at Ashley Walk, bombs were tested, including Sir Barnes Wallis’s legendary Bouncing Bomb.
The First of the Few is a 1942 British black-and-white biographical film produced and directed by Leslie Howard, who stars as R. J. Mitchell, the designer of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft.
Photo of the runway at Advanced Landing Ground A-43 (St Marceau, France) being constructed by IX Engineering Command, August 1944
Brockenhurst played a crucial part in D-Day with the Balmer Lawn Hotel being commandeered by Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery as the HQ for the D-Day invasion.
Winton, Bournemouth, celebrating VE Day in 1945
75th VE Day Celebrations
Local favourite entertainers The Land Girls tribute to VE Day
How Did You Mark VE Day?
Social distancing requirements put paid to the planned street parties to mark the VE Day anniversary. But around the area people did what they could.
Unable to pipe the battles o’er’ on VE Day at two memorial sites, due to the inevitable cancellations, John Adams of The Lodge of Unity and Unity Chapter was invited to join Hampshire Police and HM Coastguard to pipe in appreciation of the NHS and key workers at Lymington Hospital.
When The Battles Over, also known as When the Battle's O'er is a 3/4 retreat march traditionally played to sound the end of the day for soldiers within barracks. It is a popular tune for 'beating the retreat', marching and is well known throughout pipe bands.
WBro Martin Nolan from the Ringwood Pipe Band
John Adams of The Lodge of Unity
In Barton-on-Sea, Gary Anstead of St Michael’s and Elizabethan Lodges organised a socially distanced front garden party for VE75 Day, officially opened by WBro Martin Nolan from the Ringwood Pipe Band.
Gary rigged up a speaker system and played war-time music for two hours and residents had their tables and chairs out in their front gardens with picnics. There was dancing in the road, but of course socially distanced. In the evening Gary and wife Kathy set the questions for the SW Area Brainteaser quiz on Facebook with appropriate questions on WW2 and places in the UK. Meanwhile in Poulner, Ringwood, The London Tavern put the bunting out and encouraged their usual regulars to take part in a stay-at-home street party. They also gave away flags outside the happy hostelry.
Grand Rank Appointments and Promotions
Further to the last edition, where we congratulated our two Grand Rank Offers, we now have pictures of them trying on their new regalia. Well done and very much deserved.
Ray Turner, Jubilee Lodge 8755 for his first appointment to PAGDC
David Coombes, Hythe Lodge 8546 for his promotion to PJGD.
Another Important Day Has Passed Since The Last Issue
'Star Wars Day'
It is held every year on May 4th - May The 4th Be With You (gerrit?). Thanks to Brothers Brian McMurdo and Tony Drake from Meyrick Lodge for using the force.........
As we are aware our Masonic meetings have been suspended to at least September. One way of keeping in touch is to set up a Zoom meeting.
Many Lodges and committees have found that using Zoom is a great way to carry out it's business or to simply keep in touch. Ray Turner, our Masonic Welfare Association Chairmen, is using Zoom to regularly meet with the Provincial Almoners Management Team. In the next edition we hope to report on where Zoom is helping in the South West Area.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
What you need:
1. A smart phone with internet or a computer/laptop/tablet with an internet connection.
2. An email from the person hosting the meeting containing the link you must click onto on the correct day a few minutes before the meeting start time.
If you are using iPhone, ipad or android phone you must download the Zoom app before you click on the email link to use Zoom.
If you are using a Windows or Mac computer or laptop you do NOT need to download Zoom and only need to click on the email link (if you are the host of the meeting you will need Zoom on your computer).
How it works:
A person acts as the host and sends an email to the attendees. The email will invite you to join the meeting at the day and time stated and will also contain a linkthat each attendee must click onto at the right time.
Once you have clicked on, the host will join you to the meeting and you will appear on screen with the other attendees.
Throughout the SWA, Lodges and individual brethren continue to raise money for their charities and other very worthy causes.
**Well done brethren**
In our previous issues we told how Bro Brian Clark of Aethelberht Lodge – inspired by the weekly clap for the NHS - suggested that those who could afford to, could donate £5 each week.
So far that appeal has led to a remarkable £4240 being raised for the NHS staff!
Pitching for Victory
In the last issue we brought you news of the Pitching for the NHS initiative, with brethren camping out in tents and donating the ‘pitch fees’ to the NHS fund. John Donoghue pledged to do 31 nights – and he is almost there, even after his wife made him move the tent because it was affecting the lawn! He has raised £155!
John is also encouraging members of a side order to spend knights in their tents for the cause.
Zetland Court tickets
Some of those who served in WWII and lived through it are now residents at Zetland Court in Bournemouth. Although the annual fete has been cancelled, tickets for the prize draw are still available. Have you got yours?
WBro Paul Sumner of Vale of Avon Lodge 4859, suggested to his Lodge members to donate their dining fees for the period of the lockdown and lodge closure, it was well received by his Lodge. Thank you Paul, your fundraising efforts are appreciated.
How to Donate (either through your Lodge or directly to the SWA below)
By BACs to: PGL Hants & IOW SW Area
Sort Code: 30-98-97
Account Number: 44095368
please use reference: your surname/your Lodge number/NHS
(ie: Bloggs/4854/NHS) By cheque payable to:
PGL Hants & IOW SW Area
7 Whitehayes Close
Happy Meet Again - The Visitation Group toast
Follow them on Facebook for today's toast
Remembering Departed Brethren
Douglas Banin Secretary of St. Augustine Lodge 8459 sadly reports that their first Joining Member, and well-loved Brother, W Bro Ivor (Andy) Andrews PPGSuptWks, PM, has passed to the Grand Lodge Above on Tuesday 14th April 2020. Andy had not been in the best of health for some years, but he bore his afflictions with courage, fortitude and dignity.
May his memory be as a blessing.
If a Lodge would like to remember departed brethren please send to WBro Paul Berry, details below:
The Brockenhurst tools
Here, Iain Hayter explains the story of Brockenhurst Lodge’s tools that came into being only as a result of WW1, and recuperating New Zealand soldiers…
During World War One, Brockenhurst was one of the places which was home to, what was known as, the Number 1 New Zealand General Hospital (NZGH). New Zealand medical staff treated their war-wounded compatriots arriving from battles on the Western Front. There were 21,000 troops and auxiliary staff treated at the No 1 NZGH.
Ninety three New Zealand men are buried in the St. Nicholas’ Church Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. At the Hospital during the War the Commandant and many of the staff, who were members of the Masonic Fraternity, obtained permission from Provincial Grand Lodge to hold a Lodge of Instruction, at the hospital. Two well-known local Masons, the late WBro Vicary and WBro J Martin and many local brethren, were to attend and assist.
The working tools were made by those at the hospital for use during this time, and it was when the hospital was to close that the Commandant personally presented them to WBro J Martin, who passed them on to his son, WBro K Martin. He continued to look after them until in 1951 Brockenhurst Lodge 7040 was consecrated and installed in their building which at one time was the ‘Kia Ora’ recreation hut for the hospital.
The lodge uses the tools to this day.
Last edition's answers
Where are we?
In the last issue we asked you where this is:
At the Knole, Bournemouth,
entrance to the main Temple
And here are the answers to the questions we posed in the last issue in the article about Aethelberht Lodge’s weekly Facebook quiz.
Q. Which two questions are asked in the opening lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody?
A. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Q. In which year were fish fingers invented?
This week's - where are we here?
Answer in the next issue.
Masonic Crossword Puzzle
Answers in the next issue.
Help is Available – Don’t Hesitate To Get In Touch
If you need help please contact the area almoner or chairman who will assist you.