George W. Thornton 1900, Harry Perry 1901, William W. Kebble 1924, Peter Meldrum 1925
© Palatine Lodge - 1893 - 2023 - In se ipso totus teres -
The Boer War began in October 1899, leading to Ladysmith in January 1900, the relief of Mafeking in May 1900 and eventually terminated with the surrender of the Boer leaders in Pretoria, May 1902. Little reference is made in the Lodge minutes or accompanying documents. One referred to the appointment of R.W.P.G.M. Lord Stanley to the staff of Lord Roberts in South Africa, another to the call for donations to the War fund and a collection for Brethren in South Africa suffering as a result of the war, but there is no mention in the minutes of the involvement of Brethren from the Lodge, nor of the national rejoicing in 1902. World War I began with the assassination of the Archduke of Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914 which led to the polarisation of European Nations into opposing camps and Great Britain's involvement in August 1914. The huge slaughter of human life on the Western Front during the next four years, the Gallipoli campaign in 1915/1916 and many other actions, ending with the Armistice in November 1918, had a profound effect on Brethren and references to aspects of this are recorded in the minutes. Several Brethren killed in action are named and honoured such as Bros. 2nd Lt Wallace, 2nd LT. Meek, a Bro. Jones and others - and Brethren awaiting Passing or Raising are referred to in the summonses as being away in H.M. Forces, among them Bro. Capt. W.G. Byron Gunn R.A.M.C. The intake of candidates did not run at as high a level as in preceding years, but Lodge activities continued on quite an active plane, with attendances at meetings fluctuating generally 15/30 members and several visitors. References to National Fund raising, helping war causes and the effect on members, occur in the minutes. in May 1916 it was resolved that "the Brethren of the Lodge who have joined the army for the period of the present war shall have their subscriptions remitted (sic) while serving in H.M. Forces." A memorial service was held in Manchester Cathedral on 10th March 1919, in memory of the many members of the Craft who made the Supreme Sacrifice serving their King and Country. World War II. The Lodge's experience in the second World War was a very different story. After Munich in September 1938, the mobilisation of British Forces, and the occupation of territories by Germany, the serious national situation affected Lodge activities. Normal meetings were seriously disrupted in 1939 and in the early part of the war. In July 1939 an Emergency meeting was held at midday on Saturdays. Military service was enacted for all men 18 - 24 years of age. Germany invaded Poland on the 1st September, war was declared on the 3rd September 1939, and the first air raid on Britain took place on the 6th September, to be followed by British air raids on Germany. The black-out conditions, and air raid precautions precluded evening meetings. The Lodge met at midday on a Saturday for the remainder of 1939. In December 1939, only 16 members were present at the Lodge meeting, and resignations are recorded due "to the outlook", travelling difficulties, the black- out conditions and war service. The Installation meeting in January 1940 was held at midday on Saturday, when only 22 members and 17 visitors were present. Insistence on evening dress was dispensed with, and food rationing restricted the Social Board. Membership was now about 30 and midday meetings being so unpopular, an effort was made to meeting early in the evening on the usual monthly Friday, and which was apparently prompted to some extent by the numbers of resignations taking place but circumstances often prevented this. In February 1940, a Notice of Motion was approved that " subscriptions of members serving in the Forces be waived and that they retain seniority in the Lodge". The number of members attending dropped to 20 or below. The evacuation of the Allied Forces from Dunkirk at the end of May 1940, followed by the Battle of Britain July/October, heightened the effect of hostilities on Masonic activities. In September 1940 Grand Lodge gave notice that Masonic Jewels made of gold or silver be donated to the war effort, through Grand Lodge. In October 1940 Grand Lodge gave notice that Lodge Warrants were to be placed in safe custody, and Provincial Grand Lodge arranged for them to be photographed, and this copy to be used at Lodge meetings. In September 1940 the time of the Lodge meeting was changed back to midday again, rehearsals were curtailed and no ceremonies were worked. Manchester suffered serious bombing late in December 1940. Some Lodge meeting places, such as Victoria Hotel, were completely destroyed and all their records were lost. Understandably there were no initiations in 1940. Resolutions in Lodge reflected the disruption caused. In January 1941 it was proposed "that during the period of the war, if any member finds that circumstances will not allow him to meet the full subscription, the Worshipful Master, together with the Secretary and Treasurer, shall be empowered to consider a temporary reduction in the subscription of the member concerned", and in May 1941 "that during the period of hostilities or such other period as the Lodge may from time to time decide - the Lodge shall meet on the Third Friday in June July and August in place of the Third Friday in November, December and February. The election of the officers for 1942 will take place at the October meeting". Heavy German bombing of cities in Great Britain throughout the winter 1940/1941, especially heavy attacks on London in May 1941, meant any meeting could be disrupted by war activity, but our Brethren persevered in keeping the Lodge's work on course. There is even a mention of work continuing after an "alert" had sounded. The Installation meeting in January 1941 (only three weeks after the heavy bombing of Manchester) was tyled at 12.15pm and finished at 2.25pm, with a small lunch social board. Bro. Fred Baron was installed W.M. by W. Bro. Tom Tyson. For 18 members to be present (one of whom was Bro. Alan Eckersley) and 12 visitors, showed remarkable dedication. It is noteworthy that under these difficult circumstances a normal Summons was printed and delivered to members in sufficient time before the meeting. Numbers attending meetings varied between 14/20 members, work was curtailed, nevertheless Brethren worked section of the Lectures, explained Tracing Boards and worked ceremonies. Lighter nights permitted evening meetings in June - September then back to midday meetings in October and during the winter. There were no candidates in 1941. A similar pattern persisted throughout 1942 and still no candidates. In September 1942 it is recorded that the M. W. Grand Master, H.R.H. The Duke of Kent, was killed in Action. Dark Days indeed! As the tide of war slowly turned in the Allies favour, the minutes reflect this as they record a gradual improvement in the Lodge's activities. As recorded elsewhere the Lodge changed its meeting place to the Masonic Temple (now called Freemasons Hall) in Bridge Street, Manchester, in March 1943, the last meeting at the Midland Hotel being the Festival of St John in January 1943, attended by 23 members and 21 visitors. Attendances at meetings improved (20/26 members, up to 21 visitors). Initiations were resumed - 4 in 1943 - Bros. John Thompson, Harry Crossland, George Thompson and Richard Bromley, known to a few of the present older members. An important date for the Lodge in 1943 went almost without reference or special celebration due to the abnormal war conditions - its Golden Jubilee. Reference to it is recorded in the Minutes when the W.M. W.Bro. Tom Bromley, asked for a special effort to be made for the 1946 Festival for the R.M.I.B. as a practical way of marking the occasion. Membership was now 30. The Festival of St. John in January 1944 was held at midday (present 24 members, 19 visitors, Bro. A.C. Riley installed as W.M.) and some meetings thereafter reverted to early evening. Only one initiation in 1944. The Minutes and Summons for this period record Brethren absent in H.M. Forces, sometimes awaiting Passing or Raising, such as Bros, Sqd. Ldr. B.P. Robinson (a surgeon), L.A.C. "Dick" Bromley (initiated by his father when W.M. in 1943), Capt. H. Wynn, and sadly reference is made to the supreme sacrifice made by Bro. Sub. Lt. K.C.N. Travis, son of W.Bro. C.H. Travis. Reference is also made in the Minutes of correspondence to the Lodge from members overseas, such as Bro. 'R.R. Bromley in India. Reference is made to the many American Brethren from the U.S. Forces who visited English Lodges during the war and how this was appreciated by both sides. In January 1945 the Installation meeting was held on a Saturday in the afternoon (tyled at 2pm, dinner 5pm). Thereafter evening meetings became a regular event and resumed the January/June, September/December pattern. Membership in April 1945 was 35. On the 8th May 1945, Germany surrendered, hostilities in Europe ceased and V.E. Day was celebrated. In June 1945, the Authorities at the Masonic Temple, Manchester advised that, as the war in Europe was over, they would revert to the normal closing time of 10pm and that meeting days would be as by-laws. The original Warrants which had been in safe- keeping during the war would now be used again by Lodges and the photocopies returned for safe-keeping. On the 14th August 1945, Japan surrendered, V.J. Day was celebrated and World War II was at an end. Palatine Lodge's activities gradually settled down to a normal pattern. Throughout 1945 there were 2 initiations, 2 Passing's and 2 Raisings. The Lodge slowly improved in strength. In its own small way, the Lodge had weathered the war years and was set for a healthy expansion. Though subsequent history produced more wars, such as the Korean War June 1950 - July 1953, no references to these in the Minutes have been traced.