ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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The Editor welcomes letters, but reserves the right to edit them where necessary. Letters can be sent by email to or addressed to: The Editor, MQ, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ.

Star Letter

I am 82 years old, and recently I was a most distressed Mason longing to return to my native land, and was enabled to do so through the unsparing and generous efforts of fellow Masons on a faraway island.
     I was put ashore from a Caribbean cruise 4,000 miles from home on the pretext that I was unfit to travel. I reported sick on 4 December and was put in the ship’s sick bay, and because the ship would be at sea for the next six days, was bundled ashore against my will.
     I saw the shore agent only once, and he failed to inform any British authority of my situation. A doctor at the island hospital immediately diagnosed me as fit to travel, but the ship had sailed.
     The hospital was of poor standard, most unsanitary and the bed linen was soiled and bloodstained. The food was inedible and my watch was stolen. One patient died in agony opposite me for lack of treatment.
     I began to hallucinate and was unable to speak coherently. Sleep was impossible because of the shouting and moaning of patients, animals barking and lack of air conditioning. I was buying some of my own medicines.
     I had been put ashore with a lady companion who knew I was a Mason, and she managed to contact my son-inlaw, a member of my own Lodge. He contacted Grand Lodge, who put him in touch with the secretary of St George’s Lodge No. 3421 in Domenica.
     Within half an hour W Bro Allen Bunting had received my son-in-law’s call from 4,000 miles away and was at my bedside ready to help, and was joined by the Lodge charity steward W Bro Adern Shillingforth. I was moved to my companion’s hotel.
     The two Brothers decided I must go to the French-controlled island of Guadaloupe. Bro Shillingforth had a Rotarian friend there who was the French consul. The two brethren waited with me for two and a half hours for the ferry to arrive. They left me with the greeting: “A safe journey Brother to your native land.” What good men and what truly Masonic brothers.
     The French consul, M. Felix Cherdieu, passed us without formalities through customs and took us in his limousine to a very good hotel. He arranged for a doctor to see me and declare me fit to travel.
     Tickets were arranged to Orly airport in Paris and then to London City airport via Air France. Our luggage was taken direct to London and a taxi arranged to take us to the airport.
     I consider these men and my companion saved my life.
Burwell, Cambridgeshire

Memories of India I was interested in the model howdah-carrying elephant on the Library & Museum page (MQ, Issue 6). Unless your readers were members of Humility with Fortitude Lodge No. 229 they would not realise its purpose, and even less its history.
      The Lodge was founded in India in 1773, but the earliest records that could be found to substantiate continuous working were for 1778, so its bicentenary was not held until 1998.
      Yet another concerns the three silver elephants. They were probably originally rupees and were presented to the Lodge by a Maharajah at an unknown date.
      It has to be presumed that their history, too, was lost along with other early records, and this would predate them prior to 1798. They would have graced the Lodge’s Indian Festive Board for many years.
      Following the return of the Lodge to England in 1963 they were placed each year in the care of each successive Master, but it was decided they would be much safer displayed in the Library & Museum at Grand Lodge, where they have been on loan for several years. Epsom, Surrey

Catch Them Young I would like to establish a link between Bath Masons and Bath University, to educate and possibly attract young students into the Craft. To achieve this aim it would be easier to have a contact in the University to coordinate and advertise talks, visits, etc.
      If any Brother knows of a Mason who is resident at the Bath University, I would be grateful if they would put him in touch with me. Masonic Hall, Bath

Grand Master bust To commemorate the centenary of Needles Lodge No. 2838, I sculpted a bronze portrait bust of the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent.
      At the centenary meeting I presented the bust to the Lodge, which was unveiled by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro. Ernest Moss, and is now on permanent display at the Masonic Temple, Freshwater, Isle of Wight.
      A limited edition of this life-size bust is available from me at Sunningdale Farm, Cranmore, Isle of Wight PO41 0XR. Email: Michael McDonald Isle of Wight