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.
MASONS WHO SAVED MY LIFE
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Isle of Wight