Historic milestone for Thomas Bell Cain

Monday, 23 April 2012

The companions of Temple Chapter No.1094 has good reason to believe it has just completed an historic milestone in exalting Thomas Bell Cain as a Companion. They think that this exaltation was unique on two counts, the age of the exaltee being 89 and his long service of 53 years as a Mason since being initiated in 1958. He certainly met the requirement of having been a Master Mason of four weeks and above!

The ceremony of exaltation was carried out to a very high standard by the companions, led by first principal Dave Southward, ably assisted by Mark Youdan, and Rob Fitzsimmons, as second and third principals, Rob having stood in at moments notice. Thankfully, Tom is still in robust health and retains all his faculties, so completed his ceremony without any allowance having to be made.

Tom was born at the small fishing port of Hoylake, on the Wirral peninsular on 11 February 1922, moving across the River Mersey to Liverpool four years later, not by himself it should be said, the family moved also. He attended school at Fonthill Road, before moving to St Margaret’s Anfield and whilst a pupil there was selected to play soccer for Liverpool Schoolboys. He was later selected to play for the Liverpool County Football Association and would go on to star for the nearby Formby Football Club for 11 years. Tom also honed his skills on the fairway and has been a member of the Deanwood Golf Club for over 40 years with the achievement of having his name appearing on the ‘Role of Honour’ in the clubhouse, for winning the annual competition. Tom now reflects on his sporting prowess with much personal satisfaction now his active playing days are over.   

Tom, who like many of the period, left school aged 15½ in 1937 and immediately started work as an office junior for the Mersey Bedding Company. This fledgling career was however short lived, as at the outbreak of war in 1939, he joined the Royal Air Force. Being trained as a Fitter/Armourer he was quickly posted to 206 Squadron Coastal Command, working on various aircraft including the North American built Lockheed Hudson and the B17 Flying Fortress. He continued his service with 235 Fighter Squadron, serving in Iceland, France and the UK until the end of hostilities, eventually being demobilised in December 1945 and returning to his previous employer.

It was during the war that Tom started to seriously ‘court’ his wife Edna in 1942, who he had met several years previous, her being a cousin to one of Tom’s best pals. His courting eventually paid off for he married Edna in November 1945 and they were blessed with one son, Ian.

On 24 April 1958 Tom was initiated into Wavertree Lodge No.2294 and became a joining member of Mayflower Lodge No.7812 on 2 October 1962. Tom had expressed a desire to become a founder of Mayflower Lodge, but at the time was told that because he had completed less than 4 years as a Master Mason, this was not possible. This was a great disappointment, but undeterred, he attended the consecration ceremony and became a joining member of the newly consecrated Mayflower Lodge on the night, going on to become the Worshipful Master in 1969. Sadly, Mayflower Lodge closed in April 2007 and together with the majority of the brethren, Tom became a joining member of West Derby Castle Lodge No.5821, of which he is still a member.

His dedication to Freemasonry was recognized by the Province of West Lancashire in 1981 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies, with further promotions in later years to Past Provincial Grand Superintendant of Works, and then Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. Still a very active member within his lodge, Tom has finally decided to ignore the advice given to him at the beginning of his Masonic career, which was to concentrate on his Craft lodge and don’t worry about chapter, and to complete his Masonic journey by joining Royal Arch Masonry in Temple Chapter No 1094.

On completion of the meeting all those present retired to the adjacent banqueting room where the usual hospitality of Temple Chapter was shown in abundance, and thoroughly appreciated by all present.

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