Celebrating 300 years
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 01:00

Grand Master's address - April 2012

CRAFT ANNUAL INVESTITURE 

25 APRIL 2012 
AN ADDRESS BY THE MW THE GRAND MASTER HRH THE DUKE OF KENT, KG 

Brethren, I start by congratulating most warmly all those whom I have had the pleasure of investing today. To attain Grand Rank in the Craft is a very high accolade of which you can feel justly proud. This promotion does, however, come with an obligation always to set the highest example in standards of integrity, honesty, and fairness wherever you are.

Among those I have appointed to acting office are the new Grand Chancellor, the President of the Grand Charity and the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, and I want to take this opportunity of thanking their predecessors. First of all, Brother Alan Englefield, who as the first Grand Chancellor, has made an invaluable contribution to bringing us closer to other Grand Lodges around the world, as well as to maintaining our position as the Mother Grand Lodge. Secondly to Brother Grahame Elliott, who as President of the Grand Charity, as well as presiding over the Grand Charity itself, was instrumental in the successful move of the four Charities into this Building and thirdly, to Brother Michael Lawson who has given a long and dedicated period of service on the Board since 1988.  To all three Brethren we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.

Brethren, today our concern must be for the future, especially with the approach of our three hundredth anniversary in 2017. In planning for this great anniversary, I believe these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, whilst retaining our principles. In this I make no apology for again reminding Brethren of the need truly to demonstrate transparency, and to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society.  To do this we have to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes.

In regards to transparency we still have some way to go in dispelling the myths that remain 'deep rooted' in many people's minds, not least the media. Very considerable progress has been made in this direction already, but challenges remain, and there is still work to do to overcome prejudices and misconception.

I am very pleased that we have already achieved two firsts of some importance in tackling this challenge. The first of these was the commissioning of the first ever independent, third party report, written by non-Masons, on the future of Freemasonry. This Report has been highly successful and has itself acted as the catalyst for the second of our two innovations, namely the first media tour, conducted by the Grand Secretary, and which achieved a reach of more than 117 million people.

I recommend that you all take advantage of this active spirit of openness to talk with equal frankness to your family and friends. I think that if you follow this advice, you may well be surprised by the positive reception you will gain.

Today's has been a memorable gathering and its undoubted success has been achieved by a great deal of careful planning and hard work, so that on your behalf, I want first of all to thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the skill and precision with which the ceremony has been conducted, and secondly the Grand Secretary and his staff for their long hours of planning which have 'borne fruit' so excellently this afternoon.

Published in Speeches

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION OF GRAND LODGE
WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2012
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF GENERAL PURPOSES

The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 December 2011 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was unanimously re-elected Grand Master.

GRAND LODGE REGISTER 2002–2011
The tables below show the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Lodges on the Grand Lodge Register
                             2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011
London                   1,581 1,570 1,556 1,552 1,532 1,489 1,458 1,433 1,397 1,374
Provincial                6,231 6,212 6,170 6,130 6,075 5,996 5,900 5,840 5,774 5,694
District and Abroad     793    791   787    784   782    768    736    731    722   724
Total                       8,605 8,573 8,513 8,466 8,389 8,253 8,094 8,004 7,893 7,792
Grand Lodge Certificates Issued  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011
Issued at Freemasons' Hall         8,116 8,106 7,953 8,092 7,336 7,490 7,539 7,538 7,078 7,391
Issued by District Grand Masters   817    790    450    770    763   613    695    753    478   698
Total                                         8,933 8,896 8,403 8,862 8,099 8,103 8,234 8,291 7,556 8,089

COMMISSION FOR APPEALS COURTS
The following have been elected by the Rulers' Forum as Members of the Commission for Appeals Courts, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, for 2012 to 2015:
J.R. Bevan (South Wales), C.G.A. Aylwin (London), P.J. Rodd (East Kent), S.S. Howarth, (London), J.K. McLauchlan (Leicestershire and Rutland), C.C. Hodson (Nottinghamshire),
A.R.P.A. Ullstein, QC (London) and R.A. Bayliss (Surrey).
Additionally, His Honour Judge D.E.H. Edwards DL, has been elected to serve until 2014, filling the vacancy caused by the appointment of G.G. Dearing as Provincial Grand Master for East Kent.

PANEL FOR CLEMENCY
The following Brethren have been elected by the Rulers' Forum to serve on the Panel for Clemency, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, in addition to the President and Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes:
M.B. Davies, J. Gillyon, W.C.M. Dastur, R.B. Pemberton, D.H. Lane and .J. Burger.

MENTORS
3.4 Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions to introduce the office of Mentor was given at the Quarterly Communication in December 2011. The Notice of Motion included a description of the jewel, but no illustration was at that time available. The Board has now considered the design of the jewel, as follows:

HALL STONE JEWELS
Two versions of the Hall Stone Jewel issued to reward donations to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund, established to finance the building of the present Freemasons' Hall as a Masonic Peace Memorial are in common circulation: the individual subscriber's breast jewel, 1½" wide, in silver, engraved with the name and lodge of the Brother, which is suspended from a dark blue ribbon; and the Hall Stone Lodge Jewel, 17⁄8" wide, in silver gilt, engraved with the name and number of the lodge and date of its presentation in the Grand Lodge, which is appended to a light blue collarette, as prescribed in Plate 58 of the Book of Constitutions.
Very few Brethren indeed are left who are entitled to wear the small individual jewels, and those jewels now appear to be regarded as collectable items, which are traded quite regularly. The Board sees nothing objectionable in this.
The Lodge Hall Stone Jewels were presented to qualifying lodges by the Grand Master to mark the contributions those lodges had made. They were not, however, bought by those Lodges, and have always been the property of the Grand Master, to be returned, along with the Warrant and lodge's records if the lodge ceased to exist. Such returned Jewels have then been available as a source of replacements where a Hall Stone Lodge has lost – whether through theft, accident or otherwise – its original Jewel.
The Board is concerned both at the frequency with which Lodge Hall Stone Jewels have recently been offered for sale over the internet, and that former members of certain lodges which have been erased have refused to return the Hall Stone Jewel despite repeated requests that they do so.
The Board therefore recommends that the Grand Lodge place the matter beyond argument by declaring that a Lodge Hall Stone Jewel remains the property of the Grand Master and must be delivered up along with the Warrant if the Lodge is erased.

CHARGES FOR WARRANTS
In accordance with the provisions of Rule 270A, Book of Constitutions, the Board has considered the costs of preparing the actual documents specified in this Rule and recommends that for the year commencing 1 April 2012 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
(a) Warrant for a new Lodge .......................................................... £320
(b) Warrant of Confirmation ........................................................... £800
(c) Warrant for a Centenary Jewel .................................................. £480
(d) Warrant of Confirmation for a Centenary Jewel ........................... £690
(e) Warrant for a Bi-Centenary Bar ................................................. £735
(f) Warrant of Confirmation for a Bi-Centenary Bar ........................... £735
(g) Certificate of Amalgamation ....................................................... £80
(h) Enfacement (Alterations) Fee ...................................................... £110

ERASURE OF LODGES
The Board has received a report that 35 lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are:
Ancient Union and Princes Lodge, No. 203 (West Lancashire), Blair Lodge, No. 815 (East Lancashire), Mayo Lodge, No. 1413 (Middlesex), Musgrave Lodge, No. 1597 (Middlesex),
Leopold Lodge, No. 1775 (East Lancashire), St Oswin Lodge, No. 2327 (Northumberland),
Willesden Lodge, No. 2489 (London), Friendship and Fellowship Lodge, No. 3333 (Cheshire), Gaddesden Lodge, No. 3398 (Hertfordshire), Chatsworth Lodge, No. 3430 (Derbyshire), Evening Star Lodge, No. 3644 (Cheshire), Cardiff Exchange Lodge, No. 3775 (South Wales), Camberwell Old Comrades Lodge, No. 4077 (West Kent).
St Margaret's Lodge, No. 4489 (Middlesex), Lodge of St Margaret, No. 4619 (West Lancashire), Whitton Lodge, No. 4770 (Middlesex) and Gibraltar Lodge, No. 4997 (London),
Royal Chase Forest Lodge, No. 5706 (Middlesex), Hastings Lodge, No. 6035 (Northumberland), Peace and Concord Lodge, No. 6065 (Cheshire), Forest View Lodge, No. 6588 (Essex), Old Grammarian Lodge of Waterloo, No. 6776 (West Lancashire), St Cuthbert Lodge, No. 6865 (Sussex), Albion Lodge, No. 6980 (Zimbabwe), Broad Acres Lodge, No. 7012 (Yorkshire, West Riding), Fairfield Lodge, No. 7501 (Surrey), Research Lodge, No. 8309 (Zimbabwe), New Milton Lodge, No. 8370 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight), Kymer Lodge, No. 8521 (Sussex), Cloisters Lodge, No. 8623 (East Lancashire), St Michael in Castro Lodge, No. 8838 (East Lancashire), Haven of Peace Lodge, No. 8857 (London), Naval Lodge, No. 9294 (South Africa, Western Division), East Lancashire Rotary Lodge, No. 9345 (East Lancashire) and Millennium Lodge of Research, No. 9728 (Durham).
Over recent years, the lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

EXPULSIONS
3.13 As required by Rule 277 (a) (i) (B) and (D), Book of Constitutions, 12 Brethren were recently expelled from the Craft.

LIST OF NEW LODGES FOR WHICH WARRANTS HAVE BEEN GRANTED BY THE GRAND MASTER
With effect from 8 June 2011
9868 Idris Lodge (Perak, Eastern Archipelago)
With effect from 9 November 2011
9869 Lakeside Lodge (Paralimni, Cyprus)

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATIONS OF GRAND LODGE
25 April 2012 Annual Investiture), 13 June 2012, 12 September 2012, 12 December 2012, 13 March 2013 and 12 June 2013.

CONVOCATIONS OF SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
26 April 2012, 14 November 2012, 25 April 2013 and 16 October 2013 (subject to the approval of Grand Chapter).

Published in UGLE

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
14 December 2011
Report of the Board of General Purposes


Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge of 14 September 2011 were confirmed.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.

Annual Investiture of Grand Officers (25 April 2012)
So that sufficient accommodation can be reserved for those Brethren who are to be invested and their friends, admission to the Annual Investiture is by ticket only. Brethren to be invested for the first time may invite to be present with them three qualified Brethren, and those to be promoted two qualified Brethren. Allowance having been made for such an issue and for those whose presence in the Grand Lodge is essential, a few seats will remain. Written application for these seats may be made to the Grand Secretary between 1 March and 31 March by Brethren qualified to attend Grand Lodge.

Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book, 2012–2013, will be available next summer. The charge remains at £12 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2012 at a charge of £12 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available and may be ordered in the meantime in the same way.
Every Lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book and the Directory free of charge. The Board emphasises that these copies should be available to all the members of private lodges and not regarded as for the exclusive use of the secretary to whom, for administrative reasons, they are dispatched.
As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to secretaries of lodges. Sufficient copies will be dispatched to District Grand Secretaries for distribution to lodges in the Districts. Lodges abroad not in a District will receive their copies direct.

Prestonian Lectures for 2012
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2012 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Humber Installed Masters Lodge, No. 2494 (Yorkshire, North and East Ridings), Authors Lodge, No. 3456 (London) and North Notts. Masters Lodge, No. 9525 (Nottinghamshire).
The Lecturer, W Bro A.D.G. Harvey, states that the title of the Lecture will be: Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?

Mentors
Following the presentation on mentoring given in Grand Lodge in March 2008 very many lodges, as well as the Metropolitan Area of London, Provinces and Districts have adopted a mentoring scheme. In recognition of this the Book of Constitutions was changed in the following year to allow for an office of Provincial or District Grand Mentor, and the Metropolitan Grand Master was given the power to make a similar appointment in London.
At that time the Board did not contemplate a formal office at the level of a private lodge, taking the view that mentoring was an informal role: the choice of a Brother to undertake that role would be determined in each case by the needs of the individual candidate, so that in any lodge several, if not many, members would be acting as individual mentors.
It has been represented to the Board that in order to give impetus to the scheme a formal office is desirable, and the Board, having considered the matter, accordingly recommends that the Master of a lodge should have the option of appointing a Brother as Mentor, to rank immediately before the Senior Deacon, to co-ordinate mentoring within the lodge.
It is intended that where an appointment is made the Brother appointed to the office should ensure that every candidate (and any other Brother within the lodge requiring mentoring) is allocated a personal mentor, and that the work of the personal mentors so allocated is co-ordinated and organised. He should be able to provide guidance to the personal mentors on their responsibilities.
While he would not be precluded in an appropriate case from acting as a personal mentor himself, that should emphatically not be his primary function, which is to act in a co-ordinating role. The Board hopes that when the Mentor is invested the new Master will remind him of the duties attached to the office. The emblem (to be designed) would be two chisels in saltire.
Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the paper of business.

Recognition of a Foreign Grand Lodge
The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska
The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska and its Jurisdiction was consecrated by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington on 6 September 1969, from three lodges operating in Alaska, which it had warranted in 1965. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington was recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England on 10 December 1997.
The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alaska shares jurisdiction with the Grand Lodge of Alaska, which has already granted it recognition and has also confirmed that it would have no objection to our doing so.
A Resolution was accordingly approved.

AMALGAMATIONS
The Board has received reports that the following lodges have resolved to
surrender their Warrants: Salisbury Lodge, No. 3228, in order to amalgamate with Lodge, No. 767 (Hertfordshire); Rossendale Forest Lodge, No. 4138, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Amity, No. 283 (East Lancashire); Lodge of Good Companions, No. 6091, in order to amalgamate with Jordan Lodge, No. 201 (London); Ionic Lodge, No. 6983, in order to amalgamate with Jubilee Lodge, No. 9475 (Hertfordshire); Triton Lodge, No. 7738, in order to amalgamate with Peace and Friendship Lodge, No. 7414 (London); and Lodge of United Brethren, No. 9529, in order to amalgamate with Owen Falls Lodge, No. 9447 (East Africa).
The Board accordingly recommended that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the respective amalgamations. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Erasure of Lodges
The Board had received a report that 28 lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are: St John’s Lodge, No. 673 (West Lancashire), Mount Edgcumbe Lodge, No. 1446 (London), Viator Lodge, No. 2308 (London), Marcians Lodge, No. 2648 (London), Harlow Lodge, No. 2734 (Essex), Assheton Egerton Lodge, No. 2793 (Cheshire), Whitley Lodge, No. 2821 (Northumberland), Saltwell Lodge, No. 3000 (Durham), Brooklands Lodge, No. 3671 (Cheshire), Paton Lodge, No. 3738 (West Lancashire), St Mary’s Lodge, No. 3987 (Northumberland), Astley Lodge, No. 4370 (Cheshire), Elfrida Lodge, No. 4497 (London), Filia Unitatis Lodge, No. 4658 (London), Remus Lodge, No. 4760 (London), St Mildred Lodge, No. 5078 (South Wales) and Oliver Goldsmith Lodge, No. 5924 (London).
Lodge of Companionship, No. 6270 (London), King Arthur Lodge, No. 6593 (Surrey), Poseidon Lodge, No. 6815 (London), Lodge of Stability, No. 6985 (Northumberland), Ewloe Lodge, No. 7447 (North Wales), Croydon Lodge of Integrity, No. 7730 (Surrey), Beverley Brook Lodge, No. 8137 (Surrey), St Lawrence Lodge, No. 8205 (Surrey), Harrock Lodge, No. 8233 (West Lancashire), Hyde Abbey Lodge, No. 8241 (Surrey) and Lodge of Academe, No. 9377 (Warwickshire).
Over recent years, the lodges had found themselves no longer viable. The Board was satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore had no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.

Yet More Of Our Yesterdays
There was a presentation on the Proceedings of Grand Lodge 200 and 100 years ago by VW Bro J.M. Hamill and VW Bro G.F. Redman, Assistant Grand Secretary.

Expulsion From The Craft
There was one expulsion from the Craft.

Meetings of Grand Lodge
14 March 2012, 25 April (Annual Investiture) 2012, 13 June 2012, 12 September 2012, 12 December 2012, 13 March 2013.

Meetings of Supreme Grand Chapter
25 April 2012, 14 November 2012, 25 April 2013, 16 October 2013 (subject to the approval of Supreme Grand Chapter).

Published in UGLE
Friday, 16 September 2011 17:13

ROYAL BUST DECLARED A BRONZE WINNER

The Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, viewed a bronze portrait bust of himself for the first time – 10 years after it was cast – during a visit to Haseley Manor on the Isle of Wight in May.

The viewing was arranged by John Martin, a member of Needles Lodge, No. 2838, in Freshwater. The lodge celebrated its centenary back in May 2001 and, to commemorate the occasion, commissioned local artist and sculptor Michael McDonald to sculpt a bronze bust of the Grand Master, and present it to the lodge. The bust is permanently displayed in the Lodge Room at the Freshwater Masonic Hall.

Martin said, ‘Freemasons on the island, particularly those who are members of Needles Lodge, are delighted to know that HRH the Duke of Kent has now seen the bronze bust.’
Published in UGLE
Friday, 16 September 2011 11:45

The external image

HRH the Duke of Kent explains why Freemasons need to not only act as mentors but also ambassadors

Grand Rank should be regarded as a challenge to greater effort and as an incentive to shoulder greater responsibilities. Some of you already hold executive appointments in the Metropolitan, Provinces and Districts. All of you, whether you hold these appointments or not, must remember the importance of training the next generation, which is precisely why the Mentoring Scheme has been set in motion.

The Mentoring Scheme is designed eventually to mentor members at all stages of their masonic progress. Initially this will be especially for candidates during the three degrees and to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. All Provinces now have a Provincial Grand Mentor who will be responsible for ensuring the selection of a mentoring coordinator in each lodge. The mentoring coordinator, in turn, will select the member in the lodge with the right personality and knowledge to actually do the mentoring of each individual. The Pro Grand Master announced to the Provincial and District Grand Masters the formation of a working party, under the chairmanship of the Grand Secretary, to look at for example, the selection of coordinators and mentors as well as guidelines to make sure that the messages are consistent.

The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry. By ambassador I mean a member who not only lives as honest a life as possible, but also understands the meaning of the ritual and, importantly, is able and willing to talk about Freemasonry to family and friends. Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation. As Grand Officers I shall of course be relying upon you to give your full support to the Mentoring Scheme as it develops.

On a visit to the Province of Buckinghamshire to see their Freemasonry in the Community projects, I was particularly impressed with their iHelp youth competition – involving young groups competing for prize money to show the positive side of young people – and the Rock Ride covering a 1,500 mile bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School to raise funds for non-masonic charities within the Province. These projects are supported by the local dignitaries and are enormously important for our external image.

Another important example of our external image is the very successful event business run here at Freemasons’ Hall. As one of the unique venues of London we are highly respected within the events industry. I was pleased to hear that, last year, we had 53,000 non-masonic visitors to our events. This included London Fashion Week and an after party for the latest Harry Potter world premiere! Many of our visitors did not know that they could come into a masonic building and all of them I believe left having had a very happy experience.

This is an excerpt from the Annual Craft Investiture address by the MW The Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent, KG, given on 27 April 2011.  To read the speech in full, press here.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 11:26

Grand Master's address - April 2011

ANNUAL CRAFT INVESTITURE

27 April 2011

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

Brethren,

I welcome you all to this Annual Investiture and I should like to congratulate all those who have become Grand Officers or who have been promoted in Grand Rank. This is a special day for you. At the same time I thank those other Grand Officers who, reappointed from year to year, do so much to ensure continuity in the direction of the Craft.

Grand Rank should be regarded as a challenge to greater effort and as an incentive to shoulder greater responsibilities. Some of you already hold executive appointments in Metropolitan, the Provinces and the Districts. All of you, whether you hold these appointments or not, must remember the importance of training the next generation, which is precisely why the Mentoring Scheme has been set in motion.

The Mentoring Scheme is designed eventually to mentor members at all stages of their Masonic progress. Initially this will be especially for candidates during the three degrees and to encourage them to continue their progress into the Royal Arch. All Provinces now have a Provincial Grand Mentor who will be responsible for ensuring the selection of a mentoring coordinator in each Lodge. The mentoring coordinator, in turn, will select the member in the Lodge with the right personality and knowledge to actually do the mentoring of each individual. The Pro Grand Master announced yesterday to the Provincial and District Grand Masters the formation of a working party, under the chairmanship of the Grand Secretary, to look at for example, the selection of coordinators and mentors as well as guidelines to make sure that the messages are consistent.

The aim is to have as many members as possible as ambassadors for Freemasonry. By ambassador I mean a member who not only lives as honest a life as possible, but also understands the meaning of the ritual and, importantly, is able and willing to talk about Freemasonry to family and friends. Talking openly about Freemasonry, as appropriate, is core to my philosophy, central to our communications strategy and essential to the survival of Freemasonry as a respected and relevant membership organisation. As Grand Officers I shall of course be relying upon you to give your full support to the Mentoring Scheme as it develops.

Brethren, in July I visited the Province of Buckinghamshire to see their Freemasonry in the Community projects. I was particularly impressed with their iHelp youth competition – involving young groups competing for prize-money to show the positive side of young people – and the Rock Ride covering a 1,500 mile bicycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School to raise funds for non Masonic Charities within the Province. These projects are supported by the local dignitaries and are enormously important for our external image.

Another important example of our external image is the very successful event business run here at Freemasons’ Hall. As one of the Unique Venues of London we are highly respected within the event industry. I was pleased to hear that, last year, we had 53,000 non Masonic visitors to our events. Events that included the London Fashion Week and the after party for the latest Harry Potter world premier! Many of our visitors did not know that they could come into a Masonic building and all of them I believe left having had a very happy experience.

I understand that the head of Disaster Management at the British Red Cross came to speak at the March Quarterly Communication. This was timely as I am particularly mindful of our Brethren in Christchurch, South Island New Zealand with the earthquake, and those north of Rio de Janeiro in the District Grand Lodge of South America, Northern Division with the mudslides and flooding. Both these Districts received immediate help from the Grand Charity through the British Red Cross. I am pleased to report that though there was considerable structural damage none of our members were lost.

In conclusion I should like to congratulate the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies and the Grand Secretary and his staff for all they have done to make this meeting such a success.

 

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 13:18

A Top Secret Machine That Solved An Enigma

Bletchley Park Guide John Jackson Looks At The Project To Rebuild The Bombe, The Machine Used To Break Wartime German Enigma-Enciphered Messages

Britain’s greatest secret of the Second World War – its codebreaking headquarters at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes – remained on the most highly classified list, known among only a handful in the corridors of power as TOP SECRET ULTRA – until 30 years after the war.

Among Bletchley Park’s most ingenious hush-hush wartime inventions was an amazing electro-mechanical machine called the ‘bombe’, which was used to break secret messages transmitted on the German Enigma cipher machine, which allowed the Allies to read the most important secrets of the Third Reich.

Developed by Cambridge mathematicians Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, the bombe broke some two and a half million Enigma messages during the war and historians have said Bletchley Park probably shortened the conflict by two years.

But, at the end of the war, everything at Bletchley Park was ordered to be destroyed to ensure that the secret work carried out by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) – now called GCHQ – was maintained. All 211 Bombes built by the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) at Letchworth in Hertfordshire were broken up. Of the 145 bombes built by the Americans, one still exists and is on display at the National Cryptologic Museum in Maryland.

But, in 2007, the whirring sound of the bombe was heard again, more than fifty years after they had been silenced by peace in Europe, following a twelve-year project to rebuild the machine by a group of dedicated engineers led by Bedfordshire Freemason, John Harper. His team had to look through around 4,000 documents handed to Bletchley Park by GCHQ. In July 2007 the bombe rebuild was officially opened by Bletchley Park Trust Chief Patron, the Duke of Kent.

Now, the bombe is run for the benefit of visitors. Using wartime Enigma-encyphered messages, the rebuilt bombe can today find the original settings of the German operators in around eleven minutes.

When Bletchley Park (BP) was faced with redevelopment as a housing estate in the 1990s, the local historical society stepped in to save it as part of Britain’s national heritage and it opened to the public in 1993, the year in which local masons came together to form Bletchley Park Lodge, No. 9518. Two lodge members play key voluntary roles at ‘BP’, including John Chapman, who runs the Post Office – one of the top ten in Britain for First Day Covers – and Brian Mead, one of the duty managers. Two volunteer guides, Nick Miers and John Jackson, are also masons.

Another masonic connection to the historic site is Hubert Faulkner, who bought Bletchley Park in 1937 when the part of what became the codebreaking section – Lot 1, comprising the mansion (now a Grade II Listed building) and fifty-five acres of land – failed to reach its reserve price of £7,500!

However, Faulkner subsequently sold it on to Admiral Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), who had overall responsibility for GC&CS. Faulkner’s building company erected the famous huts which housed the codebreakers.

Faulkner was an active Freemason during the war and from April 1942 until February 1945 was Master of Cowper and Newton Lodge, No. 2244, which meets at Olney in Buckinghamshire. In May 1946 he became a founder member of Cowper and Newton Chapter.

Bombe rebuild project leader John Harper, a Lewis, comes from a line of masons. Initiated in Old Cedarians Lodge, No. 8078, Province of Bedfordshire, in 1987, of which he was Master in 1999. He explains:

‘I did not come into Freemasonry until I felt that I could give the time it deserved. I had to travel a lot during my early career. This was a disappointment to my father, as he had died by the time I was invited to join my old grammar school lodge.’

Initially his father was a Middlesex mason but found when he moved to Buckinghamshire that attending Brent Valley Lodge, No. 3940, was difficult, so he joined Wineslei Lodge, No. 2435, in Winslow and Cheiron Lodge, No. 7775, in Aylesbury. John Harper’s grandfather was also a Middlesex mason as were his uncle, godfather and a cousin who is a current Leicestershire mason.

Reconstructing the Bombe
About the bombe rebuild project, Harper explains: ‘I worked for ICL at Stevenage, the successor to British Tabulating Machines (BTM). I had heard of a project built by BTM during the war which was hush-hush. Eventually the secret came out in the 1970s and I was fortunate in being able to recruit expert volunteers.

‘The research began in 1996 after GCHQ returned the drawings to Bletchley Park, and in September 1997 we delivered the first part of the frame, the final section being completed three years later. By April 2002, all the moving parts were active under DC power.

‘By April 2006, the construction was finished except for a complete set of drums, which replicate the rotors on an Enigma machine. That year we also completed a rebuild of the checking machine, which took the information from the bombe to see if it had come to a correct decision. We also had a Typex machine – the British cipher machine, some of which were specially modified during the war to replicate the workings of the Enigma machine – to actually decipher the original German message.’

Both the rebuilt checking machine and the modified Typex – along with an Enigma machine – can be seen alongside the one-ton bombe rebuild at Bletchley Park. The rebuild project finally saw the official switching-on ceremony in September 2007 by Bletchley Park’s Chief Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent.

Working for the film, Enigma
John Harper and his team also helped the makers of the film Enigma, based on Robert Harris’s best-selling novel, by providing many specifications and drawings to enable Asylum Models and Effects to build six replica bombes, which the film-makers insisted should be as real as possible.

John Harper explains the problems that arose over the Enigma replicas: ‘The bombe rebuild team were called in rather late in the proceedings and this put us under great pressure to provide existing drawings and to produce new ones.

‘One thing that added to the pressure was that we had been carrying out our research and had been producing new drawings from the inside-out. Asylum wanted the outside drawings first so that they could make the main boxes first.’

This was a problem, as John Harper’s team had planned to leave the covers until last, as was the case with the original machines. One of these mock-ups is now also on display at Bletchley Park, while another is at the Letchworth Heritage Museum. Go to www.jharper.demon.co.uk for more information about the bombe rebuild and to www.bletchleypark.org.uk for more general information about Britain’s wartime code-breaking centre.

Sinking the Scharnhorst
In their public demonstrations the bombe operators break a real wartime message – the last signal sent from the battlecruiser Scharnhorst – which was encyphered on the ship’s Enigma machine, intercepted, transmitted to Bletchley Park, where the codebreakers provided a ‘menu’ to be run on the bombe, whose results were passed on to the checking machine. The information went to the codebreaking hut, the rest of the key found and the message deciphered using a modified Typex machine, the British equivalent of Enigma.

Published in Features
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:51

Grand Master’s address - April 2010

ANNUAL CRAFT INVESTITURE

28 APRIL 2010

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

Brethren,
I want first to congratulate very warmly all those that I have had the pleasure to appoint or promote this afternoon and to welcome all those of you who are here to support them. Grand Rank is only conferred after much consideration and is a rare accolade given both in acknowledgement of good work done and , more importantly, in anticipation of future endeavours. Be assured that the rest of the Craft members will be looking to you both for leadership, particularly in the important area of mentoring, and to set the highest standards in all your activities at all times. There are many situations when these attributes will be called for and humility will be a common thread in all of them.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 11:08

Grand Master’s address - March 2009

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION

11 MARCH 2009

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

Brethren,
First thank you for re-electing me as Grand Master and let me say a very warm welcome to you all at this historic Quarterly Communication. Historic, as I have just had the pleasure of installing Most Worshipful Brother Peter Lowndes as the Pro Grand Master, and Right Worshipful Brother Jonathan Spence as the Deputy Grand Master. This is a major event in our Masonic history that will long remain in your memories. I know that you will want to join me in offering these two distinguished Brethren our heartfelt congratulations. I am delighted that Right Worshipful Brother David Williamson has agreed to continue as Assistant Grand Master and I thank him for all he has already achieved in this important office. This team, with their wealth of experience will, I know, build on our recent successes and lead the Craft with inspiration towards 2017 - our three hundredth anniversary.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 09:47

Pro Grand Master’s address - June 2007

QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION

13 JUNE 2007

An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

Brethren, today it is exactly 40 years since HRH the Duke of Kent KG was elected as our Grand Master. On behalf of all our members I have written to congratulate him on such a remarkable achievement and expressed our wish that he will enjoy good health to enable him to continue as our Grand Master for many years to come.

    More good news … I have just announced the remarkable sums raised by four Provinces for our Masonic charities. That makes a total of £14.6 million. I attended the festival in Nottingham on Sunday when a new record was set of over £1,000 per member in the Province. These are very large sums of money indeed and our thanks go to all those who have been responsible for such outstanding generosity.
    Brethren, I am looking closely at our marketing and public relations. I believe that this is a very important area when it comes to attracting and retaining quality candidates. However, it needs a new dynamic approach. There are many initiatives taking place around the country, including open days and stands at county shows, all of which play a useful part in spreading our message to a wider audience.
    At the Centre we are particularly looking at improving our website and MQ magazine. This will all help to underpin our open approach on communication.
    Open communication is important to the way we are perceived and therefore crucial to the future health of the Craft.
    I have said it before, but it is worth repeating, that this is best achieved by Masons talking openly about the Masonry they enjoy to their families, friends and anyone who shows an interest in knowing more about us.
    I have started my regional conferences with Provincial Grand Masters, accompanied by the Grand Secretary.
    The first of these was held at Sindlesham at the end of May, with three more to be held in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham.
    I am also visiting our brethren overseas, beginning with a trip to our Districts in India in November accompanied by the Grand Secretary.
    In July, the Assistant Grand Master is visiting the District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka for their centenary and the installation of their new District Grand Master and Grand Superintendent.
    In early November we are hosting a special meeting of European Grand Masters to discuss the issue of regularity. The Masonic world has expanded with the creation of new Grand Lodges in Europe, and as the mother Grand Lodge it is time to restate our fundamental beliefs when it comes to regular Freemasonry.
    Finally, brethren, I wish you all a very pleasant summer and look forward to our next meeting in September when we shall hopefully all have benefited from some rest and relaxation.

Published in Speeches
Page 8 of 10

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