A Further History - The Third Fifty

Continued from Page 3 . . .

I think it’s safe to record that those present at the Dinner were delighted to honour the “Centurions.” Six Brethren, who were present at the Centenary celebrations in 1959, and still here 50 years on, supporting their Mother Lodge and enjoying this milestone in the Lodge’s history.

For the record they were: -
Brother Arthur Symington P.M. (1956/57);
Brother Willie Ritchie P.M. (1959/60);
Brother Dick Platt P.M. (1961/62);
Brother Bob Foulis P.M. (1963/64);
Brother Bobby Clark P.M. (1966/67);
Brother Willie McLeod P.M. (2001/02);

Brother Dick Platt writes: - “From memory, I think there was only one Brother who was present at the Centenary Dinner (1959) who had also been at the Golden Jubilee (1909). I can’t remember the Brother’s name but I do recall he was a joiner / cabinet maker and he had carved the rather ornate Master’s gavel which was in use at the time and maybe still is?”

I think Dick is referring to Brother Sandy Hall who was in the twilight of his years when I joined the Lodge in 1957.

Dick’s comments intrigued me, so I did a bit of research and duly discovered that Brother Sandy Hall had indeed presented the mallet, which was engraved with 16 Masonic emblems as well as the Lodge number, at the regular meeting of 23rd October 1957 to the then R.W.M., none other than Brother Arthur Symington! Earlier that year, Arthur in his capacity as R.W.M., had conferred Distinguished Service Membership of the Lodge on Sandy in recognition of 50 years service to 392.

Nothing underlines the changes the Craft has gone through during the past half century than comparing the style of celebrations covering the 100, 125 and 150 years. The first two were held in Grand Lodge to accommodate the numbers, with the 150th held in Roseburn Gardens, which nevertheless was well attended, and for me was more intimate and homely.

The Lodge’s sincere thanks are extended to the Provincial Grand Lodge and in particular the Provincial Grand Master, Brother Maurice Wilson, who gave us tremendous support throughout the year.

The following day, Sunday 3rd May, saw the Lodge gather at Murrayfield Parish Church to enjoy a service conducted by the local Minister, Rev. Bill Brown and again Brother Rev. Ray Williamson P.M. It was a lovely service involving several Brethren of the Lodge and who will ever forget the singing of the 23rd Psalm, The Lord’s My Shepherd, by the Father / Son duo of Brothers Bobby and Kenny Ross, accompanied by the John Burgess Orchestra (It’s only John on the keyboard . . . he just makes it sound like an orchestra.)

Following the Service, we retired to Roseburn Gardens where Lodge hospitality was extended to all in the shape of an excellent buffet which had been prepared by Carol and Dianne, our Right Worshipful Master’s step-daughters. Many thanks Ladies!

The main formal events now completed, we turned our attention to “The Ball” which was held in the Bainfield Bowling Club premises and was a sell out. An excellent night was enjoyed by all and was a fitting closure to the first half of our 150th year’s celebrations.

When the programme for the 150th year was first proposed it was suggested that a Lodge of Sorrow be included, the last one having been held in 1984, our 125th year. Again our sincere thanks are extended to Brother Reverend Ray Williamson P.M. who, along with Brother David McNeill P.M., were responsible for producing a ceremony appropriate to the occasion.

The ceremony was held on our first meeting back after the summer recess, Wednesday 23rd September and was conducted, in the absence of Brother Rev. Ray Williamson, by Brother Rev. Bill Paterson. Brother Rev. Bill is now retired from full time involvement in the Ministry but continues to give wonderful support to both Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge ceremonials.

On this occasion Brother Rev. Bill was ably assisted by our Right Worshipful Master Brother Rab Brown and several other Brethren, both members and visitors. A poignant part of the ceremony was the Roll Call with the inevitable negative responses which no doubt brought back fond memories of those now passed to The Grand Lodge Above. A deeply emotional experience, which caused many Brethren to reach for the tissues.

All the official events having been completed the second half of the year moved to its conclusion. I think it’s fair to say that all those Brethren who were involved, some heavily, in the organisation and participation of the various formal events necessary for an anniversary year, were quietly satisfied that The Caledonian Lodges’ 150th year could be classed as a success. Well done Lads!

There was however one last sting in the tail.

Our R.W.M., Brother Rab Brown, had carried out his duties as Master during the year in an exemplary manner, ensuring the Lodge priorities were paramount, chairing the formal events with quiet authority, playing a vital part in the ceremonies and visiting extensively throughout the year. To make a memorable year even more so for Rab and to round off his year in the Chair, a Burns Supper, (call it a Scots Night if you prefer), was arranged and duly took place on Saturday 21st November.

“A Burns Supper in November?” I hear you saying.

The reason is quite simple. The best talent is not only available out of season, but delighted to accept an invitation to come along and perform. A superb evening was had by all and the Lodge’s thanks are extended to those artistes, speakers, chefs and bar staff who gave of their time and talents to provide what some described as “The best Burns Night they had ever attended.”

The last meeting of the anniversary year was of course “The Greetin’ Meeting” when the Lodge’s long list of Honorary Members was further enhanced when our R.W.M. conferred the accolade on Brother Ian Brown P.M., R.W.M. The Lodge of Light No.1656, further strengthening the bond between our two Lodges which stretches back to 1970.

The second Brother to be honoured was Brother John Burgess D.M. The Rifle Lodge No. 405 who, of course has been entertaining, not only in “Caley” but throughout the Province and beyond, for more years than he cares to remember.

Excellent choices and worthy additions to 392.

150 years is quite a milestone in anybodies language, none more so than in Freemasonry. It was therefore hoped that this achievement would attract the one person in The Craft we all would have liked to see join us . . .

The Grand Master Mason himself . . .
Brother Charles Iain Robert Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont.

Unfortunately, despite the combined efforts of our Provincial Grand Master, Brother Maurice Wilson, and at least two of our own Brethren, The Grand Master Mason was unable to fit this particular request into his busy schedule. However, the Lodge has had the privilege of hosting a visit from a Grand Master Mason at least once in the past 150 years. This was on 4th February 1977 and as coincidence would have it, it was the father of our present Grand Master, Brother Captain Robert Wolrige Gordon who visited Roseburn Gardens to personally confer Honorary Grand Rank on Brother James McNaughton Gray P.M.

Jimmy’s service to Freemasonry in general and 392 in particular was legendry and was finally recognised when the Grand Master Mason conferred the Honorary Grand Rank of Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. Distinguished Service Membership of the Lodge had already been conferred on Jimmy in 1968. To top it all the Right Worshipful Master in 1977 was Brother Willie Buckner.

What wonderful memories both these great servants to The Craft had . . . the night the Grand Master Mason came to 392!

One of my prized Masonic possessions is a copy of the Proceedings of “The Masters’ and Past Masters’ Association” 1923/24 which contains a “Sketch of the History of Lodge Caledonian No.392” written by Brother Thomas Grant, Secretary of the Lodge from 1920/24 covering the first 70 years of the Lodge’s existence. Brother Grant writes of so many Brethren whom he knew intimately and were obviously stalwarts of the Lodge at that time, but to us are only names inscribed on the Past Masters’ boards in the Temple.

Brother Grant’s closing words to his “Sketch” are just as appropriate to-day as they were in 1924 and I make no apologies for repeating them in closing “The Third Fifty”: -

“The few events recorded here have no great significance for the many, and it may seem they are hardly worth transcribing, except that to some of us there is a peculiar fascination in the story of things that have passed away, never to return. Several generations have succeeded the founders of the Lodge, but if the Brethren who laid the foundations of Caledonian all those years ago, could now witness the outcome of their early labours, they would, I feel sure, regard it as a “superstructure worthy of the builders”.

My sincere thanks to those who assisted in compiling this booklet.

Brother Robert H. M. Clark P.M.

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