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History of Nautical Services Lodge, No 5629

Taken from the Golden Jubilee History of The Lodge by W Bro F Greenslade, PProvSGW

Every Lodge that is consecrated has a distinct reason for its formation and this is invariably reflected in its name. The Nautical Services Lodge was the only sea-going Lodge in the Province of Worcestershire at its conception and Candidates were required to be serving, or to have served in the Royal Navy, Mercantile Marine or other sea-going ancilliary service.

Our Lodge, sponsored by the Masefield Lodge, No 2034, was consecrated on Wednesday the 9th of September 1936, at the Masonic Hall, Stechford, Birmingham. The ceremony was conducted by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro General Sir Francis Davies, KCB, KCMG, KCVO, DL, Deputy Grand Master, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Worcestershire. He was assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Alfred Allen, PGD, and by 74 other Brethren.

Following the consecration, W Bro Arthur William Smallwood, PProvGD, was installed as the first Worshipful Master of Nautical Services Lodge, No 5629.

The number seven is significant in Masonry and figures prominently in Nautical Services Lodge, No 5629. The Founders consisted of seven Past Masters and seven other Brethren. The Lodge motto is ‘By The Mark VII’ which refers to the seven fathoms of water beneath a ship as marked by a seaman with lead and line. These seven fathoms were interpreted by the Provincial Grand Chaplain at the consecration as: Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.

Brotherly Love - that truly Masonic principle which will enable each one of you to continue to carry out that real spirit of comradeship which you learnt while at sea.
Relief - that helping hand held out to all in distress.
Truth - that straightforwardness in word and conduct which makes for the banishment of hypocrisy and deceit.
Temperance - that due restraint of all the passions, so that mind and body alike are under complete control.
Fortitude - that moral conduct which can stand up for that which we know to be right, and can boldly repel that which we know to be wrong.
Prudence - that careful weighing of every problem of life so that a balanced mind leads us to the true value of things temporal and eternal.
Justice - that virtue which is called the cement of Civil Society, and which renders to every man his due.

The Lodge Banner bears seven symbols all of which have significance to the Brethren:

The Lodge Motto - ‘By the Mark VII’.
Neptune driving his sea horses.
HMS Victory in full sail with the Union Flag, St George's Flag and the Royal Navy Ensign all flying.
The Lighthouse with its light shining, built firmly on a rock.
The Sea with its restless waves.
The Life-belt.
The Anchor.

Times change and although members retain their pride in the founding principles and history of the Lodge we welcome contact with anyone with sympathies in that direction, whether they have served or not, who would like to join us.

The Lodge Founders
W Bro J Mitchell W Bro AW Smallwood W Bro EB Thorn
W Bro TB Howse W Bro Hurley Robinson W Bro Dr W Harvey Marston
W Bro GA Knott Bro C Eddy Bro FJ Bruford
Bro C Cruickshank Bro PC Wild Bro WH DeGrey
Bro J Brewin Bro E Brunning  

Delving into the old Lodge Minutes reveals some interesting items:

The Lodge Banner was made by the London School of Needle-work at a cost of 100 Guineas (£105).

The Gavels and Maul were produced from wood from RMSS Gloucestershire, SS Mauratania and SS Appan

The Cutlass carried by the Tyler of the Lodge was acquired from HMS Victory in 1870.

On 4th November 1936 the first Initiates of the Lodge were Mr. WT Cartwright Ex CPO RN and Lieut. B Baseby DSC RM (Rtd)

The Lodge Meeting, by dispensation, held on 20th September 1972 was the first to be held at the ‘New Masonic Temple’, Bordesley Green East, Stechford, Birmingham.

On the 2nd February 1977, Nautical Services Lodge mourned the passing of the last remaining Founder of the Lodge, W Bro W H DeGrey, PProvGW, who died nearing the completion of 60 years in the Craft.

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