History of Nautical Services Lodge, No 5629

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

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.

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 Royal School of Needlework 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.