Freemasonry and the British Army: The downloadable PDF

I have now made the text of my talk about Freemasonry and the British Army available as a PDF via the following link:

The PDF can also be accessed via the newly added ‘Miscellaneous‘ page. This page can be opened by clicking on the tab at the top of this blog.

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20 Comments on “Freemasonry and the British Army: The downloadable PDF”

  1. Benoit says:

    Thanks for sharing !
    Benoit

  2. Benoit,

    I am pleased that you have enjoyed reading it.

    All the best,

    Bob

  3. Thanks Bob, I quite enjoyed reading that article over breakfast. Very well researched and written. I had several questions going into it, which you mostly answered, particularly about whether Freemasonry extended to the Junior Ranks – your findings are that it was largely for Officers and Senior NCOs, which seems to make sense. I was also interested in the connection with Woolwich – I can see that more technical, egalitarian trades (artillery, engineers) would be favourable to Freemasonry. Did you find any evidence that more socially stratified cavalry regiments pre-1914 had significant Masonic presences?
    Cheers,
    Michael

  4. Benoit says:

    Hi Micheal,

    Just to “comment your comment” :-).
    I have just read Jean van Win book “Le sang des francs-maçons de Valmy à Waterloo”. It was absolutely not the case into the French army. The author even cites a case where a drummer was “Worshipful Master” and its colonel his Secretary. IMHO this is a “post French revolution effect”. Sorry for my bad English.
    Kind regards,

    Benoit

  5. Benoit says:

    My comment is for the Napoleonic era of course.
    Benoit

  6. guy says:

    V interesting Bob. So sorry I couldn't make it to Sindlesham. We have a regular visitor to my lodge who is in Pegasus and I'm pretty certain there is a lodge stuffed full of ex Guardsmen in Slough. They go ballistic with us as we don't march around squaring everything precisely. We almost slope on purpose and cut the corners to wind them up. My father's lodge in N staffs was full of deaf former gunners. Ritual was therefore done LOUDLY!

    Guy

  7. Michael Peterson,

    I am please to read that you enjoyed reading this over breakfast.

    As far as my limited researches allowed, it was my impression that there was no significant difference between Freemasonry in cavalry or infantry regiments. Both tended to have memberships drawn from more senior NCOs and officers. You are also right about Freemasonry seeming to appeal more to engineers and gunners, although I am not sure how much ch that is due to 'exposure' to The Craft whilst they were training at Woolwich or because of the more technical – and scientific – aspects of their chosen specialisations.

    All the best,

    Bob

  8. Benoit,

    Thanks for the very interesting 'comment on a comment'. It is true to say that Freemasonry across continental Europe tended to be more egalitarian and revolutionary than it was in Britain, even before the French Revolution. As a result The Craft was often proscribed by more authoritarian regimes, and this remained true well into the twentieth century. (The Nazis sent Freemasons to the Concentration Camps, and Franco forbade them from employment in government jobs and imposed draconian restrictions on their ability to take part in civic affairs.)

    All the best,

    Bob

  9. Benoit,

    I assumed from the title of the book that it dealt with the Napoleonic era.

    As an aside, by tradition the King of Sweden has also been the Grand Master in Sweden, and one must assume that Benadotte took up that role when he became King,

    All the best,

    Bob

  10. Thank you Benoit for the very interesting comment. I am not surprised that the French army in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era, where promotion was largely by merit, had more Junion Ranks participating as Masons. Very interesting.
    MP

  11. Guy,

    You missed an excellent meeting, and I would recommend that you try to attend one of the Lodge's future meetings.

    I know of several Military Lodges that are not part of the Circuit of Military Lodges, including at least two Guards Lodges. (What is it with Guardsmen and marching? My Lodge uses a version of Taylor's Workings and squares the the Lodge … but even though we had quite a few ex-servicemen – including an ex-Grenadier – as members, we only ever 'marched' at one point during the ritual.)

    As to ex-gunners needing to shout because they are all hard of hearing … well my experience of attending meetings of the Friends of Firepower (the Royal Artillery Museum) certainly supports that! Luckily I don't have a quiet voice and it meant that I never had a problem being heard.

    All the best,

    Bob

  12. Benoit,

    May I echo Michael Peterson's thanks for your comment.

    All the best,

    Bob

  13. Conrad Kinch says:

    This has all been very interesting. I must confess to feeling that I'm missing out. Something for retirement perhaps.

  14. Pete. says:

    A great piece Bob- many thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  15. Benoit says:

    My pleasure.

    Here is another one :
    Jean Van Win book has an interesting section related to French prisoners detained into the horrible conditions of prison hulks during the Napoleonic wars. Surprisingly, it was not uncommon that French lodges were tolerated onboard. We even have some evidence of visiting Englishmen !
    Kind regards,
    Benoit

  16. Conrad Kinch,

    I suspect that you might well enjoy being a member … but don't leave it too late!

    All the best,

    Bob

  17. Pete,

    I am very glad that you enjoyed reading it.

    All the best,

    Bob

  18. Benoit,

    Although they may have been enemies on the battlefield, they were all Brothers in The Craft, which is why French Lodges meeting aboard the prison hulks were tolerated and even visited.

    Thanks again for your very interesting contribution.

    All the best,

    Bob

  19. Tim Gow says:

    Thanks for sharing your research Bob – very interesting!

  20. Tim Gow,

    I thought that you might enjoy reading this … and I was right!

    All the best,

    Bob


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