by WBro Clive Handy
On Thursday 7th February 2019, Bro David W Perry was installed as Master of Friendly Lodge No. 1513 (Barnsley, in The West Riding of Yorkshire) and I was invited as his personal guest from Berkshire.
Nothing unusual in that you might say, but in conversation with a mutual friend, Pete Baggley (who I met at the Cenotaph in London the previous November when we were both taking part in the Remembrance Day parade around Whitehall) mentioned that he would like to go to the lodge meeting. Pete knew Dave and me from our membership of No 3(F) Squadron Royal Air Force. We were all serving together in Germany in the mid 70’s.
The lodge meeting on the 7th February was the first time we had been together in the same place for 40+ years, although we had met separately over the years. The best bit was that David didn’t know Pete was coming and the lodge kept it secret from him right up to the meeting!
When we arrived at the temple in Eastgate, Barnsley, Pete (WBro Peter Baggley IPM Gosparic Lodge 5286, Province of Cumberland and Westmoreland) arrived from Carlisle incognito. We kept Pete away from David for as long as possible, until they met together in the bar. At which point, David did a double take and asked what he was doing here? David didn’t even know Pete was a mason let alone an IPM. To say the surprise was complete was an understatement!
The lodge meeting was carried out with skill and expertise and WBro David Perry became the new Worshipful Master of the Friendly Lodge 1513. A fantastic festive board followed with much reminiscing about our time in the RAF together. The whole evening was a great success. I would like to thank WBro Mike Ross, who assisted me in maintaining the subterfuge; to the outgoing master WBro Alan Smith for the lovely way he installed my friend; and to all the members of The Friendly Lodge for their part in the plot. Lastly a special thanks to WBro Peter Baggley for coming down and being part of something that started 40+ years ago. Who would have thought that three Corporals (working in a field together, in the mud and rain, servicing Harrier Jump Jets and trying to defend the site from ‘enemy forces’ as part-time reservists) would end up in 2019 in our regalia, all having joined this wonderful Freemasonry movement – this is the beauty of our ancient and honourable institution.
I would like to thank W Bro Mike Ross, who assisted me in maintaining the subterfuge, and to the outgoing master W Bro Alan Smith for the lovely way he installed my friend into the chair of King Soloman, and all the members of The Friendly Lodge for their part in the plot. Lastly a special thanks to W Bro Peter Baggley for coming down and being part of something that started forty plus years ago. Who would have thought that three Corporals working in a field together in the mud and rain of servicing Harrier Jump Jets and trying to defend the site we were encamped on from ‘enemy forces’, in reality part-time reservists, would end up in 2019 in our regalia having joined this wonderful institution that is the Freemasonry movement. That is the beauty of our ancient and honorable institution.