In the Holmes’ Lodge Room at Freemasons’ Hall, 80 London Road, Leicester on the north side stands a War memorial tablet which details the names of Brethren who served in the Great War (World War I 1914-1918) and the seven Leicestershire and Rutland Brethren who gave their lives in that conflict.
Often the Brethren attending meetings in that fine space give it scarcely a second glance, but how did it come to be there and what can we find out about the seven Brethren?
In 1919 an Appeal was launched to the Brethren for subscriptions towards a Freemasons’ War Memorial which “should take the form of a substantial fund for the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and a memorial of some kind in connection with the Masonic Temple” The appeal raised over £5,500 (equivalent to £750,000 in todays money) of which £5,000 was for the LRI (new Orthopaedic Department) and the remainder for a memorial tablet to record the names of the 7 Leicestershire and Rutland Brethren who fell in the War and those Brethren who served in His Majesty’s Regular and Territorial Forces.
A question has been raised whether there are other Masons from the Province who died in action or as a result of wounds, who are missing from the Memorial. The problem is that many of the records were bombed in the Second World War – many being totally destroyed and what remains at Kew are referred to as “the burnt records”.
A detailed paper has been written on the War memorial tablet in the Holmes’ Lodge Room (with detailed notes on the seven Brethren) by W.Bro. Jonathan Varley and has been published in the 2012-13 Transactions of the Lodge of Research No.2429, which are available via the Lodge Secretary. Thanks are given to W.Bro. Jonathan for allowing reproduction of extracts of his paper.
The Lodge of Research No.2429 seeks to exchange opinions with Freemasons throughout the world, and to attract and interest Brethren by means of Papers on the historical and symbolic aspects of Masonry. It meets on the fourth Monday in November, January and March at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester. Contact the Lodge Secretary for further details of membership or visiting.