ANZAC DAY 2018 – Holding our History – Masonic Honour Rolls.
From WBro Damien Hudson, Editor Devotion News
Within the robbing room of the Collingwood Masonic Centre is a World War One Honour Board. It calls us to remember fourteen Brothers of the thousands of Freemasons who served in World War One. This particular Honour Board records the WW1 soldiers who were members of the Earl of Carnarvon Lodge No 102 UGLV, one of three Lodges who built our Masonic Building.
The board does not record military ranks or awards nor if the men survived or perished in the Great War. It simply remembers all those as Freemasons from the Lodge who served. It is a constant reminder for future generations of these Freemasons’ sacrifice in serving Australia.
An Honour Roll, in book form, produced in 1919 by the United Grand Lodge of Victoria noting deaths and awards helped identify some of the men on Carnarvon’s Honour Board.
Bro “R Bunning”; Lance Corporal Robert Allan Bunning who appears on the board enlisted in August 1914 aged 23 at Essendon. He landed at Gallipoli as part of 7th Battalion and was wounded there in May 1915. He was admitted to hospital there with enteritis in August, dysentery in September in Cairo, with heart trouble and rheumatism in Helios. We know he was the son of William Henry and Pheobe Bunning of Moone Ponds. He was killed in action in France 25 July 1916, eleven days after his promotion.
“Bro A D Nevein” was awarded the MC and “Bro A T Paul” the MC & DCM. Both appear on the Board with no mention of these military awards, just as the death of “Bro R Bunning” is not noted.
Bro Lt Albert Thomas Paul MC, DCM enlisted aged 25 in July 1915, like Bunning, at Moonee Ponds, listing his profession as electrical engineer. He served in 6th (Army) Field Artillery and was promoted to Corporal July 1916, the same month he was gassed. He was awarded the DCM “For Gallantry” in France on 1 Jan 1917. His MC was awarded for actions 4-5 Oct 1918 for two hours working under heavy fire locating a command post and re-establishing communications critical to artillery - some accounts say he was laying telephone wire under fire and I suspect he did both. Pension documents show he was alive in 1960.
Bro Major Alfred Douglas Nevein MC was born 26 Oct 1886 in Collingwood. Nevein was a felt hatter, apprenticed at Denton Hat Mills for 5 years when enlisted. On enlistment, he was living at 154 Easy St Collingwood and had been in 8th Engineers Citizens Military Force (CMF) for 11 years and was then married to Margaret. Denton Hat Mills (later Fayrefield Hat Factory) at 48-60 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford, is one of several famous hat factories in the City of Collingwood and close to the Collingwood Masonic Centre. The local History Society says the Factory also had a WW1 Honour Board and one wonders if Bro Denton was on it. (The building remains a local landmark and Burbank Homes’ $36 million dollar heritage conversion of the Heritage Registered Denton factory to 20 townhouses and 38 apartments with nine shops won the 2011 Heritage Property Award for the project). Nevein had been a Captain in the CMF and enlisted 26 Sept 1915. Serving in the 2nd Division Engineers in France, as a Captain, he was Mentioned in Dispatched by Douglas Haig on 7 Nov 1917, he was afterward awarded an MC in France on 4 June 1918 and on 15 June was admitted to hospital with influenza, later being given 3 weeks sick leave to the UK. On 8 August 1918 he was wounded in action with a gunshot wound “back and thigh, severe”. Surviving this wound, he returned to Australia after the War. He re-enlisted at the Drill Hall South Melbourne on 31 Jan 1940 as a married farmer living at 64 Railway Rd Carnegie with his wife Margaret and was posted to Alice Springs. When he was discharged in 1943, he was listed as a widower as Margaret had died 22 June 1940. Neither his MC nor MID are mentioned on the Honour Board, and his MID is not noted in the UGLV 1919 WW1 Honour Roll.
The WW1 Honour Roll of United Grand Lodge Victoria published in 1919 contains 36 pages of Freemasons known to have served in the Great War. This, combined with service records available on line via the National Archives, helped identify these men on Gipps Street’s Earl of Carnarvon’s Honour Board.
The final page of the 1919 Honour Roll records that 2,244 names appear on the roll with 237 names being “Our honoured dead”. Names are listed by Lodge, and show if the member died, his post nominals and pre-nominals such as “Dr” and “Rev”, it records no military ranks. It has been re-typed in
MSExel and accompanies this edition for use by anyone. The Excel version contradicts the final page of the Roll; 2,229 names are on the list with 236 killed, only Lodge of Research Names appear repeated and one other. 10.59% of the listed were killed and 5.83% in the list have post nominals. It lists three VC holders. J Rogers (VC in Boer War) and FH Tubb, killed in action. Like the names on our honour board, Tub is listed on of Euroa No 182’s Honour Board in that building. The UGLV Honour Roll also lists J W Symonds VC of Windsor No 72 and it was in re-typing the list that Symonds again was associated with Freemasonry, having been lost in our discourse.
Being in MSExcel, it is easy to see things in the Honour Roll like 26 “Revs” or Priests were recorded, three of them killed, and that four lodges had two Reverends serve in the War while Mansfield No 158 had three, one killed. That 25 Freemasons were “Dr” but we don’t know if they were all Medical Doctors or Doctorates. One was killed, and five were from Melbourne University No 171.
The lists records the 221 Lodges from which allied personnel were drawn, including the Lodge of Research No 218 that’s members also appear under their normal Masonic Lodge. Eight of these lodges had 25 or more men join;
1. Australia Felix of Hiram No 4, 37 men
2. Sandridge Marine No 21, 33 men
3. Melbourne Temperance No 200, 32 men
4. Excelsior of Industry No 16, 29 men
5. King Solomon No 29, 29 men
6. Kent No 31, 26 men
7. Cosmopolitan No 96, 25 men
8. Melbourne No 17 25 men
Seven lodges would also have a death rate of 50% or more, although none of the above. Lodge Kent No 179 would have five men enlist with 3 killed (60%), one wonders at the impact of these deaths on their Masonic Communities and if the Masonic Communities of today still remember and honour these individuals?
Grange 45 draws my eye – it was the Lodge of Albert Chalmers Borella, VC, MM (7 August 1881 – 7 February 1968) who has only recently been established as a Freemason.
Other things in the list are easily spotted; Lodge Burnaby No 106 – all men have the same name; Walder, all of whom survived.
Three names stood out as famous military men, perhaps not known as well now; but no doubt there were more. Lieutenant General Henry Gordon Bennett CB, CMG, DSO, VD (1887 –1962) who became the youngest General in the Australian Army, Bennett is best remembered for his role in the Battle of Singapore in February 1942 in the Pacific War. As commander of the 8th Australian Division, he escaped while his men became prisoners. A Royal Commission found that he had been unjustified in relinquishing his command. He was a member Austral Temple No 110. Air-Commodore Arthur Henry “Harry” Cobby CBE DSO DFC (two Bars) GM (1894-1955) was the leading fighter ace of the Australian Flying Corps during World War 1. Cobby shot down 29 aircraft and 13 balloons between February and September 1918. He is listed as a member Victorian Naval and Military Lodge 49 (Member Peace Commemoration Lodge 519 UGLV at time of death). Air Vice Marshal Stanley James “Jimmy” Goble, CBE, DSO, DSC, C de G, (1891 – 1948) “was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served three terms as Chief of the Air Staff, alternating with Wing Commander (later Air Marshal Sir) Richard Williams. Goble came to national attention in 1924 when he and fellow RAAF pilot Ivor McIntyre became the first men to circumnavigate Australia by air, journeying 8,450 miles (13,600 km) in a single-engine floatplane. Cobby was a member of Rechab No 224 UGLV.
I am sure there are many other illustrious men in the UGLV Honour Roll of 1919.
While retyping the list, many other things caught my eye, but I will tell you of one more –DJ & WJ Culton, both killed and both members of Rupanyup No 118 and HL & PH Williams both killed and members of Lodge Thespian No 232. I wondered if these were not only Brother in Freemasonry but Brothers by blood. I discovered indeed they were both.
Thespian No 232 -HL & PH Williams,
Confirmed as Masonic and familial Brothers
Bro Private Percival Hector Williams (SERN 2275) & Bro Sergeant Herbert Lewis Williams (SERN 5238) were born near Newcastle NSW and members of Lodge Thespian No 232. They were the sons of Lennard Lewis Williams and Elizabeth Jane Williams both of 25 Lennox St Richmond, within Percival’s file is a letter written by them giving consent to his enlistment. Their father Lennard was likely a Freemason to see these men initiated prior to being 21 as then required by all but the sons and nephews of Freemasons.
Bro Herbert Lewis Williams (SERN 5238), listed the same next of kin at the same address, was a coach trimmer of 18 years 10 months when he enlisted on 1 February 1916. Although a cadet in the CMF, he noted he had been rejected for enlistment before because of “physique” but obviously being accepted this time. Serving on the 59th Battalion, he was killed in action on 4 July 1916 in France.
Bro Percival Hector was 20 years 7 months when he enlisted 28 April 1916 listing his profession as Blacksmith Assistant and noting he was in the CMF. He served in the 16th Battalion in the AIF. On 10 February 1917 he sustained gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen and died the following day in a casualty clearing station.
Percival is buried in the Dernacourt Communal Cemetery in France.
Hebert is buried Merricourt L’Abbe Communal Cemetery France Row E Grave 4
In the 1950’s Lodge Thespian was known to be meeting at the Collingwood Masonic Centre.
Rupanyup No 118 DJ & WJ Culton.
Confirmed as Masonic and familial Brothers
Corporal David John Culton (SERN 5810) and Lieutenant William James Culton: (SERN: Lieutenant) were born in Stawell East, Victoria both listing next of kin as their mother Janette Culton of Rupanyip and father as deceased.
David enlisted in Melbourne on 15 May 1916 aged 34 years 2 months giving his occupation as store keeper and marital status as single. He had been a Lieutenant in the CMF Rangers for 12 years. On 3 Feb 1917 he obtained 1st Class qualification having a “fair knowledge of Lewis Gun”. He joined 12 Battalion AIF, 16th Reinforcements and died 21 Sept 1917 – killed in action in Belgium. Six months later in a letter dated 17 April 1918 Mrs J Culton of Rupanyup Victoria was advised David had been killed in action. In addition to being a Freemason, there is also correspondence in his file to the Secretary of the MUIOOF at Rupanyip advising of his death.
William joined 23 Dec 1915, aged 37 ½ years , with his professional calling “commercial”, noting service in the Victorian Rangers CMF for 16 years as a Lt. In January 1916 he applied for a commission in the AIF listing his employment as “Sergeant AIEF” with a postal address in Hobart. This application tells us he was born on 2 Oct 1878, he was later appointed to the 40th Battalion at Claremont. He left Tasmania 23 Nov 1916 for France and was killed in action three months later on 12 February 1917.
David was originally buried Garter Point Cemetery which was later destroyed by shell fire, all trace of grave obliterated. After the erection of a memorial cross, his body was located and reburied at Poelcapelle British Cemetery 5 miles NNE of Ypres. Plot 60, Row A, Grave 16
William is buried in Military Cemetery LOOS Grave 701
Our Brothers DJ & WJ Culton, and HL & PH Williams are just four of the 2,229 Freemasons who served in the Great War. It would please me if the list accompanying this edition was used to tell more stories of the Freemasons of WW1.
Lest We Forget.