Members of Reserve Forces Lodge of Northumberland 2666, Northumberland’s Military Lodge and UGLE’s most northerly military lodge carried out a raid on Victoria Rifles Lodge 822 in The Great East, Duke Street, St James’, London on Armistice Day, to seize the Circuit of Service Lodges (COSL) Travelling Gavel from the Lodge. Led by Worshipful Master Sgt Kam Mak, with IPM WBro John Logan, Secretary WBro George Wady and Treasurer Bro Michael White in support, they attended the Installation meeting and claimed the gavel.
Victoria Rifles Lodge was consecrated on 1st October 1860 and originally drew its members from Queen Victoria’s Rifles, a Territorial Army Infantry Battalion. In WW1 2Lt Woolley of the QVR had the distinction of being awarded the first ever Victoria Cross to a member of the Territorial Army when on 20th April 1915 he refused verbal and written orders to withdraw, saying he and his company would remain until properly relieved. They repelled numerous attacks through the night. When they were relieved the next morning, he returned with 14 men remaining from the 150-strong company.
By 2006 the Lodge had fewer than ten subscribing members and was on the point of surrendering its warrant. Thirty Masons with military service joined the Lodge, all of whom were Past Masters of or in Military Lodges and it was agreed that Victoria Rifles Lodge should then become the Past Masters Lodge of the Circuit of Service Lodges. It meets twice a year in May and November.
The Travelling Gavel of COSL is made from the wooden taffrail that runs around the stern of the former Royal Yacht, Britannia, now based in Leith, Edinburgh. HMY Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. It was donated by Navy Lodge 2612 to encourage visits between Lodges within COSL.
The gavel is claimed by at least 4 members of a Lodge attending the holding Lodge and if more than 2 Lodges claim it, then it is surrendered to the Lodge meeting furthest away from the holding Lodge.
Reserve Forces Lodge of Northumbria was consecrated in 1897 and will celebrate its 125th year of existence in 2022. It meets at Fern Avenue Jesmond at 1830 on the 1st Wednesday of the months between October and April, when visitors are most warmly welcomed.
Thanks go to W.Bro Alasdair Watson of Reserve Forces Lodge of Northumbria on the submission of this article.
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