February 2019 Meeting

After many happy festive boards at the East India Club, the February meeting saw the Lodge hold its meeting at this favourite haunt, the first meeting in St James’s for some 40 years. 

We conducted a fine raising ceremony, presided over by WM Sid Mallya in a fluent and confident performance, with the Traditional History being delivered with great style and understanding by W Bro Matt Burrows of our Mother Lodge, Household Brigade No 2614. We were also delighted to be joined by a familiar face from the Old Bradfield Lodge.

We finished the evening with an excellent meal and over Port and Madeira celebrated the imminent milestone of VW Bro Jervis Kay’s birthday.

Installation Meeting – October 2018

The Old Wellingtonian Lodge met for its Installation meeting on 11 October, 2018 to install our new Worshipful Master, W Bro Sidhartha Mallya. Assisted by friends and ruling Masters from the lodges of Repton, Charterhouse and Westminster, and the Secretary Designate of our mother lodge, Household Brigade,  our newly installed Master fluently and confidently appointed and installed his officers and paused to speak passionately and briefly about the importance of looking after our young members and of defending our craft in the face of ill-informed opposition, which he himself had faced only recently. We were also pleased to welcome guests from both Sir Thomas White Lodge and Chapter, Stowe, Onward Lodge No 5540, and Letchworth Lodge No 3505.

The Lodge was well represented with members and guests numbering over 30 on the evening, before repairing for some of the finest beef many had had at a festive board, organised by W Bro Start Bamford and courtesy of the East India, Sports and Public Schools’ club in St James’s. The bar hosted many of those present until closing.

College Meeting – May 2018

The Lodge held its annual early summer meeting at Wellington College on 12 May 2018.

Although the weather proved against the cricketers playing Marlborough, it did encourage members of the Lodge and their guests to focus on matters masonic indoors, rather than lingering on Turf. We were privileged to welcome guests from sister PSLC Lodges: the Old Uppinghamian Lodge, the Old Rugbeian Lodge and Cholemeley Lodge (Highgate School), as well as masons from the Lodge of St George in East Sussex and from Coventry Foundation Lodge in Warwickshire, together with a member of the College Team, a regular guest and member of Be Prepared Lodge in Berkshire.

These meetings are high prized amongst OW Masons, giving us the chance to revisit College and catch up on the physical development of College which seems to come on leaps and bounds every twelve months, and to meet up with members of staff, current Wellingtonians, and of course Potts. This meeting was particularly special as we had the honour of welcoming a new member to the Lodge; An initiation of an OW at Wellington is always special, for the officers and members of the Lodge as much as for the candidate. The Ceremony was carried in fine style by this year’s Worshipful Master W Bro Peter Draper, formerly of Senior Common Room, ably assisted by his IPM, W Bro Derek Barrett, known to so many OWs from the rackets court.

We dined afterwards in the Senior Common Room Dinning Room, joined by a number of members’ and guests’ partners and friends, and by members of the OW Community including Potts and the Worshipful Master’s guests former SCR Colleague Jim Price and his wife Ceri. We were truly sorry neither the Head Boy or Girl could join us, but we appreciate that it is exam season (as it almost always seems to be for students these days?). A wonderful evening, with perhaps the only cloud being the recent demise of the Waterloo Hotel and the resulting longer journeys  home in place of the familiar amble down past the Talbot (and now the Beresford of course) to the bar, especially for the Old Talbotians. Maybe we are all getting a little old to be still climbing that fence anyway…?

We were delighted to make a small contribution to Potts’ forthcoming challenge to walk two legs (or was that to walk on two legs?) of the  London Brighton challenge for Cystic Fibrosis Trust. If anyone else would like to support him he has a Just Giving page, which worth a visit if only for the Knobbly Knees winning photo of the great man himself.

We look forward to returning next year, and would welcome any members of the College Community, OW masons who are not members of the Lodge, members of PSLC Sister lodges, and our frequent and infrequent visitors to join us. Please do not hesitate to contact the Secretary (secretary@owl3404.org) or contact us via College. We will try an ensure the dates and details are posted in the usual College, OW, and Masonic places.

March 2018 – Congratulations

The Lodge would like to extend its congratulations to W Bro Nigel Birch on his recent award of an MA and successful publishing of his master’s dissertation, entitled ‘No Sideshow: The British Contribution to the Allied Victory in the Balkans, September 1918′.

 

 

Metropolitan Grand Steward

The Old Wellingtonian Lodge and its two past Metropolitan Grand Stewards would like to congratulate W Bro Matthew Saunders (WM 2015) on being appointed as a Metropolitan Grand Steward for the 2018/19 year. We wish him and all this year’s Met Grand Stewards every success and an enjoyable year.

H L Sherbrooke

H L Sherbrooke. Benson 1936
Courtesy of Wellington College Archive

Henry Lowe Sherbrooke was in the Benson and  had a distinguished Wellington career: He was Head of College in 1938, captained the Racquets Pair in 1938 having played in the Pair for two years, and was in both the Hockey and Cricket XIs, before going up to Trinity Oxford.

He was commissioned on the strength of his cadet service in 1940 in the Kings Dragoon Guards, and transferred to the Bays in 1941 with whom he served in the Desert fighting Rommel.

Sherbrooke and the Bays were in the thick of the fighting from May 1942,  and he was captured in the ‘Cauldron’ near El Alamein on 30 June 1942 during “a successful attack on an enemy column of 3,000 vehicles, until a covering force of twenty-three panzer IIIs and IVs came forward, knocking out Lieutenant Sherbrooke’s tank and capturing him and his crew”.1

After the war he worked for the Overseas Food Corporation, including spells overseas in Tanganyika.

He joined the Lodge in 1986. He was the 250th member of the Lodge when he joined. Unusually his mother lodge was Prince of Wales Lodge No 19 in Santiago, Chile. This was a Lodge of English-speaking masons formed by members of Harmony Lodge No. 1411 an English Constitution Lodge in Valparaiso. However due to an agreement between UGLE and the Grand Lodge of Chile, this lodge was formed under the local constitution. It still meets today, but has become a local Spanish-speaking lodge.2

He was a member of the Cavalry Club.

  1. History of the QDG
  2. http://princeofwaleslodge.webs.com/likenamedlodges.htm 

L F R Kenyon

L F R Kenyon. Combermere 1917
Courtesy of wellington College Archive

Brigadier Lionel Frederick RobertFreddy’ Kenyon DSO was initiated into the Lodge in 1922 and remained with us for 58 years, but never took the chair.

At Wellington he was a dormitory prefect in the Combermere, and in the same class with fellow Lodge member Harold Newman, who recalls in his online memoirs life under Jock Cave, a somewhat Victorian-era usher in charge of the Middle IInd,1 and the two of them would go to Woolwich in the same class as well, along with 17 other fellow OWs in the June intake alone. Five more had preceded them in March, and a further twenty-seven would go to Sandhurst.2 He was commission in the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1919.

Having missed the Great War he saw service in Waziristan in 1922-1923 and again on the Khajuri Plain in 1930-1931, and was Mentioned for both campaigns. With the outbreak of World War Two he served in several staff positions before finding himself in 1943 at the sharp end of soldiering once more in a little-known misadventure in the Dodecanese known as Operation Accolade.

With the surrender of the Italians, the areas previously under their control suddenly found themselves in play as potential stepping stones in the invasion of Europe. The Germans and the Allies squared up in a series of scrambled operations to seize control of the more strategic island and outposts, especially those that could service aircraft. The conflicting views of Churchill and Eisenhower did little to help, and even Allanbrooke, then CIGS, was opposed the Chuchill’s “Rhodes Madness”.3 A book called Churchill’s Folly provides a good overview for those with more than a passing interest in the details.

Kenyon’s first task was an attempt to persuade the newly Allied Italian forces on Rhodes and their Italian commander to resist the Germans. This was unsuccessful, and with the loss of Rhodes back to the Axis, there was a a rushed attempt to take control of Kos and Leros, with their strategic naval and aerial importance.

Kenyon found himself in command of a mixed combined ops force whose principle infantry formation was 1 Dorset Light Infantry, and a significant number of LRDG and SBS, but very little air cover.

Unfortunately the Italians were in a poor state, in terms of moral and materiele, and following the capitulation of their 35-40,000 strong force to less than 7000 Germans, Kenyon and his small force were captured in the swift German retaking of the Island.

What followed ranks as its own distinct chapter of the crimes committed by the Germans, with mass shooting of some 4000 Italian PoWs. Kenyon and the British forces was spared this fate, and remained in captivity until liberation.The combined atrocities, poor result and Churchillian tactical over-reach go some way to explain why this small episode of the war is little spoken about, although there is increasing Italian scholarly and amateur research and discussion, focussing unsurprisingly on the atrocities committed and largely covered up afterwards.

Kenyon retired not long after the War to Constable Country around Dedham, and wrote several pieces, including his account of the Kos (Mis-)Adventure and a book on Dedham Vale for the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, now the CPRE.

  1. http://www.newman-family-tree.net 
  2. Reading Observer (https://www.berkshirestories.org.uk/archive/reading-observer-1914-1920/reading-observer-1919/reading-observer-06-1919/121417-reading-observer-28-06-1919-00004jpg#prettyPhoto/0/)
  3. Allanbrooke, 2001

 

R G Lees

Lt Col R G ‘Reggie’ Lees OBE Gordons

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gilbert ‘Reggie’ Lees OBE was in the Wellesley from 1912, and was a Dormitory Prefect and in the XI.

From Wellington he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the Gordons. He served as Adjutant of the 4th Territorial Battalion as well as regular service with the 2nd, which Battalion he commanded at the start of the Second World War.

He took the 2nd Battalion to Fortress Singapore after the Japanese entered the war. With the Fall of Singapore he spent the rest of the war as a Japanese PoW working on the infamous Burma Railway, where he acquitted himself well and looked after his men the best he could. He is much remembered for his leadership in camp, and while the story is told most famously in the film the Bridge on the Rover Kwai, it must be stated that the real life senior British Officer, Col Toosey, to whom Reggie was effectively 2 i/c, could not have been more completely differently. For those with an interest, Julie Summers’ book is an interesting starting point.

Lees also became the inspiration for the Colonel in the McAuslan novels, and was well known to Charles Johnson Payne, better known as Snaffles, who dedicated several paintings and caricatures to him.

He retired from professional soldiering in 1954.

He was initiated into Golconda Lodge No 3249 in India which is still thriving in Secundarabad. He joined the OW Lodge in 1929 when still a Subaltern, and served the Lodge for 50 years.

Wartime Captivity

An occupational hazard of military service in the second world war, especially in the opening salvos, was the well-documented speed and superiority of the Axis forces. It is inevitable then that with the representation of the Lodge and OWs in general in the standing army that some of them would be caught up in the melee. We rightfully remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but here the Lodge would like to pay tribute to those that fought and were captured.

Lord Rathcreedan, who would go on to be Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1959, was a territorial officer with the 4th Ox & Bucks that formed part of 145th  Brigade of the BEF in 1939. He was captured as part of the unit’s heroic defence of Mount Cassel, making time for the evacuation of Dunkirk, and furthermore defending their positions to allow the rest of the formation to attempt a breakout. He was a PoW for the remainder of the war.

Duggald Bannatyne  was Worshipful Master in 1954 and served with the Camerons at the fall of Tobruk. A Royal Artillery officer was witness to the arrival of 2nd Camerons to the POW cage:

“We heard, although we could scarcely believe it, the skirl of pipes. There, in the brilliant sunshine, marching down the centre of the road from the escarpment, came a long column of men. The Jerry traffic was brought to a standstill or forced on to the verges. A strange awed murmur went up from the cage: “The Camerons!”

In columns of threes they marched with a swing to the tune of their pipers – ‘The March of The Cameron Men’ – each company led by its company commander, just as though they were on parade. It was a supremely moving sight, although some of us could only see it hazily through our tears.

Even the Jerry sentries sprang to attention as the battalion neared the gates. There, the Camerons halted. Their Colonel reported to the Brigadier, saluted, and dismissed his men, who had held out for twenty-four hours after the surrender order had been issued.”

 

Henry Lowe Sherbrooke joined the Lodge in 1986, some years after his wartime service with the  Queen’s Bays. He had been in the Benson and was made Head of College in 1938. He also made the Racquets Pair, and both the Hockey and Cricket XIs, before going up to Trinity Oxford. He was the 250th member of the Lodge when he joined. Unusually his mother lodge was Prince of Wales Lodge No 19 in Santiago, Chile (which still meets).  He was captured in the ‘Cauldron’ near El Alamein on 30 June 1942 during “a successful attack on an enemy column of 3,000 vehicles, until a covering force of twenty-three panzer IIIs and IVs came forward, knocking out Lieutenant Sherbrooke’s tank and capturing him and his crew”.1

An interesting side note is that both Sherbrooke and Bannatyne ended up in at Oflag VIII, and both were somehow able to telegram Speech Day congratulations to Wellington from behind the wire:

Speech Day Telegrams from PoWs. Courtesy of Wellington College Archive

Lt Col Richard Gilbert ‘Reggie’ Lees was in the Wellesley from 1912, and was a Dormitory Prefect and in the XI. He went to Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Gordons. He was in command of the 2nd Battalion when it was posted to Fortress Singapore. With the Fall of Singapore he spent the rest of the war as a Japanese PoW working on the infamous Burma Railway, where he acquitted himself well and looked after his men the best he could. He is much remembered for his leadership in camp, and became the inspiration for the Colonel in the McAuslan novels.

Francis Ian Hamilton-Moore was another guest of the Japanese, having served in the Federated Malay States volunteer Infantry and being present at the fall of Singapore. He was Master in 1952.

Brigadier Lionel Frederick RobertFreddy’ Kenyon DSO was initiated into the Lodge in 1922 and remained with us for 58 years. A Royal Engineers officer who was a dormitory prefect in the Combermere before going to Woolwich in 1918. Having missed the end of the Great War he saw service in Waziristan in 1922-1923 and again on the Khajuri Plain in 1930-1931, and was Mentioned for both campaigns. After several World War Two staff jobs he found himself in 1943 at the sharp end of soldiering once more. After being unsuccessful in an attempt to persuade the newly Allied Italian forces on Rhodes and the Italian commander of the Dodecanese to resist the Germans, and following the capitulation fo 35-40,000 Italians to less than 7000 Germans, he became the overall force commander of the Kos Invasion force. He was captured in the swift German retaking of the Island which was met by scant resistance from demoralised Italian troops. What followed ranks as its own distinct chapter of the crimes committed by the Germans, with mass shooting of Italian PoWs. Kenyon was spared this fate, and remained in captivity until liberation.2

 

  1. History of the Queens Dragoon Guards
  2. THE EVENTS ON KOS IN OCTOBER 1943 P Liuzzi. http://www.academia.edu/13231745/THE_EVENTS_ON_KOS_IN_OCTOBER_1943 

 

The Lodge & College

As part of the Wellington Community the Lodge enjoys a strong connection with College, as befits a School Lodge, and one whose membership is open to people with a connection to College.

The 308 members have included both the first and current Presidents of Wellington College, a Vice President, eleven Governors, two Masters, and sixteen members of Senior Common Room and servants of College as well as the first ever boy to arrive at Wellington.

One of the highlights of each year is the May meeting at Wellington, giving members the chance to reconnect with College, to see the tangible and intangible development of the place, and to speak to current pupils and members of staff. These meetings also serve to introduce families and friends to Wellington, including partners of members for whom this physical link to College has helped make decisions on the future schooling of their own children. As a young lodge we have 17 children of current members below the age of Common Entrance. We also have a number of younger members for whom those decisions are some way off yet!

Last and by no means least it provides a connection to the current generation of Wellingtonians. Our dinners at College are open affairs with invitations to current Wellingtonians, the Master, members of Common Room, the OW Society and the wider Wellington community.

This connection is reflected also in the Lodge’s charitable priorities. We have always supported both College’s long-term and one-off projects and priorities, both individually and as a group.

Of course one cannot attribute a single OW’s generosity to their membership of the Lodge, but contributions from OW Lodge members have included:

More generally the Lodge has sponsored a number of projects and trips by members of College, especially any of CMStGP’s adventures. We have also supported the Wellington charities over the year including the Mission and its successors the Herbert Trust and the JL Bevir Memorial Fund, named in memory of Lodge member J L Bevir.

Both these charities are now constituents of the OW Society Charitable Trust which was the chief beneficiary in our centenary year with a one off donation of £5000 as well as receiving regular contributions over the years.

In 2016 we supported College’s acquisition of the Duke of Wellington’s writing set and in November 2017 we donated £1000 to the Picton’s Alzheimers Charity fund raising efforts at the suggestion of the Master.

We also have the honour and privilege every 25-30 years of hosting the PSLC Festival at Wellington, showing off College to about 700 visiting old boys of 34 public schools and their partners and friends. In 2014 when we last hosted this event we donated £10,000, split between College’s appeal to fund the purchase of the Maclise painting of ‘The Meeting of Wellington and Blucher’ and a contribution to the London Air Ambulance. This second cause, supported by all London Masons has seen the purchase of a new helicopter for London and substantial further funding.

We also support charities linked to Masonry and every year the Worshipful Master nominates a charity for that year. More details can be found here.