From the minute books we get an insight of how the Lodge and the brethren coped and adapted during the period of the 1914 – 18 War, with the younger members and office bearers answering Kitcheners Call to enlist and fight, the turnover of office bearers was quite frequent and more and more of the older members were having to step into office, a situation which also occurred during the 1939-45 War.
In Nov 1916, we read that the then RWM Bro William Gibson was having to resign as he was being called up duty in the Royal Navy, the Lodge was also having to hold frequent emergency meetings as the war progressed to work degrees on new brethren leaving for active service. We read of the Grand Lodge allowing the Lodges to free brethren who were serving in the Forces from paying their annual test fees for the duration of the War – so that they could retain their ‘Good standing status’ – there was a request for donations of Field Glasses for the Scottish Horse Regiment being assembled by the Grand Master the Marquis of Tullibardine – Also suggesting Lodges compile rolls of honour of those brethren serving under the colours. There were requests for donations to various charitable funds being set up - for the Belgian relief fund – as the Germans stormed through Belgium, a fund was set up to help the civilians, The Red Cross, the Prince of Wales Fund. It is also mentioned in the minutes that The Stella Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star were also involved in sending out Christmas and other food parcels to Lodge brethren serving in the Forces.
The Lodge rooms were being used in early 1915 by the 3 / 4 Black Watch battalion for recruitment purposes. In 1915 the Lodge was taking out extra Insurance against damage sustained from Aircraft and bombardment from the sea – this not long after Germans ships had shelled the likes of Whitby and Scarborough and also the beginning of Zepplin attacks from the air, a new dimension added to warfare. Also there was a request from the local Red Cross for the use of our premises in the event of an air raid.
We also get reports from brethren home on leave – In Jan 1915 Bro Geo Anderson reporting to the Lodge that he had been involved in the Royal Navy victory at the Falkland Islands. Bro Robert Webster reporting on his return from the Far East, being shipwrecked and being helped and looked after by the kind members of Lodge Yokohama in Japan. Bro Webster had the good luck to survive two torpedo attacks on the ships he was serving on.
Also in August 1916 Brother John W Tyrie reported on visits to two Lodges in Bermuda whilst on ‘Transport Service’ with the Royal Navy.
In February 1917 Brother Lawrence gave a very vivid description of his experiences on a merchant vessel after a German submarine had torpedoed it. In April a letter was read out from Bro George Gall, who was now a P.O.W. in Germany - captured, probably during the British Army’s retreat from Mons – he was asking for help. In March 1919 the minutes record his welcome back into the Lodge after his release from Germany he also thanked the Lodge for the Red Cross parcels regularly sent to him during his captivity – these he said, kept him alive during the his years of captivity. In October 1917 a letter was received from Bro Sturrock, now serving with the Australian Forces asking for a sprig of heather for his hospital bed. There were of course other more serious reports in the minute book – In June 1915 a report that Bro John Forbes of the Royal Naval Division had been wounded at the Dardanelles (Gallipoli).
There were also regular very sad entries, of brethren, or the sons of brethren being killed in action – the saddest entry in the minutes is for 21st June 1917 when the RWM reported the deaths of four brethren killed in action, also sympathies were extended to the Junior Deacon Bro George Gray who had been told that his 19 year old son had been killed in action, later on in the minutes of 1918 we read that another one of his sons was also badly wounded in action.
Within a day of the guns falling silent a suggestion was tabled in the Lodge to hold a memorial service for the ‘Fallen’ also Grand Lodge was to circulate suggestions to the Lodges on how to go about this and also for Lodges to update their Rolls of Honour’. Broughty Castle already had a Roll of Honour, complied and illuminated by Bro George M. Martin, a member of Lodge Dundee St Mary and a regular visitor to Broughty Castle. Unfortunately this Roll of Honour has been lost over the years.
However the memorial stones, the Divine Services, and the welcome home events would have to wait until 1920 when the men had been demobbed and most were home.
On the 30th January 1920, the members held a reception, a ‘Welcome Home’ for all the brethren who had served with ‘The Colours’, permission had been granted from the Provincial Grand Master for the brethren to wear their military uniforms on that occasion. The Master, Brother John Shaw opened the meeting and was joined in the East by the Substitute Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire, Brother Arthur J Ramsay and a number of Reigning Masters from local sister Lodges.
The Master welcomed back into their mother Lodge, those brethren whom he said, ‘had kept the flag flying at the mast- head through five years of unprecedented crisis and danger’. He assured them that ‘they had never been forgotten by their mother Lodge and now that the days of peace were returned he hoped that they would serve the Lodge as zealously as they had served their King and Country’. After the formal meeting, the Lodge was closed and for the rest of the evening the Lodge members entertained the brethren of the Lodge who had served in the armed forces.
The Steward of the Lodge (Bro Robert Carver who was a Baker’s Manager) carried out the catering in a ‘praiseworthy manner’ and a number of ‘loyal and Masonic toasts were honoured’. It is reported that the speeches were of an ‘eloquent, interesting and touching order’. An inspiring and impressive item mentioned was the toast to ‘Our Fallen Brethren’, which was given in moving terms by Bro the Rev James Burgess and ‘in a dim light – the darkness made visible, the lament Lochaber No More was performed on the pipes by Bro A Low’. One can almost feel the emotion and atmosphere of that moment
It is further commented in the minutes that ‘the ex-service brethren themselves sustained the programme of vocal and instrumental music, which reflected the fact that considerable talent lay among their numbers and that the event was a pronounced success’.
14th March 1920 – At a special meeting of the Lodge held by permission of the P.G. Master for the Church Parade and Divine Service at the Beach Parish Church. The R.W.M. Bro J. Shaw presided over a large attendance which included deputations from Sister Lodges.
The Lodge was opened in the first degree and was then brought to refreshment. The brethren then left the Lodge and formed into procession in the customary Masonic order and processed to the Beach Parish Church where an impressive service was conducted by Bro the Rev James Burgess, assisted by Rev F.F. Best. During the service a solo was sung by Bro A.J. Forbes.
A collection taken on behalf of the Dundee Royal Infirmary amounted to £4 16s. (this was later augmented to £10 out of lodge funds). After the service the brethren returned to the Lodge and it was closed.
Another very poignant and special meeting was held on the 9th September 1920 when the Lodge held a special meeting for the unveiling of the memorial tablet to the Fallen Brethren.
The minutes say that the Master, Brother John Shaw presided over a large attendance of Broughty Castle Brethren and many other visiting brethren from local sister Lodges.
At the beginning of the meeting, he welcomed in the newly installed Provincial Grand Master, Bro Arthur J. Ramsay and the Provincial Grand chaplain Brother Rev D. W. Bruce, who was to conduct the religious part of the event. the ceremony of consecrating and unveiling the Memorial Stone began. It is recorded in the Minutes, that – “the service was of an inspiring and deeply impressive character, it began with the singing of a special hymn (the minutes do not say which hymn) which was followed by an eloquent prayer by the Provincial Chaplain Rev D. W. Bruce.” The Provincial Grand Master then delivered ‘an impressive address in which he commented on the noteworthy war record of Lodge Broughty Castle’,
“that by the erection of the memorial, which it was his sad duty to unveil, the brethren who had come back from the theatres of war, and those who were left behind, were perpetuating the names of those who had fallen in fighting in the cause of liberty, freedom and true brotherhood. To those who had lived through the awful experience of war, that tablet was not altogether necessary for they would ever cherish the sacrifice of their departed brethren but it was hoped that future generations of Freemasons looking upon the stone, would realise what it meant and would endeavour to emulate the mighty principles of humanity that actuated the fallen”.
The Provincial Grand Master in conclusion “trusted that the brethren in honouring the memory of the dead would not forget the duty to the living, more especially to the widows, children and dependants of the fallen, for in thus discharging that obligation they would be maintaining one of the best principles of the craft”. He then left the East and ‘travelled to the West’ to where the Memorial Stone had been erected and which was draped with the ‘Union Jack’. The Provincial Grand Master then removed the flag and unveiled the memorial tablet to the fallen. After a solemn pause “the requiem notes of the Last Post, were sounded by Brother J.A. Low, which broke the silence and the touching service was brought to a close by the singing of the hymn Lord while for all mankind we pray”. Again, from reading the minutes, one can feel the emotion and atmosphere that must have prevailed during that ceremony.
The Master thanked the Provincial Grand Master and all those who took part in the ceremony for the services they had given that evening. It was later agreed to supply a photograph of the memorial tablet to each of the families of the brethren named on the memorial.
The impact of the 2nd War was in many ways similar to the Great War period, similar problems and reports – However this time the Lodge premises were fully taken over by the War Department for military use and from October 1939 to Sept 1946 the Lodge met in Whytock’s Cafe in Gray Street, the cost was £6 per annum, and £5 – 4/- for storage along with £3 Feu Duty.
The Lodge once again sent Xmas parcels and postal orders to brethren serving in the forces, and also the Lodge agreed to pay their annual test fees to keep them in good standing. Like in the Great War one of our brethren was captured by the Germans when in 1942 Bro William Chaplain the Sword Bearer, became a P.O.W., and remained as such until his release in July 1945, once again the Lodge took up the duty of sending Red Cross parcels to him whilst in captivity,
This Lodge along with the other Dundee Lodges embarked on a Fund Raising drive to provide for ‘The Dundee Masonic Ambulance Wagon’ a vehicle costing £1500. This Ambulance was named the ‘Bonnie Dundee’ and became a permanent unit within the Dundee Branch of the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association for many years.
The ending of the War in Europe was marked at the first regular meeting on 13th Sept 1945 the RWM Murray Allan addressed the brethren in an inspiring manner, they went from labour to refreshment to celebrate the occasion, to drink a toast, they sang ‘O God our Help in Ages past’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, & ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, and the National Anthem, also the Flowers of the Forest was played on the pipes. The RWM also sent Air mail letters to brethren serving in the Far East on the occasion of the Victory over Japan.
On the 12th September 1946 the Lodge was back in the Temple. This was also the rededication ceremony of the Temple by the P.G. Master John M. Robb and the P.G. Chaplain Rev Harry Andrews, also the unveiling of the updated War Memorial with more names added, also the Welcome Home to the brethren who had served in the forces and they were all given Life Memberships, 55 in total. After the formal meeting an enjoyable evening was had with entertainment by ‘Jimmy Shand’s Broadcasting Band.’
The names of the fallen of the Second World War which were added to the Memorial stone were: -