freemasons and the army.

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freemasons and the army.

Postby jrdrury » 14 Feb 2018 00:15

Hi all

Just wondered if anyone had some suggested reading for free-masonry and the army in india in the 1860's

My GGGfather joined the masons at the Meerut lodge in 1865

He was a s a Colour Sergeant in the Rifle Brigade at the time.

I have a copy of the lodge member book with his listing, dates joined etc.

On the roll there are 24 other members of the rifle brigade who joined between 1864 and 1866, in Meerut, of various ranks form:

captain 1
lieutenant 4
2nd lieu 1
ensign 2
sgnt major 1
paymaster 1
col seg 6
segt 6
private 1
steward 1

Just wondered if there was any text of what they did, what the lodge life was/implicated/why they joined etc.... anything really as I know nothing at all about it.

I'v been in touch with the freemasons and no records survive of the lodge apart form the members log.

Any suggestions very much appreciated

Many thanks
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Re: freemasons and the army.

Postby Mark A. Reid » 14 Feb 2018 04:59

Hello James;

Sounds like a most interesting research topic. At the risk of telling you something obvious, Rudyard Kipling has scattered a number of references to this organisation throughout many of his short stories and poems. A friend who is a Freemason has told me that " The Man Who Would Be King, " both the story and the film, positively overflow with clues to the Craft and its rituals.

Good luck!

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Re: freemasons and the army.

Postby jf42 » 14 Feb 2018 12:02

The John Huston film of "The Man Who Would be King" starts with Brothers Dravot & Moynihan chancing on the movable property of a fellow member of the Craft, who turns out to be none other than a journalist called Kipling. Dealing with a fellow Brother, as they must, on the Square, they return the watch and Masonic emblem to him and that meeting sets the story in motion, with the theme of the Square and Compasses recurring both as a theme and key plot device.

Square & Compasses, and Eye of Providence .jpg
Square & Compasses, and Eye of Providence .jpg (78.04 KiB) Viewed 80 times

A marvellous fillum that bears more return viewings than 'Zulu.' Michael Caine's turn as a Drill Sergeant teaching a squad of 'benighted muckers' rifle drill -"Soldiering. The world's noblest profession. When we're done with you, you'll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men"- is worth the time alone (and arguably more convincing than his turn as a Lieutenant in HM 24th Regt)-

"You are going to become soldiers. A soldier does not think. He only obeys. Do you really think that if a soldier thought twice he'd give his life for queen and country? Not bloody likely."

My forefather (GGGGF) almost certainly benefited from membership of the Craft a couple of generations before yours, his military career ending with his promotion into a well-known Masonic regiment of Foot, the 46th. In the course of three years during the AWI, he rose from the supernumary rank of Volunteer, through Battalion Quartermaster and Ensign to Lieutenant in three separate regiments. Finally he then received command of a company in the 46th for minus one day, the regiment having been reduced the day before his commission as Captain was granted, after which he took half pay and went home. He was a worthy young man but it does help to have someone looking out for you. His likely patron came from a noble Scottish family well established in Freemasonry who happened to be his first commanding officer, and who then transferred him to his staff after he was appointed QMG.

The following may be of interest as background. Personally, I find that, in general, after two paragraphs on the subject, I don't have the foggiest what they're on about.

Historical Sketch of the Lodge of Antiquity
A. F. and A. M., No. 1, G.R.Q.

Formerly Lodge of Social and Military Virtues,
No. 227, I.C., Instituted March 4, 1752,
in the 46th British Regiment, now the 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. '

(and that's just the title...)

Pages 9-22 are merely a précis of regimental history in the C18th, references to Freemasonry resume on p.23, India p.29 - but it's a quick read. ... 1/mode/2up

More here: ... asons.html
Last edited by jf42 on 15 Feb 2018 00:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: freemasons and the army.

Postby jrdrury » 14 Feb 2018 23:22

thanks guys :-)
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Re: freemasons and the army.

Postby rclpillinger » 16 Feb 2018 14:06

These pictures from one of my Grandfather's albums from the 1880s. I am not sure where they were taken, but I suspect the first one comes from Lucknow where he is seated front row on the right. Membership probably did him no harm.
Masons 1.JPG
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Masons 2.JPG
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Masons 3.JPG
Masons 3.JPG (89.07 KiB) Viewed 38 times
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Re: freemasons and the army.

Postby jrdrury » 16 Feb 2018 14:24

wow amazing pictures :-)
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