Aboard the ‘Flagship’

Flag officers, Post Captains and other Ranks, gathered at the ‘Flagship’, Elmete Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 111, Tuesday, 16 June at 6.30 p.m. to witness a double elevation, a rare event these days.

Why the ‘Flagship’?, because it is where the Admiral of our Fleet, the Provincial Grand Master,  Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. has his Flag, viz he is a member and Past Commander of the Lodge. After the Lodge was opened in due form the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Paul Leach and the usual formalities despatched, all remembered departed Brethren.

This has been a very sad start to 2015 with the death in February of one of the stalwarts, and long time Scribe, of the Lodge, Worshipful Brother Donald Blackburn. Rear Admiral, Worshipful Brother Brian Emmett then spoke movingly about W.Bro. Blackburn and all he had done for the Lodge. Worshipful Brother J. Trevor Bolton then reminded us all of Brother Gordon Bishop who, due to ill health, had not been able to attend for some time. However he had been a very keen member of the Lodge although not wishing to progress up the ladder, both these Brethren will be sorely missed. Regrettably another Member has also passed to the Grand Lodge above and will be remembered at their next meeting. Worshipful Brother Eric Frazier was a highly respected Past Master and notable for the fact that he advanced a certain Brother the name of James Steggles, fortunate for Mark Masonry in West Yorkshire that was.

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The ballot having proved in favour, the candidates, Brother Geoffrey Wood, one time Inland Revenue Inspector!, and Brother Allan Neil Gaunt, ex Major in the Catering Corps, were then admitted  to the Poop Deck, not the fo’c’sle, and elevated to the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner under the expert guidance of W.Bro. Paul F. Leach. It is appropriate to make mention of the presentation of the Signs and Secrets, Working Tools and History which were most competently conveyed Worshipful Brother Ian Nicol and Worshipful Brother Alex Steele, both past Captains of the Frigate, Elmete Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.111.


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The remaining agenda items dealt with, all adjourned to the Galley for appropriate refreshment and libation. The newly advanced Brethren were both spoken of in glowing terms their respective Proposers and encouraged to read their newly acquired Books of Ritual as they may be required to perform at the next meeting. During the response to his Toast, W.Bro. Paul commented that he was delighted to see his good friend, and friend also to many of us, Worshipful Brother David Fisher in attendance. As many of us are aware W, Bro. David has been battling illness for some time and our thoughts and prayers are with David, Diane and their family. However, as befits an angler of repute, W. Bro. David is not one to give in and the fight will continue and we are all behind him and his Family.

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The response to the toast to the visitors, ably dealt with the Junior Warden, Brother Denis Parfitt, was left to Worshipful Brother Derek Cope who, having congratulated the candidates then launched into a convoluted explanation of his journey to the Lodge. As I was the driver, here is the abridged version. We set of from the home of Worshipful Brother Tony Parker at 4.45, ample time to reach Elmete 6.45, agreed we take the Otley road out of Leeds. This I duly did, eventually saying to my Colleagues, we must be near Nursery Lane, when  I was advised W. Bro. Derek, the one with a Summons, that Elmete were now based at another Port, Westbourne House. Frantic change of direction and time now a critical factor, whilst doing my best impression of Lewis Hamilton, all within the legal limits you understand, we arrived at the Masonic Hall at 6.28, whoopee. Eventually the door was opened and we learned that the Lodge actually started at 6.30! Who had the Summons?

I am confident that Bro’s Geoff wood and Neil Gaunt will have fond memories of the evening, and so will I, thoroughly enjoyed myself as did all the visitors.

Remember, smile, be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.

W.Bro. D. Smith P.G.S.D., P.Prov.G.J.W.