PFL 9393

Pegasus Forces Lodge 9393

Patron of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

Pegasus Forces Lodge was Consecrated on 5th December 1990
at Edward Street Temple, Aldershot. Hampshire.

The Founders - Consecration
The Period 2010 to date
Family Tree - In Conclusion - Military Units
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Pre Consecration

The Parachute Regiment Lodge No. 9315 was consecrated at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London in June 1989 and several ex-Airborne soldiers from the Aldershot and Farnborough area attended the ceremony. They decided not to become involved because it was not a “closed” Lodge and showed little interest in recruiting outside of the Metropolis. However, the idea of a Lodge solely for Airborne Soldiers took root in their minds.
Around that time a discussion took place in the bar of the Masonic Centre in Mole Road, Sindlesham, Berkshire between W.Bros Robbie Parsons and Bill Ayling as to how Robbie could fulfil his dream of forming such a Lodge. Bro. Bill was a Past Master of Charles Nichol Lodge No. 7318 and had acted as Bro. Robbie’s Masonic Mentor since his initiation in Aldworth Lodge No. 5191 (the Reading Bluecoat School Lodge). Clearly Robbie was persuaded to take the idea further and at a meeting of the Aldershot Branch of the Parachute Regiment Association raised the matter with some of the Members that he knew to be Masons – namely Bros Vic Carmichael, Roy Cole, Ted Dent, Albert Gould and George Stow.

So the seed was sown and news of a prospective Airborne Lodge swiftly circulated around the local Lodges, neighbouring Provinces and also to former Regimental comrades. Fellow enthusiasts were soon identified in the persons of W.Bros Ernie Caley and Brian Pugsley and Bro. Charles Bailey. Along with Robbie Parsons they formed a “Founders’ Formation Group”, which met at Sindlesham and agreed the basis of the prospective Lodge’s raison d’être prior to calling a meeting of the other potential Founders. Bro. Ernie volunteered to be the Founding Secretary and wrote to all the Airborne Masons, who had expressed an interest in the project – the rest is history!
As Master of the sponsoring Lodge, the Author gave the “notice of motion” to sign the Petition three months before the first Founder’s meeting was actually held, so it is clear that the members of the Founders’ Formation Group were sure from an early stage that they would get the necessary support.

The first meeting of the Founders was held at 19.30 hrs on 6th February 1990 in the Masonic Hall, Edward Street, Aldershot, with 20 Brethren in attendance. The prospective Founders introduced themselves and signed the attendance register. Clearly the groundwork done by the Founders’ Formation Group had been succesful as the following decisions were swiftly agreed: -

1. The Lodge would be called “Pegasus Forces Lodge”.
2. The Lodge would be formed “primarily for the convenience of serving and ex-Members of the Airborne Forces and those closely connected with them”.

3. #The Pegasus crest would be used: -

Pegasus crest

4. The Lodge motto would be “Superbe Serviunt” (“Proudly we serve”).
5. The Lodge would use Emulation Ritual.
6. Aldershot Army and Navy Lodge No. 1971 would be asked to act as the Sponsor Lodge.
7. The Master-designate would be: - W.Bro. Robin Parsons. The Treasurer-designate would be: - W.Bro. Ron Follett P.Pr.S.G.D. The Secretary-designate would be: - W.Bro. Ernie Caley P.Pr.G.SuptWks, L.G.R. The Master-designate announced that he would appoint the following as the principal Officers: - As Senior Warden: - W.Bro. James Ackerman. As Junior Warden: - Bro. Roy Dachtler. As Director of Ceremonies: - W.Bro. Brian Pugsley P.Pr.J.G.D. (Middlesex).
8. The Lodge would meet at the Masonic Hall, Edward Street, Aldershot, on the fourth Wednesday in February (Installation), April, September and November.
9. The Founders’ fee would be £95. The Annual subscription would be £30. The Initiation fee would be £65. The Joining and Re-Joining fees would be £20. The Dining fee would be £7.
10. The Lodge Committee would consist of all Past Masters of and in the Lodge, plus the two Wardens and Deacons.
11. Candidates for Initiation and potential Joining Members would be interviewed by a Committee consisting of the W.M., S.W., J.W., Treasurer and Secretary. In the event of any of the above not being available a Past Master would stand-in and be entitled to vote.
12. The Airborne Forces tie would be worn at meetings.

#In Greek mythology the winged white stallion (Pegasus) was captured by Bellerophon and ridden by him in the defeat of the Chimera.  It was chosen by Lt Gen. Sir Frederick (Boy) Browning G.C.V.O., K.B.E., D.S.O., L/G.Gds as the Divisional badge of all the Regiments and Corps that took to the air.  It is thought that his wife, the Novelist Daphne du Maurier, actually suggested the design to him.

A committee was appointed consisting of the proposed W.M., S.W., J.W. and D.C. to produce details of the style of Emulation working to be adopted and how proceedings at the Festive Board should be arranged. The meeting closed at 21.00 hrs and the Founders enjoyed a curry supper provided free of charge by the Aldershot Caterer.
A second meeting of the Founders was held at the Masonic Centre, Alexandra Road, Farnborough on 28th May. The Committee set up to look into the detail of the new Lodge’s working produced a most detailed three page foolscap document on the subject. Although the Secretary-designate was not originally appointed to sit on the Committee, he in fact signed the document, along with the Master-designate, on the 15th April. It certainly bore the imprint of Bro Ernie’s single-mindedness. The decision to sing the first and third verses of the National Anthem at the end of each meeting was suggested because of the line in verse three that states that: "All men should brothers be". The Committee also ensured that the Founders would have control of the Lodge for the foreseeable future by writing into the rules of procedure that a two thirds majority of the Founders would be required to change any aspect of the Lodge’s working until less than three of them survived. Thereafter, the Lodge Committee would take over the responsibility. This document and the draft By-laws were adopted unanimously by the Founders. A booklet was later produced containing the By-laws and Founders’ Rules.

The Secretary announced that the Prayer of Petition for the new Lodge would be signed in Aldershot Army and Navy Lodge on 29th May 1990 and that all Founders were invited to attend the meeting in order to witness this important event. Wednesday 5th December had been agreed as the date for the Consecration of the Lodge.
The Petition was duly signed by the newly installed Master of Aldershot Army and Navy Lodge, W.Bro. Maj. Dougie Covill M.B.E., D.C.M. (XthHus) on the said date.

A third meeting of the Founders was held at Farnborough on 10th October and the detailed programme for the Consecration was discussed. Initial rehearsals were arranged for 23rd October and 27th November. A final rehearsal would be held at 10.30 hrs on the morning of the Consecration, followed by lunch at 12.30 hrs and the ceremony would commence at 14.30 hrs. It was agreed that regular meetings would be tyled at 17.00 hrs and that tea would be provided from 16.00 hrs for those travelling long distances – a tradition that survives to this day. The D.C. would aim to commence dinner by 19.30 hrs so that Brethren would have plenty of time to socialise afterwards.
Throughout this period W.Bro. Bertie Fordham had been working tirelessly behind the scenes creating many articles of Lodge furniture adorned with the Pegasus emblem.

Before the Consecration W.Bro. Ernie Caley persuaded the Provincial Grand Secretary, #W.Bro. Nigel Buckingham P.A.G.D.C. to agree that Members should be allowed to wear the maroon Airborne Forces tie depicting the Pegasus and that the following variations to the ritual when the Master processed in and out of the Lodge could be adopted as follows: -

#As a National Serviceman W.Bro. Nigel had served as a Sergeant Dispenser in 23 P.F.A. during the Suez crisis.

a) Opening – The D.C. would call the Brethren to order and then announce: “The Worshipful Master will emplane”.

b) Closing – Once the outgoing procession had been formed the D.C. would announce: “Red on, Inner Guard to the door”. The Inner Guard would then open the Temple doors and the D.C. would announce: “Green on, go”.
One additional detail not listed in the Founders’ rules was introduced by W.Bro. Eric Wright and has become a tradition at 21.00 hrs at the Festive Board when Fallen Comrades are remembered. A gong, hand-fashioned from a brass shell-case is sounded nine times and the words of the funeral oration delivered by the Greek Philosopher Pericles to the Athenians after they had beaten the Spartans are quoted: -

“Monuments may rise and tablets be set up in their own land, but on far off shores there is an abiding memorial that no pen or chisel has traced. It is graven, not on stone or brass, but on the living heart of humanity. Take these men as your example. Like them remember that prosperity can only be for the free; that freedom is the sure possession of those alone, who have the courage to defend it”.

These words are not delivered as a toast and no fire is given, but the Brethren are asked to stand for a moment in memory of “Fallen Comrades”. This is followed by the #Airborne Forces Collect : -
"May the defence of the Most High be above and beneath, around and within us, in our going out and in our coming in, in our rising up and in our going down, through all our days and all our nights, until dawn when the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings for the peoples of the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

#The Collect was written by the Senior Chaplain of the 1st Airborne Division in 1941, Padre John Hodgins and links men of all arms, who wear the red beret. It is based on the Book of Malachi – Chapter 4, Verse 2.

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