Rt Wor Bro John Dickson, Provincial Grand Master of Antrim decided to mark the Hundred’th Anniversary of The Great War by arranging to hold An Act of Remembrance, which was held after a meeting of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim on Monday the 24th November 2014. It was decided to arrange a small historical display and cup of tea in the Ground Floor Dining Areas, between the hours of 7.00 – 8.00pm, for wives and non Masonic visitors, whilst the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting was underway. Our P.G.L. Archivist, also arranged a short video presentation in the Dining Room, which was enjoyed by all present.
By 8.30pm Brethren and Guests were all in place in The Provincial Grand Lodge Room in Rosemary Street, and proceedings got underway with a comprehensive welcome to all present by Rt Wor Bro John Dickson P.G.M. Then a short parade took place from back to front of The Provincial Grand Lodge Room, as the Colour Party, brought in the Colours and took their rightful position, on the steps of the Dias.
Bro Billy Thompson, in the uniform of a First World War Squaddie, spent a few moments briefing us all on some of the facts and figures from the Great War. Some 200000 irishmen, north and south Answered the Call to serve King and Country in Foreign Fields. Amongst this number were some 25,000 Irish Volunteers who joined and served in the 10th and 16th Irish Divisions and some 26,000 Ulster Volunteers who served in the 36th Ulster Division. In terms od deaths and injuries in British and Commonwealth soldiers, some 880,000 paid the supreme price and a further 1.5 million volunteers came home suffering from a wide range of injuries. In the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a total of some 5,600 volunteers signed up to fight in The Great War, and of that number some 435 men were killed and a further 363 suffered injury. On the home front, here in The Province of Antrim, some 912 men volunteered for service, of which some 96 men made the supreme sacrifice. One final statistic to record, is that on the 1st July 1916, the First Day of The Battle of the Somme, the 36th Ulster Division suffered some 5104 Casulties, which included some 2069 men who died of their wounds. These Brethren, are the Men who gave their all, so that we can continue to enjoy all the freedoms that we still have today.
The Act of Remembrance continued with Prayers by The Provincial Grand Chaplin, the Hymn “The Lord’s My Shepherd was sung and a Scripture ( Psalm 46 ) was read. The exhortation – They Shall Grow not Old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the Sun and in the Morning We will remember them. Then Wor Bro Morrison played the Last Post.
After a Moment’s silence then Reveille was played, followed by a lament on the pipes played by Bro Wright.
The wreath of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim was then laid by one of our oldest members( in terms of years of service) Rt Wor Bro David McCauseland and by one of our newest members Bro D. Kelly. Rt Wor Bro Jim Patterson,spoke at length on The Spirit of Comradeship, relating examples
from Flanders in The Great War to Camp Bastion in Afganistan.
A further hymn – O God our Help in Ages Past was sung, then the Kohima Epitaph was read by Bro Kirk – When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today. The Chaplain receited the Benidiction and the evening was brought to a close with a verse of the National Anthem.