60 years celebration in the Mark Degree
On the evening of Thursday 3 November 2011 the Right Worshipful Brother James Bennett Truswell, Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire, assisted by V. W. Bro. Brian Addy P.P.Deputy G.M., presented W. Bro. Alex Muirhead Caldwell with his 60 year certificates from both the Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge.
The event took place at the Beaumont Mark Lodge No.1523 at Kirkburton and was well supported with a great attendance which included 16 acting Provincial Officers.
W. Bro. Alex was born in Glasgow in 1926. On leaving school at the age of 17, in 1943, he joined the RAF. Posted to Bomber Command he became a Tail Gunner in Lancaster bombers. Later he joined 617 Dam Buster Squadron. This was after the famous raid but, as W. Bro Alex remarked, “they were still talking about it”. During the war he completed 32 missions over enemy territory for which he received the Distinguished Flying Medal. At the end of the war he obtained a short service commission and was involved with the Berlin airlift until its conclusion in 1949.
He met his wife, Irene, on his return to Glasgow and they have been married for 59 years. They have a son and a daughter and twin grandchildren.
Alex’s career in Freemasonry started in 1950 when he was initiated in the Glasgow Star Lodge No. 219 (becoming Master in 1957). He subsequently joined the Mark Degree in that Lodge the following year.
His profession in the tobacco industry brought him to Huddersfield in 1960 where he joined Unity Craft Lodge No. 3930 and Truth Mark Lodge No. 137, later joining Brooke Lodge. He was a founder member of the Beaumont Mark Lodge No.1523 in 1979 and was its first Senior Warden becoming the Master in 1980.
In August 1996 Alex was out engaged in his passion for golf at Woodsome Hall Golf Club with a friend, Gordon Hirst. They reached the 5th tee when a freak storm swept across Huddersfield. Taking shelter under an umbrella near a tree, they were struck by a bolt of lightning. The lightening hit the umbrella and the two golf trolleys which were wrecked. Both men were knocked unconscious but escaped with slight burns and bruising.
Alex received Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank in 2005, and received Mark Grand Lodge honours in 2009 when he became Past Assistant Grand Standard Bearer.
At the festive board the brethren presented W. Bro. Alex with framed, mounted and inscribed photographs of his visit this summer to RAF Coningsby with W. Bro. Kenneth Gilling, the current Worshipful Master of Beaumont Mark Lodge. There they had been allowed full access to the last flying Lancaster Bomber. This had been a very memorable and emotional visit, but a wonderful day.