Wednesday, 15th August, together with a goodly number of visiting shipmates, the Crew of the Fearnley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners gathered in the Mess Room; the ship being moored at Southwood. Their meetings are always preceded by the customary refuelling session of Gammon and the trimmings; this is also followed by a delicious selection of cakes, very well received.
Suitably replete the assembled company adjourned to the Fore deck and were addressed by the ‘Skipper’, Worshipful Brother Lance Milburn, Worshipful Commander. He advised that the voyage would be of a short duration and immediately dealt with the opening items of business which led to the main Agenda item that of a lecture entitled ‘Freemasons on the Moon’ given by W.Bro. Lance himself who has had a passion for these matters since the age of 11, yes a long time ago, 1968 to be precise.
This was a fascinating address, illustrated by film clips as it transpired that many of the Astronauts were Freemasons, notably Buzz Aldren who, whilst being the second man to walk on the Moon, was the first Freemason. Being a man of Faith, after problems with the landing of the lunar module piloted by Neil Armstrong, famously the ‘ Eagle has landed ‘ mission, thanked the Almighty for their deliverance as they only had a few seconds before the craft would have plunged to the surface, He also described the Moon as ‘Magnificent desolation’, I would have liked to have met him. This was an absorbing presentation, well worth seeing, bear it in mind for future meetings Brethren. Next on the list of business was the declaration of W.Bro. Lance as Commander Elect for the ensuing year, another year at the helm, with W.Bro. Alan Hines continuing to navigate the perilous waters of Treasurer.
I had intended to be at their previous meeting and therefore take this opportunity to record the Elevation of W.Bro. Martin Peter Longbottom, known to most of us as Son in Law of our dearly departed Past.P.G.M., R.W.Bro. Bram Morley . Having been admitted into the Lodge he was obligated by the W.C., W.Bro Lance The Acting Senior Deacon, Bro. John Fitzpatrick then instructed him on the method of advancement from West to East and the Secrets of the Degree were entrusted to him by W Bro. Richard Puttrell. Subsequently he was invested with the Badge and Jewel of the Order and the Working Tools of the Degree were named and explained by W Bro. John Madigan. Finally the Triangular Perambulations were explained by the W.C, and the Nine Steps by W Bro. Ian Pattinson, I have no doubt that Bram will have been watching with pleasure as the Fraternity was his favourite Order. When in conversation with Martin, I asked what had struck him most about the Fraternity; no doubt in his mind, the sincerity of the ceremony and the happy, cheerful disposition of all present, yes that is Royal Ark Mariner.
The business concluded, back to the Mess for a small libation and the Toasts which were short and swiftly delivered, that to the W.C. in the hands of W.Bro Ian who congratulated him on his work in the Temple. In response W,Bro. Lance thanked all for coming, a good attendance, and sat down. Toast to the visitors followed given by W Bro. John Denison who mused that time had inexorably moved to this moment and thanked W.Bro. Lance for his erudite explanation of how American Freemasonry had taken over the Moon. Responding, Brother Warren Marsden commented that the high tea was very enjoyable and a pleasant change from the norm. He agreed that the Lecture had been very interesting and informative and that all the visitors had enjoyed the warmth of the welcome and would surely come again.
Saluting the Quarter Deck upon departure, all safely navigated to their home Ports after another special evening of Royal Ark Mariner Masonry, Smile, Be happy.
Worshipful Brother Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.