A short history of the Memorial Stone dedicated to the members of St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 310 (42nd Regt. or Royal Highlanders).

 

 

 

Freemasonry in Gibraltar has always been closely linked with Military or Travelling Lodges attached to the numerous Military Regiments regularly posted on the Rock. Indeed the first purely Military Lodge of which we know was established in Gibraltar in 1728 and called the Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem No. 51 E.C and afterwards affectionately known as ‘Mother Lodge’, however this Lodge although Military in nature remained a stationary lodge.

 

The first "Traveling" or "Ambulatory" Warrant was issued by the G.L. of Ireland in 1732 to the first British Foot Regiment (Royal Scots). By 1734 four others had been issued, again by the G.L. of Ireland. It was not until 1743 that the G.L. of Scotland adopted the practice and at the recommendation of the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock issued a Warrant to some ‘sergeants and sentinels of the 55th Foot Regiment’ (the Border Regiment). By 1813 there were 141 English Military Lodges (116 under the Antients and 25 under the Moderns) no less than 190 were granted by the G.L. of Ireland whilst only 21 such warrants were ever issued by the G.L. of Scotland. Scottish Military Lodges were therefore rare even to a busy Garrison as that of Gibraltar. One such Scottish Lodge has however indelibly left its mark in the history of Scottish Masonry in Gibraltar – St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 310 held by members of the 42nd Regiment or Royal Highlanders.

 

The 42nd Regiment of Foot

The 42nd Regiment remains one of the Scottish Regiment’s with the longest and most illustrious military history in the British Army. The first companies were raised in 1725 to watch the rebellious Scottish highlands and keep the peace, and the Regiment itself was formed 1739-40. It became known as the Black Watch because of the dark colours of the Regimental tartan.

In 1798 the Regiment took part in the capture of Menorca, remaining there until August 1800 when they were shipped to Gibraltar. The stay was short-lived for Regiment was one of the five British Army Regiments hastily despatched from Gibraltar to Egypt to thwart Napoleon’s plans in the region. The defending French forces were overwhelmingly defeated at the battle of Alexandria on 21st March, a hard fought action during which the regiment distinguished itself despite losing 64 men with another 261 wounded.  As a result of this campaign the Regiment won the honour of bearing the Sphinx with the word EGYPT as a badge on the Regimental Colours.

 

The 42nd was again in Gibraltar in 1805 whilst the newly raised 2nd Battalion of the Royal Highlanders was despatched to the Iberian Peninsular to distinguish itself in a number of important battles including Busaco (1810), Fuentes d'Onorg (1811) and Ciudad Rodrigo (1812).

 

St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 310

It was during the Peninsular Campaign that certain military brethren petitioned the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a warrant to be attached to the 42nd Regiment of Foot or Royal Highlanders. The Grand Lodge of Scotland as we already know had traditionally been extremely reluctant to issue ambulatory warrants to army regiments but nevertheless consented to this particular request. Why? Possibly, and we can only speculate, because on the one hand the 42nd was fighting in and pushing back French forces in Spain and Grand Lodge felt obliged to boost the morale of Scottish Freemasons in the filed with a warrant to hold ledges whilst on campaign. A second reason was perhaps due to the fact that the 42nd was a Scottish Regiment with the great majority of its soldiers being Scottish who were or expressed a desire to join a Scottish Lodge. That Freemasonry was popular in the regiment is not in question for the 42nd already had two Irish Lodges attached to it, No. 195 I.C. founded way back in 1749 and Hibernia Lodge No. 42 which had been recently consecrated in 1809. [1] Note that the relatively low number corresponding to the more junior Irish Lodge was due to an Irish tradition of recognising their Lodges ‘in many cases exclusively by their numbers, which, whenever practicable, were made – by exchanging the ones previously held – to correspond with those of the regiments whereunto such Lodges were attached.’[2] In this case the 42nd Regiment of Foot. It was the consecration of a second Irish Lodge in the regiments that most probably prompted Scottish brethren in the ranks to lobby Grand Lodge for a Scottish warrant for their regiments. This request was finally granted in 1811. So popular was the constituting of this Scottish Lodge in the regiments that no less than 89 members were enrolled within nine months of its constitution. [3]

The New Lodge was named St. Andrew’s Lodge which not only represents the patron saint of Scotland but is also depicted in the very centre of the regimental crest, henceforth the Lodge name. The Lodge appears to have gained immense popularity among the members of the Black Watch Regiment and it is recorded that no less than fifty entrants were admitted in the four months immediately following the battle of Waterloo.[4] By the same token, Lodge No. 195 of the Irish Constitution which had been established with the 42nd since 1849 returned its warrant that very same year.

After Waterloo the 42nd like all other British Regiments had a break from active service. Peace allowed the regiment to be divided into six service and four depot companies, and it was the service companies received orders to proceed to the celebrated fortress of Gibraltar. The first companies arrived in October 1825 and the last division arrived in Gibraltar by mid December.

The Black Watch in Gibraltar

On arrival at Gibraltar, the regiment occupied Windmill-hill Barracks, and was afterwards removed to Rosia, where it was stationed during the year 1827.

In February 1828, the regiment took possession of a wing of the Grand Casemates. In that same year an epidemic of yellow fever prevailed in the garrison resulting in the death of 1667 civilians.[5] The regiment which also suffered severely was forced to encamp on the neutral ground. Its loss from the fever was, Ensign Charles Stewart, 6 sergeants, and 53 rank and file. The Lodge of St. Andrew’s No. 310 was also severely affected by the epidemic and fourteen members of the Lodge succumbed to the fever. The surviving brethren commemorated the loss of their brethren by commissioning a Memorial Stone which was erected at the North Front Cemetery. The inscription of the Stone reads as follows:

SACRED

TO THE MEMORY OF

 

Pte       And Clark                    RS & M           who died          19th Sept Age 24

Sgt       Richard Blackler                do                    do               20th Sept  do  39

            Louis Christie               Inhabitant              do               28th Sept  do  28

Sgt       Peter Grant                   42nd Regt               do               29th Sept  do  35

            Dun McTavish       do                    do               2nd  Oct   do   34

            Robert Freyers             Inhabitant        

Sgt       Edw Lawler                  94th Regt               do               7th   Oct  do   24

Pte       Thos Bunter                  RS & M                do               11th Oct  do   23

Sgt       Jas Johnston                 42nd Regt               do               18th Oct  do   33

Pte       John Warrick                     do                    do               20th Oct  do   37

Sgt       Thos Menton                     do                    do               28th Oct  do   23

Pte       Thos Young                  94th Regt               do               2nd  Nov do   27

            Edw David                   43rd Regt               do               2nd  Nov do   30

Sgt       John Gough                  42nd Regt               do               20th Nov do   27

 

Of the EPIDEMIC fever which raged in GIBRALTAR from the 5th Sept until the 30th Dec AD 1828. And the era of MASONRY 5828(Except one of Consumption)

 

On the reverse side of the Memorial we can observe the following inscription:

 

IS ERECTED

 

BY THE MEMBERS OF SAINT ANDREWS LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED

MASONS HOLDING OF THE GRAND LODGE OF

 

SCOTLAND

 

AND HELD IN HIS BRITANIC MAJESTY’S 42ND REGIMENT OR ROYAL

HIGHLANDERS AS A TESTIMONY OF RESPECT AND REGARD TO THE MEMORY

OF FOURTEEN MEMBERS OF THE ABOVE

 

LODGE

 

PARTED A WHILE FROM THE COMPANIONS OF THEIR TOIL, THEY REST HERE

AWAITING THE SUMMONS TO THE GRAND LODGE ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS.

 

 

I will not bore you too much with what may be gleaned from the above historical evidence, suffice to say that the Lodge of St. Andrew’s was not restricted to members of the 42nd Regiment only, nor where civilians prohibited from membership either, It is extremely interesting to not however that the average age of the members of this Lodge fell at around twenty-nine years of age which reflects of a very young vibrant Lodge. The dates of death also reveal the swift but devastating nature of the epidemic over a three month period.

The end of Lodge St. Andrew’s No. 310

In 1832, the regiment received orders to leave Gibraltar and proceed to Malta, embarking on the 13th January, when the governor, Sir William Houston, expressed in garrison offers “that the 42nd Royal Highlanders had embarked in a manner fully supporting their high character for discipline and good conduct, and he regretted their departure.” The much-admired character of the regiment was equally mirrored in the conduct of the brethren of both its attached lodges. This was evidenced by the proceedings at the centenary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, 1836 – when the members of Lodges ‘Hibernia’ and ‘St. Andrew’s’, in the 42nd Foot (or Black watch), attracted admiration, alike for their martial appearance and Masonic behaviour.[6]

Unfortunately for the 42nd Regiment the days of their military Lodges were by now numbered. Military Lodges throughout the British Army was by now well in decline and even discouraged by the Commanding Officers. Hibernia Lodge No. 42 returned its warrant in 1840. Lodge St. Andrew’s survived for a further eight years but eventually was also resigned to extinction. The 42nd were stationed in Bermuda at the time.

The restoration of the Memorial Stone

In 1927 members of the District Grand Lodge of the Western Mediterranean (SC) having found that the original memorial having fallen into decay erected a replica to preserve the everlasting memory of the departed brethren depicted in the memorial stone. Funds were raised by local brethren and assisted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. A ceremony for the unveiling of the new Memorial Stone was held on Sunday, 13th March 1927 attended by the Right Worshipful District Grand Master Bro. Captain The Hon. Maxwell Anderson, C.B.E., K.C., Royal Navy (Ret.) and assisted by Bro. The Very Rev. J. Cropper, P.S.D.G.M., Dean of Gibraltar and the rest of the District Grand Officers and brethren.

Thanks to the actions of the District Grand Lodge not only the memory of the fourteen members of Lodge St. Andrew have been preserved, but a very important and visible symbol of our Masonic heritage has been restored. It is now our duty to continue this tradition of preserving our Masonic heritage for the future.

Before I finish this lecture may I take the opportunity of thanking your Worshipful Master, Bro. Stanley Olivero for inviting me to the St. Bernard’s Lodge of Research No. 1817. I hope this lecture will have been of interest to you all and I would like a copy of this lecture to be attached to the minutes for future reference for your members.

View photo

WBro. K. Sheriff, P.M. Inhabitant’s Lodge No. 153 E.C.

3rd April 2003


 

[1] R.F. Gould, ‘The History of Freemasonry’, Vol.VI, p.402

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] H.W. Howes, ‘The Gibraltarian’, p. 88

 

[6] R.F. Gould, ‘The History of Freemasonry’, Vol. VI, p. 399-400