ISSUE 11, October 2004
Elias Ashmole: Masonic Icon
Travel: The magical beauty of Scotland
Honoured: By the Glovers' livery company
The Theatre: Strong links between Craft and stage
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Mauritius: Fascinating Masonic history
Rochester Cathedral: Kent Masons' magnificent fresco
Clerkenwell: 25 years of Masonry
  Bravery award: One Mason's heroism is honoured
Christmas shopping: What to buy in London's West End
High flight: Helping terminally ill children
Jewels of the Craft: An essential part of Masonry
Library & Museum: John Pine exhibition and Library & Museum Trust report
Masonic education: Events for Masons; Quatuor Coronati Lodge; Mentors for new Masons
Charities: Masons provide emergency aid for flood victims; Charity news; Demelza gives voice
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Bravery Award

How a quiet drive with his wife ended with Frank Barker receiving a heroism award from Prince Philip is recalled by John Jackson.


The Mason who tackled a gunman

A have-a-go motorist who drove his car at an armed raider who then fired through his windscreen while his wife was in the front passenger seat, is a Mason who showed an exemplary example of community spirit.
    As a result, former Bow Street policeman Frank Barker received the Binney Award – given for outstanding bravery – from Prince Philip in 1986.
    A Security Express van was parked outside a bank in City Road, London, and Frank Barker saw that a gunman was forcing a security guard to lie flat on the pavement.
    Brandishing a gun, the raider had ordered the crew member in the back of the security van to hand over the cash bag. But he had reckoned without Frank Barker, who put his foot down on the accelerator and drove his car at the bandit.
    The gunman fired, smashing his windscreen, but he hit the bandit at about 40mph, knocking him several feet in the air. However, he fled on the back of an accomplice’s motorcycle, leaving the firearm behind and fleeing empty handed.
    Frank’s car hit the security van, but his quick thinking had prevented a £50,000 robbery, the incident being all over within a few seconds.
    A Past Master of Viking Lodge No. 5014, which meets at St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex, he was initiated in Fraternal Unity Lodge No. 7330, London, in 1973.
    The Binney Memorial Medal is awarded for the bravest action in support of law and order performed for the year in the areas controlled by the Metropolitan or City of London police by any person not a member of a police force.
    The award was instituted in 1947 as a memorial to Captain Ralph Binney RN, who lost his life in 1944 when he made a gallant and single-handed attempt to prevent the escape of ‘smash and grab’ thieves in the City of London.
    Captain Binney’s friends in the Royal Navy wanted to commemorate his bravery in some way and so they subscribed to a Trust Fund to found a medal to be awarded annually.
    The awards, presented at Goldsmiths’ Hall, are made by a selection committee comprising the Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, who is chairman, the Commissioners of the Metropolitan and City police, the Chief of Fleet Support and the Clerk of the Goldsmith’ Company.

Top left: Frank Barker’s exploit hit the headlines

Left: Frank receives the Binney Award from Prince Philip

Right: Frank Barker in his Metropolitan Police days