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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    Thoroughly with Enthusiasm: The Life of Sir Peter Gadsden
by Ina Taylor (Ellingham Press, £24, ISBN 0 9547560 0 2)
The book title is taken from Sir Peter’s coat of arms, and his remarkable life unfolds like a Hollywood film. A world expert in mineral sands, he did business in Red China during Mao’s time, went behind the Iron Curtain.
    An active Freemason, he was appointed by the UN to investigate mineral sands in Egypt and rode out to African mines astride a mule. A well-known City figure, he has been a Sheriff and Senior Alderman, and was Lord Mayor of London 1979-1980.
    A frequent visitor to Lake Havasu City in Arizona which has London Bridge as its centrepiece, he is a former chairman of the City of London Arizona Corporation.
    Well-known in Australia, Sir Peter chaired the Britain-Australia Bicentennial Committee to celebrate the first European settlement in Australia.
John Jackson

   Upon Their Lawful Occasions
by Vernon Upton (Troubadour Publishing, £14.99, ISBN 1 904744 25 7)

Freemason Vernon Upton has produced a superbly documented story of the harrowing and epic struggle of the British merchant fleet during World War Two, and is a superb work of reference.
    Two other Masons have helped with the book. Malcolm Thompson gives an account of his experiences when sunk in Empire Hope in the huge losses sustained by Malta convoy Pedestal.
    Captain Pierre Payne has allowed his daily log to be reproduced when he commanded the 37 survivors of British Chivalry, adrift for 37 days after being sunk by a Japanese submarine, in which 20 crew died either in the torpedo attack or the murderous machine gun attack on the open boats.
    The author was awarded the George Medal and the Lloyd’s War Medal for Bravery at Sea in 1943 following his experiences.
    Donations on sales will go to the 2010 Grand Charity Festival. £5 will go to the Charity for each book despatched to a Masonic reader from Vale Books and £3 for those sent from Troubadour Publishing. All orders should go through T. 029 2076 6062.
John Jackson


Symbol of Courage by Max Arthur (Sidgwick & Jackson, £25) was published in June 2004 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the VC. The first medal awarded was for action that took place in the Crimea on 21st June 1854.
   Thank you for agreeing an interview with MQ.

What prompted your recent book on the history of the Victoria Cross?
As a military historian I have always had an interest in the quality ofcourage and what makes anyone under the stress of battle behave heroically.
    In Symbol of Courage, I have detailed the actions of all 1,354 holders of the VC and they all make spellbinding reading. Men such as Norman Jackson, who clambered out on the wing of a bomber at 22,000 feet to try and extinguish an engine fire, and others who have charged single-handed at a machine gun or brought back a wounded man under fire. All have an amazing story.

What is your next book?
Forgotten Voices of the Second World War, a sequel to my last book Forgotten Voices of the Great War, which was in The Sunday Times top ten bestseller list for 16 weeks.

When did you decide that you wanted to become an author?
In 1983 I was working as an actor, but decided to find the survivors of the Manchester United Air Crash of 1958 to honour the 25th anniversary.

When writing a book, have you got a preferred place of work and a favoured writing routine?
In my study, which has lots of light but has a lively street life. I usually have breakfast and coffee and start work about 11am and then see how the day takes me.

How do you relax between projects?
I take holidays with lots of books and friends. I have just come back from a week in Nice, my first break for four years.

Who are your favourite authors?
Kipling, DH and TE Lawrence, and among contemporary writers, John Updike, and I am looking forward to Ruth Cowen’s book on the French Chef Alexis Soyer, due out next year.