Music in Lodges
I would like to add my support to George Holden's argument (MQ, Issue No. 10) for a more modern approach to music in Lodges. At installations I usually play my own pieces when the DC collects the appointee:
Senior Deacon: I love to go a wandering
Junior Deacon: I was born under a wandering star
Secretary: I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
Treasurer: Money is the root of all evil
DC: My way
Chaplain: Vicar of Bray
Almoner, O, dear, what can the matter be
Charity Steward: You've got to pick a pocket or two
Stewards: Food, glorious food
Ray Ellis, Leicester
The Almoner's job
I must respond to Norman Ballard's letter "Value of the Almoner" (MQ, Issue No. 10). A long time ago the Master placed the Almoner's collar around my neck. A daughter wrote to me saying her father had retired abroad. She paid him a visit and found him dressed in rags and in a very bad way and seemed penniless.
I phoned the contact at Grand Lodge and within hours the Grand Master of that country had himself been to see our Brother, confirmed he had Altzeimers and been conned out of his money. Within days he was back in the UK and placed in a Masonic home.
A widow approached us, distresses as she had little money, a leaking roof, a jungle for a garden and her car had broken down. I contacted a brother with the DHSS and both social services and I made visits.
She was not receiving her full entitlement. The Lodge repaired her roof and garden - and also mended the car. There were four more cases that year and I had to appoint another Brother to help out.
A widow was bankrupt and her manager had run off with the money. The brethren sorted that out, too. Now retired and living in Devon, I miss the job. To the prospective Almoner I would say that I thought the job would be easy. It was not - but it was worthwhile.
Dave Trueman, Plympton, Devon
With reference to the letter from Ian Harris (MQ, Issue No. 10), I would add a footnote. Wellington's decision to stand and fight when and where he did was largely because he had been told he could rely on Blücher's support.
Blücher said he would send one corps immediately, to be followed by another. In the event, he turned up with his entire army, so as it was "a damned close-run thing" perhaps that was just as well.
Ernest Gardner, Ilkley, West Yorkshire
William Joyce and Masonry
Professor Andrew Prescott's letter on William Joyce and his comments on Freemasonry (MQ, Issue No. 10), requires further comment. The Nazi attitude to English Freemasonry changed for obvious reasons between 1936 and 1940.
Joyce's remarks, made in 1936, were reflected in 1938, when Germany annexed Austria. In the booklet Mozart Lodge No. 6997, by Fred Dunston, it states:
"In March 1938 the Austrian government…found itself under enormous pressure. Looking desperately for support they thought of the Freemasons … Freemasons should give help to the referendum, which was called to decide the fate of Austria.
"Being under tremendous pressure the Freemasons gave the assistance they had been asked for. Consequently it was argued by certain Grand Lodges that the Austrian Freemasons had been engaged in "politics" which was in contravention of an important Masonic principle."
Freemasonry was prohibited in Austria on 12 March 1938 - the first day of the Anschluss.
Kurt Metzer, Harrow, Middlesex