At the meeting in the town hall, in the presence of some
200 Brethren, headed by the Provincial Grand Master,
the Earl of Stradbroke, and Sir Charles Dalrymple MP,
Past Grand Master of Scotland and many more prominent
Masons, Lord Kitchener graciously accepted honorary membership of the Lodge and the jewel, ending his speech:
I thank you all very sincerely for this jewel, which I shall certainly
wear - probably in India shortly, when I go there. I thank you all
very much for the gift.
In October 1902, Kitchener was posted to India as commander-in-chief of the army, where he remained from 1902
till 1909 and was almost immediately appointed District Grand
Master of the Punjab. He began to practise what was by now a
familiar pattern of active interest in Masonic affairs. In 1903 he
joined Himalayan Brotherhood Lodge No. 459 in Simla.
In the same year he became the senior Founder Member
of Kitchener Lodge No. 2998, the first of the many Lodges
to which he was to give his name. In 1907 he attended a
meeting of the namesake of his mother Lodge, Concordia No.
3102, in Calcutta and assisted at the initiation, passing
and raising on the same day of His Majesty Habibullah Khan,
the Amir of Afghanistan.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Kitchener
was called home and the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith
appointed him Secretary of State for War, the first time
a military man had held the post. In spring 1916, Asquith posted
Kitchener to Russia in an attempt to encourage the country to maintain the fight against Germany.
On 5 June, HMS Hampshire, on which Kitchener was sailing to Russia,
struck a mine off the Orkneys. The British
cruiser sank and Kitchener lost his life. It was a sad end to an
amazing life. In a tribute in the Quarterly Communication
of the United Grand Lodge of England on 7 June 1916,
Deputy Grand Master Sir Thomas Halsey stated:
Brethren, we were all taken aback yesterday when the news arrived
of the loss of our distinguished Brother and that great Englishman,
Lord Kitchener... as Englishmen we owe him a debt of gratitude
which can never be repaid; and England will hold his name in honour
from now onwards, after all of us have passed away, into the remotest
generations in the future history of our Country... Lord Kitchener
sleeps in the proudest grave in which he could have been laid: in the
sea, in one of our English ships, surrounded and supported by those
who have so nobly upheld the name of England... Grand Lodge
expresses its profound sorrow at the tragic and untimely death of
RW Bro Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Aspall...
The Craft mourns the loss of a distinguished Masonic administrator...
(and) will ever hold in grateful regard and admiring reverence
the fearless soldier and tireless organiser...
Fitting words to a great soldier and a great Freemason.
Kendall George, Freemasonry during the Anglo-Boer War 18991902
Khambatta Roeinton, The District Grand Lodge of the Punjab, AQC Vol 103 (1990)
Reader W J, At Duty's Call A Study in Obsolete Patriotism, (1988), Manchester University Press
Rodgers R A, History of British Union Lodge no 114, Ipswich 17621962
Stevenson F Drane, Freemasonry in Egypt: Part I, AQC 81 (1968) and Part II, AQC, Vol 82 (1969)
A memorial card on Kitchener's death|
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