Officers jewels made from metal salvaged from a bombed bus by W Bro J R Skipper whilst a prisoner of war in Changi
However, Freemasonry continued during the war Grand
Lodge continued to meet, by and large Lodge and Chapter
meetings continued and new Lodges were established
over 350 being formed between 1943 and 1945.
Some of these Lodges were founded as a Masonic home
for those involved in the war effort. For example, Sword
and Trowel Lodge No. 5847 was formed in 1942 by members
of the 54th (Surrey) Battalion of the Home Guard the Local
Defence Volunteers which was formed early in 1940, and by
that summer over one million men had joined. The Venture
Adventure Lodge No. 6022 was formed in 1944 for those
connected with the Air Training Corps.
At the beginning of the war, the Grand Master had taken
up an attachment to the intelligence division of the Admiralty
with the rank of Captain (later Rear-Admiral). In April 1940
he transferred to the Royal Air Force, renouncing his honorary
rank of Air Vice-Marshal on the grounds that it would
make him senior to many men of greater experience. He was
appointed Group Captain in the Training Command and
was given responsibility for supervising welfare work at the
larger air force stations, a job that involved considerable travel
within the country and overseas.
On 25 August 1942, shortly after being promoted Air
Commodore, he set out to inspect the RAF establishments
in Iceland. His plane crashed at the Eagles Rock, near
Dunbeath in Caithness, and all on board were killed. The
Acting Grand Master, the Earl of Harewood, at the September
meeting of Grand Lodge, reported this tragic news.
By the outbreak of war, Britain had already become
a safe haven for Jewish and other refugees from Europe,
especially Germany. As the war progressed, troops from
other countries Poland, Czechoslovakia and France
based themselves in Britain.
They were joined by soldiers from Commonwealth
countries, and American troops also arrived following the
entry of the US into the war. Grand Lodge faced a number
of challenges in dealing with this situation. The first that
needed to be tackled by late 1939 was the position of brethren
of enemy nationality or birth who were members of English
Lodges. In the 19141918 War, it had been decided that
brethren of enemy birth should not attend any Masonic meeting
while the war continued. This policy seems to have been
readily accepted by both Lodges and the brethren affected.