The Great War, or First World War, 1914-18, had a profound effect not only in respect of the directions and loss of life for those in the various armies but equally profoundedly affected either directly or consquentially civilian life in the home countries. During the conflict this had taken the form of considerable changes in society primarily in the realms of employment, either directly as many people were reqired to produce munitions etc for the armies or indirectly as thousands of young men were drafted into the forces thus removing them from their previous occupations. A consequnce of both of these was to change many employment patterns in particular by the recruitment of females into occupations previoulsy only undertaken by men. Whilst most of the physical activty and fighting took place on the continent or at sea, home life in the UK was considerably affected.
Peace in 1918 however did not and could not make a return to pre-war conditions possible, much as there was an element in society which atempted to do just that. Besides the changes in society, in partiuclar the role and place of females, which the War had accelerated, the years in the Trenches had a profound effect on those involved, even if they were those who were lucky enough to return, particulary if uninjured. For besides the millions who remained buried in Fance and Belgium, tens of thousands more returned with either physical or mental injury much of which was life changing. All returning with some memories of sights which were to a greater or lesser extent distressing.
A positive aspect of life in the forces was however the development of bonds of friendship and fellowship. The adversity of often highly uncomfortably living conditions in close proximity to fellow men with the daily risk to life and potential dependance on each other for your survival created bonds which survived return to "normality". Thus friendships forged in the heat of battle now sort a new expression. Freemasonry offered a ready made solution to much of this desire with the aspect of "brotherly love" in particualr being a strong motive.
It is not surprising then that following 1918 there was a boom in the membership of the organisation and the formation of Lodges during the 1920's. A simlar boom occuring after WWII after 1946.
Perhaps even less unsurprising is that where there were men who had affiations thorugh their place of residence, profesion, or education they would wish to intensify these bonds through Freemasonry. Thus in partiucalr the concept of "School" lodges gained appeal. It is in this context that we may now view the foundation of our own Lodge, and note in partiucalr the wartime background of some of those founders.
The concept of a Kingswood School Lodge had occupied the minds of a small group of Masonic Old Boys of the School since the end of the 1914-1918 War. In 1920 they prepared to launch a Lodge open to Old Boys and Masters of Kingswood School.
Three brethren in particular pursued this objective with such vigour that it must be to them that most of the credit is due.
- W. Addington Willis, a distinguished Barrister, later to become a Kings Counsel and a Knight;
- J.A. Jutsum of the Midland Bank, a Grand Officer and a distinguished member of several lodges
- The Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins, C.M.G., C.B.E., Deputy Chaplain General to the Forces, Honorary Padre of TocH, and for many years a Governor of Kingswood School.
- The Rev. Albert E. Raw, O.B.E., likewise a Chaplain to the Forces and an equally well known visitor to the School, whose devotion to the detail of the clerical work involved in the formation of a new Lodge was exemplary.
- J.W. Readier
- E.G. Wansbrough
- Lt-Col. T.P. Wansbrough, O.B.E.
The decisive meeting of this Committee was held on May 18th, 1920. This settled the qualifications for membership; the name of the proposed Lodge; dates of its regular meetings; and that its working should be Emulation. It also finalised the special By-Laws; suggested the names of the first officers, and commenced to draft the form of the Petition to Grand Lodge
Further meetings were held on June 1st and June 15th 1920, then on 10th July 1920 a letter was sent to the Grand Secretary from Bro. Rev. A.E. Raw acting as Secretary giving the reasons behind the proposed formation of hte Lodge.
The Petition for the Warrant of Constitution of the Kingswood School Lodge recommending W.Bro. W. Addington Willis as the first Master, Bro. Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins as the first Senior Warden and Bro. Rev. Albert Edward Raw as the first Junior Warden and bearing the signatures of all thirteen Founders was dated 11th October 1920, and was signed by the Master and Wardens of the Anglo-Colonial Lodge No 3175. They were Francis C. Polden, W.M.; H. Boocock, S.W. and Owen F. Watkins J.W. respectively.
The final founders meeting was held on 25th October 1920.
For a List of Founders and further information click Kingswood School Lodge - Founders here.