Senior Grand Wardens

 

ST OSWALD Lodge has the unique distinction of having had three of its members promoted to the distinguished rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden – WBro George Albert Lambert Maude, WBro Harry Boscow and WBro Charles William Shand.

WBro George Maude was promoted to this high rank on the night he celebrated 50 years in Freemasonry. Initiated in the Lodge of Chivalry No 3974 in Liverpool, WBro Maude was senior steward in 1942 when he was called up for service in the RAF. When he was demobilised in 1946 he took up the office of assistant secretary which was a custom in the lodge –and a role which was to prepare him for unrivalled service to St Oswald Lodge.

He moved to Warrington in 1948 and after visiting St Oswald Lodge on a number of occasions became a joining member. He maintained his membership of Chivalry Lodge and went through the Chair of that lodge1954.

It was in 1957 that WBro Maude was asked if he would act on a temporary basis as secretary of St Oswald Lodge. He agreed to do so and only gave up the office in 1982. He was secretary for 25 years and at the time was the longest serving secretary in the Province of West Lancashire.

His meticulous attention to detail and the discharge of his secretarial duties ensured that his talents did not go unnoticed. He was the Warrington Group Representative on the Hamer Charity and also worked in a voluntary capacity in the office of the Warrington Masonic Hall Company every morning for many years.

WBro Maude’s first Provincial rank was Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1966 and he was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1974.

More than 100 Brethren were present to help WBro Maude celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Initiation on 9 January 1985. As Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Arthur Osborne, accepted the gavel and took the Chair of the lodge. He said it was the Provincial Grand Master’s wish to recognise the “outstanding work” of WBro Maude and promoted him to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, an honour which shocked and delighted a man who had a truly remarkable record of service.

The work of WBro Harry Boscow was not only well known and respected in Warrington and the Province of West Lancashire but also in many other Provinces. There was great delight when his efforts were rewarded with the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

A headmaster by profession, Harry Boscow was Initiated into St Oswald Lodge in December 1963. He had the honour of being our Worshipful Master during our golden jubilee celebrations in 1980 and served as secretary for several years. It was WBro Boscow who first started to publish our lodge newsletter Compass but it was for another of his talents that he became well known in Craft and many other degrees.

The extraordinary talent which Harry and his wife Dorrie developed in making lodge banners was much sought after.

After admiring the banners displayed in many lodges he asked his wife if she could make one for St Oswald Lodge. She attended needlework classes and then set about the task. However, she suffered an arm injury before the banner was completed and Harry stepped into the gap. He completed the beautiful banner which now can be seen proudly displayed behind the Worshipful Master’s Chair at every lodge meeting.

His beautiful workmanship was in constant demand. In all he completed nearly 70 banners and paid the cost of all materials himself. He only ever asked for a donation to charity on the Dedication of a banner and at the time of his death donations to the West Lancashire Alpass Fund for Widows had reached £17,500.

One of Dorrie’s favourite anecdotes was when Harry was making the Warrington Group Banner. He had completed most of the banner and was struggling to find material which would show the River Mersey flowing in the foreground. He took one look at the dress she was wearing and a few minutes later the two-tone blue used to make the dress had become the River Mersey.

Even during the time of the illness which resulted in his death WBro Boscow continued to work on his banners. WBro Charles Shand took the last banner made by WBro Boscow to Withy Lodge No 7733 in Leyland to be dedicated. His banners are to be seen not only in West Lancashire but London, Newton Abbot and throughout the neighbouring Province of Cheshire.

It was not only his skill with needle and thread that made WBro Boscow well known. He was a skilled craftsman in wood and metal and one of his productions, a beautiful sword, was presented to the West Lancashire Province of the Secret Monitor. He was also a skilled writer and penned a number of books about schools and churches. His History of Warrington was republished in 1997.

WBro Boscow had been made a Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works in 1986 and promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1989. Following the Installation of WBro Arthur Osborne in 1990, the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master occupied the Chair of St Oswald Lodge and asked for WBro Boscow to be placed before him. He spoke about the outstanding contribution made by WBro Boscow to Freemasonry in general and promoted him to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

WBro Boscow was a devoted and sincere Freemason and his many banners are a fitting memorial to a man of high ideals and great principle.

A whole book, let alone a section in this history, could be devoted to WBro Charles William Shand, OBE, BEM, the third member of St Oswald Lodge to become a Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

Born in Balmedie, just north of Aberdeen, Charles joined the Royal Marines and enjoyed a highly distinguished career which resulted in him retiring with the rank of Major.

He was Initiated into Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea, By Land) Lodge No 3609 in 1944 which met in Chatham in the Province of East Kent and had a membership of 213. Having paid his subscription in advance he was able to make use of the Sydney Masonic Club when his ship next visited Australia.

The end of the War saw Charles ashore in Hong Kong in a unit which was part of the Reoccupation Force which had gathered in Leyte in the Phillipines. One of the RAF men on board a troopship in the convoy was WBro Bill Cartwright (who had been Initiated into St Oswald Lodge). A few weeks later Charles received from an unknown source a summons to appear with other Masons from the British, American, Australian and Canadian Fleets at a hall in central Hong Kong to discuss the restoration of Masonry in the colony. Since all vestige of Freemasonry had been destroyed by the Japanese the Brethren agreed to work demonstration degrees of the several constitutions to which they belonged.

In March 1946 Charles, who then held the rank of sergeant, was commended by the Commander in Chief, Hong Kong, for good services during the operation of seizing Hong Kong and was awarded the British Empire Medal for valuable services during the war in the Far East.

He was often away at sea and this hindered his initial progress in Freemasonry but while he was based in Poole he was a regular visitor to the Lodge of Amity No 137 which has 18 meetings each year. When he went to Malta for 18 months he took advantage of visiting lodges there. On one occasion he was attending a lodge meeting while a riot was taking place outside which his comrades from the 45th Commando Royal Marines were sorting out. The lodge carried on without interruption. In 1967 Charles was promoted to the rank of Major and he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for outstanding efforts in his last two service appointments.

Charles became a founder of Cathedral Lodge No 7753 in Portsmouth in 1961 and became its Master in 1968. By this time, Charles, had become a resident of Warrington and travelled to Portsmouth for committee and lodge meetings. He was honoured by the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight in 1977 when he was made a Past Provincial Deputy Grand Sword Bearer.

During his early days in Warrington the nature of WBro Shand’s employment was such that he did not know from day to day where he would be working but by 1978 his job pattern had changed and St Oswald Lodge was delighted to welcome him as a Joining Member. Soon after joining he became lodge almoner and his work in the lodge and the Warrington Group was recognised in 1982 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in the Province of West Lancashire. He became Worshipful Master of St Oswald Lodge in 1986 and 1988 saw his promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

Charles worked hard and deserved the honours which came his way. In 1991 he became a founder of Academy Lodge No 9382 and was Master in 1992. He joined Navy Lodge No 2612 (London) in 1985 and Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters. He has been First Principal of Travellers’ Chapter No 4679 and received Provincial Honours in 1994. He is also very active in the Order of the Secret Monitor.

In the field of Masonic charity he has been very actively involved since 1979 and was not only the Group Representative at the West Lancashire Alpass Fund for Widows but was also on the committee of The West Lancashire Masonic Education Trust.

He was Captain of Stewards when the Warrington Group hosted the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in Blackpool in 1987 and also for the Provincial Grand Chapter Meeting at Preston in 1996, positions which carried a great deal of responsibility which was capably discharged.

Apart from his charitable work in general, many brethren and lodge widows had reason to thank Charles for his unstinting efforts on their behalf to obtain the grants which have made life so much better for them. As almoner he would maintain daily contact with the wives of brethren in hospital or seriously ill even telephoning from Bank Quay Station (prior to the days of mobile phones) before setting off for work in London.

At the age of 75 in 1993 WBro Shand was promoted to the high rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and the following year celebrated in St Oswald Lodge the 50th anniversary of his Initiation into Freemasonry. A special citation was presented to him by WBro John Stanley Eastham Holker, PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master to commemorate his “long and distinguished” career which had been outlined in Lodge.

On 18 May 2004 WBro Charles celebrated his 60th anniversary at a meeting of Academy Lodge. There were nearly 150 Freemasons at the special meeting and they had travelled from all parts of the country including representatives from Charles’s mother Lodge, Per Mar Per Terram, Cathedral Lodge and Navy Lodge.

WBro Alf Roughsedge, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, outlined Charles’s long and distinguished service to not only Craft Freemasonry but also in many other degrees. He presented Charles with a special certificate from the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Colin Penty Wright to mark his diamond jubilee. An inscribed decanter and glasses were presented to Charles on behalf of Academy Lodge by a Royal Marine Cadet and WBro Ray Baines, PAGDC, former group chairman, who had proposed the toast to Charles’s health, presented him with a special pin to mark his 60 years as a Freemason.

Charles was held in such high esteem by members of St Oswald Lodge that they conferred honorary membership on him.

During his service Charles for some years was Aide-de-camp to HRH Prince Philip. Among Charles’s possession found after his death in May 2006 at the age of 88 was a hand written letter from the King saying he was sorry that he would not be able to be present to invest him with his BEM. When Charles’s funeral took place at Warrington Parish Church it was a case of “standing room only” with brethren and former colleagues travelling from all parts of the country to pay their respects.

It is thought to be unique for three members of one Lodge to attain the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden but all three were unique men and well deserved the honour for the service they had given to Freemasonry.