On 13 November, Remembrance Sunday, Valentine (Val) Edwards marked the occasion of his platinum anniversary, 70 years in Freemasonry. Members of his family joined with representatives from the Lodge of Great Endeavour No 3597, along with Warrington and District Group officials, to celebrate the special occasion at Summerville Nursing Home, Grappenhall, Warrington.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton was also in attendance and presented Val with a certificate acknowledging his long service in the Craft. All present enjoyed chatting to Val about his time in the Royal Navy and his Masonic career.
Val was born in Warrington on 14 February 1919 and he enlisted with the Royal Navy in Liverpool, at the age of 18, in 1937. During the next 12 years he saw active service, which saw him rising to a leading signalman and then yeoman of signals. In 1938 Val joined HMS Galatea and was initiated into war conditions during the Spanish Civil War, protecting merchant navy vessels.
In 1940 he transferred to HMS Warspite and experienced action with the Italian Fleet at Cape Calabria where his ship was badly damaged. Val joined HMS Duke of York in 1942 escorting convoys to Russia. The Duke of York was a participant in the battle that sunk the German Battle Cruiser Scharnhorst on Boxing Day 1943. Val also took part in the North Africa landings and continued as part of the British Fleet which entered Tokyo harbour at the Japanese surrender.
Earlier this year he received the Medal of Ushakov from a Russian delegation at Warrington Town Hall. This medal was awarded for courage and bravery during the defence of the Soviet Union in naval theatres. The certificate is signed by Dr A Yakovenko the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK which states that: The Artic Convoys were brilliant and one of the toughest operations in the allied effort to bring about victory.
On leaving the Royal Navy, Val started work at the Greenall Whitley Brewery, retiring in 1984 after having completed 35 years service.
Val was initiated into Freemasonry in the Royal Naval Lodge No 3337 on 13 November 1946 at the Masonic Hall, St Auburn, Davenport. He became a joining member of the Lodge of Rectitude No 3597 in Warrington (now amalgamated to form Lodge of Great Endeavour) on 9 May 1960 and was WM in 1975. Val was charity steward of that lodge for 20 years. In December 1973, he was exalted into Gilbert Greenall Chapter No 1250, resigning because of work commitments in 1982.
Val was appointed by the Province to PPrAGDC in 1985 and was promoted to PPrGSupWks in 1992. Following his golden anniversary (50 years) in Freemasonry, he was promoted again to the rank of PPrJGW in 2005.