The Duke of Kent unveiled a memorial to the large number of Freemasons who received Victoria Crosses during The First World War.
Prince Edward, as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, was there to official unveil the memorial, which sits outside the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden. The event formed the highlight of the Grand Lodge’s 300th anniversary celebrations.
One in 10 of the men honoured with the award during the conflict were Freemasons. These 64 men include three of the famous ‘Six VCs Before Breakfast’ awarded to members of the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers during their capture of ‘W’ Beach at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
The stone memorial bears their names.
Members of the group, plus military representatives and Chelsea Pensioners attended the event, to commemorate those who fought so valiantly to earn the medal, which is given ‘for valour’. It is the highest such award in the UK and is distinctive with its purple ribbon.
The Freemasons are one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. Its roots lie in the traditions and ceremonies of the medieval stonemasons, and today aims to make ‘good men better’.