Bro. Chief Ordnance Artificer Charles Shave was initiated into White Ensign Lodge, Gillingham, Kent in 1953 whilst stationed in Royal Navy Barracks Chatham. Within days of his raising he was drafted to Sea and, even though a Chatham based rating, never returned to Chatham Barracks for any longer period than eighteen months for the rest of his service career. In consequence he did not progress through the offices of the Lodge.
On leaving the Royal Navy he moved to the Midlands but, rather than joining a Midlands Lodge, maintained his connection with his Mother Lodge. This did not of course prevent him from being a regular visitor to Midlands Lodges. In 1978, to repay their hospitality, he invited three ex matelots to go with him during the second weekend in December to the Installation Meeting of White Ensign, Gillingham. This was the start of a succession of years where the "trusty" four, under the guise of attending the Installation Meeting attended nostalgic weekends in Chatham.
Following the meeting in December 1984, during their journey by road back to Birmingham, Bro. Eric Crooks suggested that a Naval Lodge should be formed in the Midlands. In consequence it was decided to conduct a preliminary investigation to establish the viability of this idea. The three Midlands Provinces of Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire all indicated that they would be prepared to accept a Speciality or "Closed" Lodge.
In January 1985 13 Founders held a preliminary meeting and the decision was taken to form a Nautical Service Lodge. A resolution was passed that a Lodge be formed under the Banner of the Province of Worcestershire and that approaches should be made to Lechmere Volunteer Lodge No 1874, another Service Lodge and the Mother Lodge of Bro. Eric Crooks, to sponsor White Ensign as their Mother Lodge.
The Constitution of the Lodge states:
"Membership of the Lodge shall be open to Past and Present Officers, Ratings and Other Ranks who have served under the 'White Ensign' for a period of not less than 12 months, or such period as may be approved by the Lodge Committee, or unless discharged as an invalid, and their Lewis(es). Service Documents must be produced as proof of service by such Past Officers, Ratings and Other Ranks."
During the next 11 months 9 Founders Meetings were held at the Nautical Club, Bishop Street, Birmingham and, as the word ("Buzz") spread, former members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines made contact. In consequence of this some 27 Founding Members were present at the Consecration of White Ensign Lodge No. 9169 on the 5th December 1985.
The "Ship" was Launched, the Commissioning Crew on Board with a full complement of Officers. The following signal could be sent:
"The White Ensign Lodge is in Commission, has completed its Working Up period, has now joined the Craft Fleet and is, to all intent and purposes, Ready for Action."
The Lodge very quickly became "Ship shape" and its instant success can be measured by the fact that at the first seven meetings that took place in the Lodges first year, some 2003 Brethren sat down at the Festive Boards. Only one of those meetings had less than 100 Brethren in the Temple and the Charity Account for the first year was in excess of £2,500.
On Saturday 30th November the Members of the Society and their Ladies gathered at Stratford Oaks Golf Club for our Annual Presentation Evening hosted by the Society Captain Derek Richards.
The Trophy Table had its usual excellent array of Trophies for all our Matches, including our French Tour and the Golfer of the Year Award.
As always it was an excellent evening and we now look forward to the start of the new, our 21st, season which begins with our AGM and 1st Game at Ombersley Golf Club on Tuesday 10th March.
Visitors are always welcome, please contact our Secretary Martyn Davies : email@example.com
Yet another White Ensign Lodge success when the Lodge once again celebrated in its usual unique fashion the Great Victory at Trafalgar.
This year however as well as celebrating the courage and leadership of Admiral Viscount Nelson we also honoured a hero of our own, a former Honorary Member of the Lodge, PO Cox'n Tommy Gould, VC. W. Bro. Les Leek very kindly presented to the Lodge a framed copy of the London Gazette and Tommy's Medals to be retained by the Lodge and a smaller set which was auctioned by our "Tame" Auctioneer and raised £617.00. This has now been presented by the Purchaser to the Submarine Musueum at HMS Dolphin, Gosport.
Once again an excellent evening with a very good Initiation Ceremony and the usual fine entertainment on the Mess Deck.
On Saturday 6th December 2019 W. Bro. Sgt (S) Ian Fothergill, PPrSGW, LGR returned to the Chair of the Lodge having last been Installed into that Chair in December 1999 as the Millenium Master.
Following an excellent Ceremony, performed by W. Bro. RO1 Mike Harbon, the Officers were Invested and this was followed by the newly Installed WM presenting a cheque for £1,000, as a further contribution by the Lodge to the 2022 Festival Fund, to the Presiding Officer, W. Bro. Michael Dykes, Prov AGM, following which the Ships Company and those Taking Passage retired for the usual Tot prior to entering the Mess Deck for an excellent meal.
This year rather than presenting each Member present with a set of Lodge Cuff Links the WM provided all present with a Pen incorporating a Light. (Ideal for the 3rd Degree).
Tuesday 3rd December once again provided a night of sheer enjoyment with a strong nautical flavour both in the Temple and on the Mess Deck on completion.
Some 26 Companions were on board, including 18 Members of the Crew, and 8 Taking Passage, to celebrate the 20th Installation Convocation. Those on board included the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E. Comp. John M Phenix,(an Honorary Member), Acting 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp. Ian M Fothergill, PGStB, PPrGJ, LGCR, and the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp. Barry J Griffin, PGStB, all very ably escorted by E. Comp. Tim L Jones, PGStB the Provincial DC.
Unfortunately the MEZ Designate had just been discharged from Sick Bay following an emergency operation and will therefore not assume command until our June 2020 Convocation (04/06/2020). This left E. Comp. Frank Walters, PPrAGDC, on the bridge assisted by the Installation of E. Comp. Martin Green as H and the Induction of E. Comp. Len Venables, ProvGSwdB, as J.
Following the Convocation the ships company retired to the Mess Deck for an excellent meal and where the ships Welfare Officer managed to extract a total, including Gift Aid, of £136.25