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Memorial honours Freemasons awarded VCs

25 April 2017

One in 10 of all Victoria Cross medals awarded during The First World War were awarded to Freemasons and today the actions of these brothers in arms were honoured with a special memorial, unveiled by HRH The Duke of Kent.

The Duke is the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, and the event formed the highlight of the Grand Lodge's Tercentenary celebrations.

Six Before Breakfast

The 64 included three of the famous ‘Six Before Breakfast’ VCs awarded to members of the 1st Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers during their capture of ‘W Beach’ at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

The unimaginable courage of these and the other 61 Freemasons who were awarded Great War VCs is now permanently recognised by new commemorative stones that bear their names and which have been laid so all can see them outside the iconic Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden, London.

London memorial honours 64 Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross in First World War

The new memorial will act as a reminder of the principles of Freemasonry: Brotherly Love, Truth and Relief - The United Grand Lodge of England is one of the largest contributors to charitable causes in the UK after the National Lottery. These founding principles were demonstrated in great abundance by the 64 'Brothers in Arms' VC holder Freemasons who hailed from all four corners of the globe.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award within the UK honours system that recognises ‘conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy’. It can be awarded to anyone serving with the Armed Forces with no distinction of rank or class, a value shared by Freemasons who come from all backgrounds and walks of life.

HRH The Duke of Kent said: "Over the last three hundred years English Freemasonry has welcomed into membership many of those who served their country in the Armed Forces and the Volunteer Reserve. Some of them achieved great distinction but all of them served to protect their country and communities, particularly in times of war and conflict.

“It is fitting that this permanent memorial to those 64 gallant servicemen who were awarded the highest accolade should become part of Freemasons’ Hall, which itself is a permanent memorial to the over three thousand of our Brethren who gave their lives on active service during the First World War."

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