Masonry And The First World War – the Prestonian Lecture given at the 100th meeting of Temple of Athene 9541 looks back at Masonry during the Great War.


Freemasons in regalia and ladies sitting in the Temple waiting for the talk to commence

Members and guests preparing for W Bro. Mike Karn’s Prestonian Lecture on ‘Freemasonry and the Great War’

100th Meeting

Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, the research lodge of the Province of Middlesex, celebrated its 100th meeting in style with an official visit from W. Bro. Robert Rough APGM, followed by the Prestonian Lecture for 2019, ‘Freemasonry and the Great War’, delivered by W. Bro. Michael Karn PAGStdB.

Consecrated in June 1994, the objectives of Temple of Athene Lodge are to study and research Freemasonry and its historical connections and to provide a forum for Masonic debate and discussion.

The Lodge meets four times each year with the minimum of Masonic ritual and is open to any Master Mason who wishes to visit.

Temple of Athene Lodge also provides lecturers for other Lodges within the Province of Middlesex and elsewhere.

Under the direction of Worshipful Master W. Bro. Brian Fisher, the 100th meeting was very well attended and saw the admittance of W .Bro. David Allan and W. Bro. Ron Hart as members.

Indeed, as Founder of the Lodge, and its current Secretary, W. Bro. Ron Selby put it, ‘We had more current and past APGMs at the meeting than I’ve had hot dinners !‘.

Prestonian Lecture

At the conclusion of the meeting W. Bro Mike Karn delivered the 2019 Prestonian Lecture.

W.Bro. Michael Karn standing by his lectern giving his talk on 'Freemasons and the Great War'

W.Bro. Michael Karn delivers the 2019 Prestonian Lecture – ‘Freemasons and the Great War’

For those who are unaware of its significance, the Prestonian Lecture is the only lecture given under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Each year Provinces are asked to submit possible lecturers and following an extensive selection process an appointment is made and invested in the December Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge.

This highly prestigious honour was initiated in 1820 and named after William Preston, who on his death bequeathed £300 to promote Masonic instruction.

W. Bro. Mike’s topic of Freemasonry during the Great War resulted from extensive research into the Minutes of Lodge Meetings and provided a fascinating insight into the lives and times of Masons during that turbulent period of history.

Without divulging too much of the content – Masons should make an effort to attend future deliveries of the lecture – the research reveals details of how the First World War impacted on Masonic life.

It also shows the fortitude of Masons at that time – one Lodge in particular, faced with difficulty sourcing its favourite champagne for the Festive Board, refused to compromise and instead cut back its number of Meetings!

Sing Song !

The Lecture, where the Ladies also attended, was followed by a First World War sing song with a number of melodies that remain well known to this day, including ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile’.

An uplifting way to end a memorable celebration of Temple of Athene’s first 100 meetings.

Also read: – Middlesex Freemason appointed Grand Lodge Prestonian Lecturer for 2019


Four distinguished Grand Officer visitors who attended the lecture

In attendance to celebrate Temple Of Athene’s 100th meeting were (l to r) E Comp. Chris Weeks PAGDC, APGP; W Bro. Anthony Jones, PProvGSec; R W Bro. Roger Croome QPM, PProProvGM; W. Bro. Robert Rough, PAGDC APGM


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