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Charcters from Lodge 19

Click for Alistair Austin
Click for Davie Barclay

Tom Marshall RWM tells his own story….

 

Born in High Street Kirkcaldy. Youth uneventful. Left school at 14 and had a variety of jobs before being conscripted into REME for National Service. This should have been 18 months but the Korean war broke out and I was in 2 years qualifying as a vehicle mechanic.

 

I went to New Zealand in the 1950s on the liner “Captain Hobson” which took six and a half weeks to reach Wellington. It broke down 4 times! I liked New Zealand a lot and decided to stay there. However for nostalgic reasons I came back to Fife in the late 1950s for what was intended to be a brief visit during which time, to earn some money, I took a job at Stratheden Hospital- Cupar.
The ‘brief visit’ resulted in marriage, a change of plans, and 50 years later I am still in Cupar but no longer in the ‘asylum’ as it was known in those days. As a result of working in Stratheden and later in Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy I became a charge nurse and also became interested in teaching.
As I’d had a misspent youth, to obtain University qualifications I attended night school, in Cupar, whilst working at the hospital. I was seconded to the University of Edinburgh for 2 years and qualified as a registered nurse teacher and about the same time graduated with a BA degree from the Open University. I spent the rest of my working life within the Fife College of Nursing and Midwifery system which was amalgamated as a faculty in the 1980s into the University of Dundee.

tom on horseback

 

I was initiated into the Lodge in 1980 and have never regretted joining the Craft. My only regret is not joining it many years earlier when the fee was only a fiver!
I have a variety of interests one of which is Masonic Research. I have been an office bearer since 1981 always resisting the advice to go ‘progressive’ mainly because of other commitments, but also because of my belief that it is “better to travel hopefully than to arrive.”

As RWM I no longer believe that although a committee with a large number of Past Masters certainly prevents me from developing delusions of grandeur!

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Davie Barclay (age 84)
(Story by Dougie A)

Bro. David Barclay PM(2004-2006), was born on the 16th October 1922 at Dura Den, near Pitscottie, Cupar, Fife.  He attended Kemback Primary School followed by Bell Baxter High School. His first job was with his father, an operative stonemason, he was employed by the Earl of Crawford at Balcarres Estate, Colinsburgh. Davie later worked as a plasterer at St.Andrews.

At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Davie volunteered and was accepted into the Royal Navy.

He was initially engaged as a visual signalman using semaphore and Morse lights at Devonport and later transferred to Loch Ewe, which became the major northern base for the British fleet after the disastrous sinking of  HMS  Royal Oak at Scapa Flow in October 1939. Whilst serving at Loch Ewe a common visitor was HMS Hood, soon to be sunk by the German Pocket Battleship Bismark . At this time the sheltered, safe anchorage was used as an assembly point for convoys to Russia.

Davie's duty was to be in charge of the Commercial Anchorage Signal Station near Aultbea, Wester Ross. He was billeted beside, though he insists not with, some 8 Wrens (women naval staff). He can't recall if he was scared of them or the opposite! Their accommodation was on top of cliffs so regularly buffeted by strong winds, that it had to be secured by ropes.  He remained at that posting for 6 months then was sent to Boston, Massachussets in the USA on board the SS Acquitania , one of the crew taking control of a 'lease lend' newly built ship, which was to become HMS Lawford No . K 514.  On this ship he sailed to Southampton to join the 1944 Invasion Fleet.

Davie Barclay aged 17
 

 In early June 1944, the plans that had been finalised by General Montgomery in his train at Dalwhinnie, Inverness shire between 9th and13th May 1944, were put into effect. These were for the British Liberation Army , supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, to invade Nazi occupied Europe , and codenamed Operation Overlord. (Click for photo of commemorative plaque)

The duty of HMS Lawford was to sweep mines in the approaches to one of the five invasion sites- Juno Beach on the Normandy coast of France. This beach was to be the landing area for Canadian and British forces whose objective was to press inland to take the German occupied French  city of Caen. The military were to be supported by some fearsome warships; HMS Warspite and HMS Rodney; a capital battleship, chosen by Monty to use its 9 x 16 inch guns to destroy German defences. 

During this 'greatest invasion the world had ever seen', Davie's duties were to relay signals by Morse both by sound and visually, and by semaphore to other ships. On "D:Day + 2" he was resting in his bunk after 2 days and nights on deck. After a rude awakening, he suddenly found himself on deck watching the bows of ship numbered K514 sink beneath the waves.  He quickly recognised that number and realised he was in some difficulty!

HMS Lawford was a "Captain Class" 1700 ton frigate, launched in Boston, Mass. 13/8/1943.
She was to become an "HQ Ship" with additional staff and communication equipment as well as sundry modifications to accommodate the gear and extra crew.

Captained by AF Pugsley RN. She was sunk off Juno Beach 08/06/1944. Twenty four crew lost their lives.

HMS Lawford
 

HMS Lawford it was later found, had been sunk by a German 'wire guided missile' launched from 6 miles away; a new and deadly weapon.  Fortunately Davie was soon rescued by HMS Pique and taken back to Portsmouth, where he was granted 2 weeks 'survivor's leave'.

His war service ended with a trip on board the HMS Bulolo sailing to India to aid the invasion of Japanese held territories.

Masonic Career

Davie was initiated into Lodge #19 in 1978 after many years sojourning in England and Wales, always one step ahead of sundry "Wrens", and where he was always keen to assist the Scotch whisky export market. Davie is widely respected as a ritualist who has made a speciality of the tracing boards. Visiting brethren have travelled far to hear his inspiring lectures. He was installed into the Chair of King Solomon as RWM in 2004 and in that capacity served his Lodge with distinction until 2006. He continues to attend Lodge and Committee regularly as well as assisting in the hall set up.

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Bro. Alistair Austin (age 80)
(Story by Mike Ford)  

Bro Alistair is a jovial character who is a great servant of Lodge 19. He served his national service in the 2nd Batt. Duke of Wellington’s Regiment carrying out his duties in India. On being demobbed he then took up employment in the Merchant Navy with the Ben Line travelling to Hong Kong and all the exotic parts of the Far East.

Sergeant Austin 1969

Having returned from one of his exotic trips, he was taking a well earned rest in Derby where he had friends and relations. He fell into conversation with a local Police Constable and decided to join Derbyshire Police, as the Chief Constable was a Scot.

According to his source Alistair understood that a large proportion of the Force was also Scots therefore he would feel at home. Alistair did not let the grass grow under his feet for in less than 24 Hrs. he had been interviewed, accepted and sworn in as one of Derbyshire’s Chief Constable’s Finest. He did his basic training and served in the hard coal mining areas of Derbyshire before turning his talents to the HQ criminal investigation department.

His conscientious nature led to promotion as a uniform Sergeant in Glossop and during this time he became an assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and no doubt gave a lot of children encouragement. After 27 years loyal service Alistair retired from the Police Service.

He obtained employment as a security supervisor with the BBC in Manchester and after a month in the job was promoted as Assistant Manager for House and Office Services. He met and entertained many celebrities and politicians from Margaret Thatcher to all the soap stars.   Alistair then heard of a great job being offered by Tescos. The bold boy not being daunted, applied, and got the job as an area supervisor covering from Blackpool to Perth and Dundee. This suited Alistair as it took him nearer home to Scotland. The Job was very demanding on Alistair’s time so he gave up the Tesco appointment and started his own driving school in Pitlessie in Fife. Opportunity knocked again for Alistair as he obtained a part time job as a rent arrears officer for Fife County based in Cupar. He wasn’t long in this job when he was offered a full time post with the council, and after winding up his driving school business, he remained with them until his retirement some 12 years later.

During his time in Cupar he decided to become a freemason and was initiated on the 2nd February 1986. He progressed through the degrees and obtained his Mark on the 16th April 1986 He is always bemoaning the fact that he should have joined earlier in his life as he has enjoyed the experience. His strong sense of duty and service led him to be appointed to Almoner of the Lodge and with his vast experience of life was ideally suited to this post.   Bro Alistair gave 100% to the task and gave detailed and sympathetic reports to the Lodge about any brother who was unwell or who had, had an accident. He was regularly making home and hospital visits to sick brethren, taking with him good wishes, a small gift or fruit and a card. He carried out all these duties at his own expense and maintained meticulous records to ensure that he did not miss a visit. On more than one occasion he organised emergency transport to convey a brother to hospital for emergency treatment.
From June 2001 until November 2004 he looked after a residential caravan on behalf of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Linlithgowshire. The caravan, known as Cosmain Chalet, was situated at Clayton Caravan Park site St. Andrews for brethren who were in need of some respite or other care. In addition to the maintenance, Bro Alistair was also the local contact for the people who were on holiday there. These duties only came to an end when the chalet had to be relinquished due to financial constraints.
 
Bro Alistair would organise a rota of brethren to drive any wife or other relative, unable to drive, on hospital visits. He sadly represented the Lodge at many funerals of brethren and carried out these duties in a sympathetic way, in order not to intrude on the grief of the families. He would carry out follow up visits to express support of the lodge and give practical assistance if it was required or requested.
 
Alistair’s hobbies included the growing of Fuchsias and he became a founder member of the local Fuchsia Society. He took great delight in bringing to the notice of the brethren, any government publications that were appropriate for their welfare and health. He encouraged younger masons to learn from the work of the Almoner. He was passionate about the work of the Almoner and was a prime mover in trying to bring into publication a guide for potential almoners so that the expertise built up by Almoners throughout the Provincial Grand Lodge of Fife and Kinross was not lost. This work is still ongoing and although Alistair has now retired from the Almoner’s post and is not able to attend the Lodge as often as he would like, he will be remembered by the brethren, he helped over the years.
 
Lodge 19 owes a debt of gratitude to Alistair and as a small token of appreciation the Lodge presented him with a distinguished service certificate and gave him the accolade of allowing him to sit in the East of the Lodge when seats were available. Alistair will be an example to all young masons in the future.               

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