The London Rifle Brigade was a volunteer unit of the British Army based in Bunhill Row, Finsbury, adjacent to the City of London. Formed in 1859 (with the Lodge being consecrated in 1882) they saw active service in both World Wars before being merged with a neighbouring unit, The Rangers, in 1950. Their lineage is continued today by ‘G’ Company, 7th Battalion The Rifles.
The site of The Rifle Brigade Memorial in the north east corner of Grosvenor Gardens, London was generously given to the Regiment by the Duke of Westminister on whose property it stands.
The Duke of Connaught as Colonel in Chief of the Rifle Brigade for 62 years (1880 – 1942), unveiled the memorial on 25 July 1925.
The memorial shows two figures of an Officer and Rifleman who fought in Spain and Portugal under the Duke of Wellington and Sir John Moore 200 years ago. Raised high above these is the figure of the indomitable Rifleman of 1914 – 1918.
On Remembrance Day members of The Rifle Brigade and their families, together with members of the London Rifle Brigade Lodge and Chapter No.1962, have gathered in prayer to pay homage and remember those who have fallen for their country and regiment.
Our Lodge and Chapter are dedicated to
from which the Lodge and Chapter was born.
Who gave it birth, and
from our ranks who have joined the Grand Lodge Above,
THOSE WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE
1914-1918 and 1939-1945
It was appreciated by our founders that the Colonel of London Rifle Brigade Regiment would have to give his consent before any steps could be taken to form a Lodge connection with the Regiment.
The Colonel in 1881 was Lieut.-Col. Haywood and, having been consulted, he accorded his sanction to the project on November 14th of that year.
On November 17th, 1881 a letter was circulated, convening a meeting on November 27th, so that on November 27th, 1881, the first Founders’ Meeting was held at Masons’ Hall Tavern, Masons’ Avenue, E.C. The outcome of this meeting was the Petition to Grand Lodge, which was sponsored by the Neptune Lodge, No. 22, with which Lodge one of our Founders was connected.
It is also established that Bro. Alderman and Sheriff Hanson played a prominent part in the early deliberations, apart from signing the Petition and otherwise excepting his influence to procure the Warrant. That his valuable help was appreciated is evidenced by the fact that he was made an Honorary Member of the Lodge in 1883.
The Warrant of London Rifle Brigade Lodge was granted and Consecrated in May, 1882.
It is especially worthy of notice that the warran
t of London Rifle Brigade Lodge No.1962 bears the actual signature of Albert Edward, G.M, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII.
The long history of London Rifle Brigade Lodge No.1962 is immortalised by its gallant members who fought in the First World War when in 1919, Grand Lodge decided, in response to a suggestion from the M.W. The Grand Master, H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, to embark on the building of a new headquarters for the English Craft as a memorial to the many brethren who had given their lives during the War. For this purpose a special committee was set up in 1920 and an appeal made to every member of the Constitution for contributions to the fund which, from the target set, came to be known as the Masonic Million Memorial Fund.
Contributions to this Fund were to be entirely voluntary and were to be recognised as Hall Stone Lodges and by special commemorative jewels known as the Hall Stone Jewels. 1,321 Lodges were thus qualified as Hall Stone Lodges and their names and numbers are inscribed on the walls and staircases leading to the memorial.
“The jewel is in the form of a cross, symbolising Sacrifice, with a perfect square at the four ends, on the left and right, squares being the dates 1914-1918, the years in which the supreme sacrifice was made. Between these is a winged figure of Peace presenting the representation of a Temple with special Masonic allusion in the Pillars, Porch and Steps. The medal is suspended by the Square and Compasses, attached to a ribband, the whole thus symbolising the Craft’s gift of a Temple in memory of those brethren who gave all for King and Country, Peace and Victory, Liberty and Brotherhood”.
London Rifle Brigade Lodge No.1962 proudly passes this jewel to every Master of the Lodge during his installation as we remember the brave men who lost their lives and those who gave so generously to help build the War Memorial of Freemasons Hall in London upon which the name of London Rifle Brigade Lodge No.1962 is forever embedded.
To ensure London Rifle Brigade is long remembered the Lodge also contributed to the restoration of the FOVANT Badges and their preservation.
The Fovant Badges are a set of regimental badges cut into a chalk hill, Fovant Down, near Fovant, in southwest Wiltshire, England. They are located between Salisbury and Shaftesbury and were created by soldiers garrisoned nearby, and waiting to go to France, during the First World War; the first in 1916. Nine of the original twenty remain, and are scheduled ancient monuments and recognised by the Imperial War Museum as war memorials.