Norfolk Freemasons Sign Up To Armed Forces Covenant

Norfolk Freemasons have signed the Armed Forces Covenant during a ceremony on
1st November, held at the special Remembrance meeting of Naval and Military Lodge in Norwich.
The signing took place after the traditional laying of wreaths and playing of the Last Post.
The Covenant was signed by the Head of Norfolk Freemasons, Stephen Allen, and Group Captain
Barry Dale representing the Ministry of Defence. Also present was Lt Col Stephen Braden who
served with the Royal Engineers and gave a talk about the Armed Forces Covenant and the
benefits it gives to the armed forces community.
Freemasons in Norfolk have joined twenty three other Masonic Provinces signing the Covenant.
The partnership aims to support members of the Armed Forces community and ensure they have
the same access to government as well as commercial services and products as any other citizen.
By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Norfolk will be able to
demonstrate its support to members of the Armed Forces in a number of areas, including
education, family wellbeing, getting a home, starting a new career, access to healthcare, financial
assistance and discounted services.

Freemasonry has a strong Armed Forces background through its military lodges. This partnership
therefore represents an important step in further supporting both active and retired military
personnel. Freemasonry in Norfolk has two military lodges – Naval and Military Lodge which was
consecrated in 1913, and Norfolk Royal Air Force Lodge which was formed in 1994. Both have
members who have served with, or a connection to, the armed forces.
Two members of Norfolk lodges have received the Victoria Cross. Sergeant Henry Cator and
Revd. William Addison both received the award in 1917. There are also several other Norfolk
soldiers who received the VC as members of lodges in other parts of the country.
Head of Norfolk Freemasons, Stephen Allen said, “It is a great pleasure for me to sign the Armed
Forces Covenant on behalf of the Freemasons of Norfolk. Our lodges, through the centuries, have
always had a close relationship with those who serve in the armed forces, indeed our national
headquarters in Great Queens Street, London was conceived and built as a lasting memorial to
peace and the thousands of Freemasons who lost their lives in the Great War. At the end of the
Second World War, a great many sailors, soldiers and airmen, seeking to maintain contact with
their former colleagues and recapture the camaraderie they had known in the forces, turned to
Freemasonry. Hundreds of new lodges, each with military connections were formed across the
country. In Norfolk, this Naval and Military Lodge and our Norfolk Royal Air Force Lodge help
perpetuate that tradition.”

Group Captain Barry Dale, Commandant, 2 Flying Training School Royal Air Force, Syerston, signing
of behalf of the Ministry of Defence, said: “As someone who has served in the Royal Air Force and
having been a Freemason for over thirty years, I am delighted to represent the Ministry of Defence
in the signing of this Armed Forces Covenant today. This year we celebrate the Covenant’s tenth
anniversary, and I offer our sincere thanks to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Norfolk for this
tangible demonstration of support to members of the armed forces family”.
Stephen Allen continued, “Servicemen across the generations have found that our values of
Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity are a natural fit with their own and many ex-servicemen
comment that the camaraderie they find in a lodge is second only to that they have experienced
whilst serving. It is also true to say that the experiences and friendships that they form help a
much wider cross-section of society better understand the military, its ethos and its purpose. I am
delighted this evening to have formally recognised, in this document, the relationship that has
always existed between our great institutions.
Signing of the Armed Forces Covenant by Provinces is being led by UGLE and taken up by many Provinces around the country. For more information about the support it offers those who serve, or who have served, in the armed forces, including their families, please visit the website https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/