A precis of Lodge History

Our History.

Founded in 1876

The Lodge was founded in 1876. The Lodge Charter was signed by HRH the Prince of Wales and is Home dated 1st February 1896 with the consecration at the Criterian Restaurant on the 9th April 1896.

There were 12 Petitioners, all were Royal Engineers, ranked from Lieut. Colonel to C.S.M, the Founders were from the following lodges:- No. 20 Royal Kent Lodge of Antiquity, No.153 Inhabitants (Gibraltar), No. 184 Gillingham Lodge of Benevolence, No. 723 Panmure (Aldershot), No 1174 Pentangle (Kent), No1331 Aldershot Camp, No 1424 Brownrigg Lodge of Unity (Kent), No 2466 Cherrybles (London).

The Lodge was named the ”Engineer Lodge” and was a military one but not in the sense of the Ambulatory type which moved with the Regiment with the warrant normally issued to the Colonel of the unit. It was primarily for members of the Corps of Royal Engineers. The By-laws stated that it was “desirable” that no one except members of the Corps, not below the rank of Sergeant should be proposed. This held up until the petitions for the Royal Engineers (Chatham) Lodge and the Aldershot Royal Engineers Lodge which reversed the membership trend.

Application was made by the Lodge in 1915 for permission to change the name to (The) Royal Engineers Lodge, which was formally ratified 0n 12th April 1915. The Corps of Royal Engineers was in being since 1787 and the banner shows the Royal Coat of Arms, bracketed by the initials R.E. The R E crest shows the connection between the Engineers and the Artillery indicating the traditional responsibility of the Sappers to site and construct gun emplacements.

An Office of Ordnance, was established about the time of the battle of Crecy in 1346, which controlled Sappers, Miners, Engineers and Gunners. They were together until the Engineers and Gunners were separated on the 26th May 1716. When the Royal Regiment of Artillery was formed and the Corps of Engineers was established, becoming the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1787.

In 1856 the Corps of Royal Engineers combined with the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners forming the Royal Engineers. The Royal Engineers Lodge is not a military Lodge in the sense that Masonic Historians attach to that term, though the lodge was formed by “Royal Engineers” for soldiers in the Corps and approaches as near as makes no difference, to the original concept of Regimental Lodges, save that it was stationary, so was the “Gibraltar Lodge” established there in 1728.

In 1931 the Lodge By-laws were amended to indicate that although it was desirous that membership should be restricted to Royal Engineers of all ranks, past and present, including R E units of Special and Supplementary Reserve, Territorial army, Militia and Volunteers. In special cases, the sons of members of the lodge, could be proposed and other candidates who are not qualified under the above named conditions may also be considered but it was not until 1955 that lodge was fully open to consider those other than Royal Engineers.

This did not restore the membership to the halcyon levels of the 250’s in the early twenties. The membership profile expanded to include ex-service personnel from all the Services from submariners to aviators. The non military members were predominantly professional engineers from Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Power Generation, Police, Fire Prevention and Health and Safety fields as is much the case at the present time. 5 members of the “London” lodge led the petition for the Aldershot Royal Engineers No. 4178 (founded July 1920. Hampshire & I of W). and 15 members of the “London” lodge led the petition for the Royal Engineers (Chatham) No. 4465 (founded June 1922. Kent). Although the London lodge instigated the petitions, it was considered reasonable and courteous to nominate a Provincial Lodge to make the petition via the respective Provincial Grand Master. This was not the case for Perigrinus No. 6501 (founded September 1947), being a London Lodge.