The annual service of remembrance at the war memorial within Liverpool Masonic Hall is held following the correct time-honoured tradition of 11 o’clock on 11 November.
However, with the 11th day falling on the Saturday this year the service was brought forward to Friday. This years’ service was led as usual by Rev Wilfred Alexander, a Past Provincial Grand Chaplain of West Lancashire.
Rev Alexander commented on how humbled he felt every year to be standing next to the Liverpool Masonic Hall War Memorial which commemorates close on 200 Liverpool Freemasons who had given their all during the First World War.
Indeed, the number was many more than that shown, for amongst others a large number of mercantile marine were not shown. Add the numbers from World War Two and other conflicts and one starts to appreciate the sacrifice made by Liverpool Freemasons within the community to guarantee the freedom of this country.
The ceremony opened with a portion of scripture, followed by a reading taken from John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrims Progress’. Following the two minutes silence and the playing of ‘The Last Post’, James Kontzle, ex Royal Navy, and looking resplendent with his row of war medals, recited ‘The Exhortation’.
Wreath laying commenced with John Roberts, representing Liverpool Masonic Hall, placing his, followed by Mark Matthews for the Liverpool Group. Other wreaths were laid in respect of individual lodges, such as Blenheim Lodge No 7519 and Neptune Lodge No 1264, along with other Masonic based associations.
With Liverpool being the most important sea-port during both world wars, and with its men suppling a large percentage of crew members on most vessels, the sacrifice of the people of Merseyside can never be overstated. This led Sir Winston Churchill to say in May 1941 while visiting Liverpool after heavy German bombing: “I see the damage done by the enemy attacks, but I also see the spirit of an unconquered people.”
The service was completed by Wilfred Alexander leading all assembled in a prayer of commemoration.
Following the service, refreshments of tea or coffee was served along with a selection of sandwiches and cakes, courtesy of the staff of Liverpool Masonic Hall. While everyone was enjoying refreshments, the order of service was produced and distributed by members of the Merseyside Association for Masonic Research (MAMR) based at Liverpool Masonic Hall, 22 Hope Street, L1 9BY Liverpool.