60 Year Certificate for Gerald
On 23rd April at the St Luke’s meeting at Bath V W Bro. Ray Guthrie presented a 60 year Certificate to W Bro. Gerald Bryant, the longest serving member of St Luke’s Lodge.
Gerald is 95 years old having been born in Wiltshire in 1923. He was educated at Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton, Hampshire from 1935 until 1939 when, following the outbreak of World War 2 he returned home to help his widowed Mother run the village shop and Post Office. He was called up in 1941, on his 18th Birthday, and trained as a Wireless Operator before being posted to the Salisbury area where the 6th Airborne Division was being formed. He took part in Operation Varsity (the Rhine Crossing) where his glider was forced to land in an orchard!
At the end of the War in Europe Gerald returned to the UK only to be posted, with the 6th Airborne, to Palestine; he returned to the UK in 1947 and was demobbed with the rank of Sergeant.
Gerald took and passed the Civil Service Examination and was assigned to the Admiralty in Bath and met Sylvia; they were married in 1950 and settled happily in Bath where they built the house in which Gerald still lives. Quite unexpectedly Gerald was appointed Assistant Secretary to the Flag Officer, Malta and spent 4 years there along with Sylvia and their two children. Gerald retired from the Civil Service in 1978 and now lives alone since Sylvia’s death in 2006.
Gerald was initiated into St Luke’s Lodge No. 6540 in October 1958. (St Luke’s Lodge was formed by Masonic Civil Servants who moved to Bath when the Admiralty was evacuated from London during WW2). He joined the Royal Naval Lodge in Malta and became Worshipful Master in 1962 (only 4 years after his Initiation because of the rapid turnover of Naval personnel). Gerald was appointed District Junior Deacon and retained this rank on his return to UK.
Although Gerald had been Worshipful Master in Malta he was not exempted from joining the progressive line when he returned to St Luke’s. He was appointed Steward (one of 10 in those days) and progressed through all the Offices before becoming Worshipful Master in 1975 and an appointment to PPrSGD in 1981.
During the early 1980’s Gerald was instrumental in the move of Royal Naval Lodge from Malta to Somerset. There was insufficient support for an 8th Craft Lodge in Bath so Royal Naval Lodge No. 2761 arrived in Yeovil in 1984 where Gerald became the first UK Master in a Ceremony attended by the Incumbent WM, the IPM and the Grand Inspector for Malta.
Gerald was promoted to PrJGW in 1989 and PPrSGW in 1993. He is a Member of the Holy Royal Arch, Rose Croix and Knight’s Templar. He is still regular attendee at St Luke’s Meetings.