The Orange Order in World War I


Rising Star of the East True Blues LOL 108A



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Rising Star of the East True Blues LOL 108A

This Lodge was described as “On War Service”.

WM: George Thompson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Sec: William Nelson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


This Lodge was attached to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. It is numbered 108A, because there was already an LOL 108, which was The Everett, which met at Evans’ Mission Room on Yates Street in Liverpool. Rising Star of the East must have had its warrant from an earlier time than the union of the Association and the Institution in 1876, and was allowed to keep its original number when it came under the Grand Orange Lodge of England.
Also “On War Service” was Ulster Purple Star LOL 833. The officers were, -
WM: Rev James Shaw, The Manse, Presbyterian Church, Quetta, Baluchistan, India.

Sec: Private Norman McGowan, B Company, 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers.


Also in 64 District was Sons of William, LOL 652, Gillingham. Their WM was Walter Jordan, who was described as “On Active Service”.
Other Lodges in this District who were based overseas were, -
Star in the Far East, LOL 615, meeting at the Anglo-Chinese School Drill Hall, Coleman Street, Singapore.

Lagos Fine Blues, LOL 801, meeting at the Oddfellows’ Hall, 1 Dunshgee, Lagos.

Star of the East, LOL 802, meeting at The Seamen’s Institute, Praya East, Hong Kong.
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The officers of these Lodges had the sort of job that one can imagine being held by a European in colonial possessions at this time, such as working at the The Asiatic Petroleum Company in Singapore or the Royal Naval Dock Yard in Honk Kong, but they need not have involved membership of His Majesty’s armed forces.
Lodges shown as having officers of military rank are, -
Lt-Colonel T W Richardson, 104 Tollington Park, London, N.

(WM of Enniskillen LOL 77, London.)


Lt-Colonel J C Ker Fox, Mansion House, London, EC

(WM of Guelph LOL 847, London.)


Colour Sergeant W Thompson, (WM of Latimer LOL 232, “Moveable”, though in London.)
In District 91, (Isle of Man), LOL 866 is described as “Military”, and said to be meeting at Peel, but they had provided no returns.
Plymouth District (No 72) included Ulster Purple Heroes LOL 842. This is described as being “With the Fleet”, with the WM being F J Willmer, and the Secretary A H Cosway. Also in this District is “King William III” LOL 688, meeting at The Foresters’ Hall, Union Street, Plymouth. The WM of this Lodge is R.McKinney, residing at the Sergeants’ Quarters, Royal Marine Barracks, Stonehouse.
By 1916, most Military Lodges had been organised in a Military District. All Correspondence was to be sent to the Grand Secretary or to Lt-Colonel T W Richardson. This District had the following Lodges, -
Rising Sons of India, LOL 703, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: William Windrum, D Company, 1st Royal Irish Rifles.

Sec: Samuel Mullen, Signallers, 1st Royal Irish Rifles.
Pride of Armagh, LOL 839, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant D Wilson, 1st Royal Irish Rifles.

Sec: Sergeant G A Williams, 1st Royal Irish Rifles.
East Belfast Volunteers, LOL 862, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

Officers not given.


North Belfast Volunteers, LOL 864, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant W J O’Neill, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Rifleman W Finley, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.
West Belfast Volunteers, LOL 868, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant James Matthews, 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Sergeant James McKinney, 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

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South Belfast Volunteers, LOL 869, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Quarter-Master Sergeant John Wallace, 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Not given.


Young Citizens Volunteers, LOL 871, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant A Morgan, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Corporal Hugh W Neely, 3 Company, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.
South Antrim Volunteers, LOL 863, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: D H Gourlay, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Captain A P Jenkins, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.
Down Volunteers, LOL 865, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant J W Gordon, 16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.

Sec: Sergeant M Cunningham, 15th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Ulster Division.
Inniskilling True Blues, LOL 870, “Moveable, B.E.F.”.

WM: Sergeant J Halliday, 11th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Ulster Division.

Sec: John Ellis, A Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Ulster Division.
4th Canadians, LOL 859, “Moveable, Canadian Expeditionary Force”.

WM: Lieutenant Bennett, 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Canadian Contingent, C.E.F.

Sec: W J Mountain, No 10616, 3rd Platoon, A Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Canadian Contingent, C.E.F.
Mississauga, LOL 879, “Moveable, Canadian Expeditionary Force”.

WM: Company Sergeant Major E W Hazard, 139103, B Company, 75th Battalion, Mississauga, C.E.F.

Sec: J A Surgeoner, 139233, 75th Battalion, Mississauga, C.E.F.

In addition to the Military District, there was also a Naval District, with Communications to be sent to the Grand Secretary, or Bro Thomas Spanner. The following Lodges were included, -


King William’s Own, LOL 872, “Moveable”.

WM: George H Sharman, Senior Petty Officer, HMS Warspite.

Sec: J Wilks, Leading Telegraphist, HMS Warspite.
Australia, LOL 875, “Moveable”.

WM: Clarence C Crane, Yeoman of Signals, HMAS Australia.

Sec: E Muldowney, PO Telegraphist, HMAS Australia.

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Gideon’s Chosen Few, LOL 876, “Moveable”.

WM: John Dunn, Stoker, HMS Virginian.

Sec: H Saunders, HMS Virginian.


LOL 878, “Moveable”.

WM: Henry Miller, Mess 3, HMS King Alfred.

Sec: not given.

I do not have Grand Lodge Reports for 1917 and 1918, and can only wonder at what they may have contained. When the Grand Orange Lodge of England met in the Holborn Restaurant on 2nd and 3rd July 1919, they met as grateful victors, and could look back on the hostilities.


In addition to the usual Loyal Address to the King, the Grand Secretary sent congratulations on the signing of the Armistice to the King of the Belgians, and also to Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. The reply on behalf of the King of the Belgians read, -
The King’s Cabinet, General Grand Quarters of the Belgian Army Sir Secretary, It has been a pleasure to the King to receive the telegram of warm felicitations from the Loyal Orange Institution. With a lively appreciation of the sentiments of sympathy with Belgium which that message breathes, His Majesty has commanded me to transmit to you, as well as to all the members of your Association, his sincere thanks. Kindly accept, Sir Secretary, the assurance of my marked consideration. Chief of the King’s Cabinet, Count d’Aschot
Sir Douglas Haig wrote, -
General Headquarters, British Armies in France, 17th Nov. 1918 On behalf of all ranks of the British Armies in France, and in my own name. I beg that you will accept for yourself and convey to the members of the “Loyal Orange Institution” our grateful thanks for your kind telegram of congratulations. (Signed) Douglas Haig, F.M., Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France.
In his Grand Secretary’s Report, Ewart included a section which he called Our “Bit”. In this he wrote the following, -

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In the late War, the Orange Order played no inconsiderable part. Over 250,000 of our Brethren from British America, Australia, New Zealand, America, and from the United Kingdom, flocked to their colours against the world’s greatest enemy. The valour of the great Ulster Division on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, in1917, (it is amazing that Ewart could have made this mistake, and leave it in the Grand Lodge Report afterwards – MEP) adds another scroll of sacred memory to our record of past historic achievement. Of our Brethren in England, the vast majority served in His Majesty’s Forces, and alas! as in the case of our Sister Constitutions, many of them have made the supreme sacrifice, and laid down their lives on behalf of those they loved. The great majority of those left behind worked day and night to keep up the supply of munitions for their Brethren in the trenches. Our Orange Sisters, too, have in very numerous cases “done their bit” in the nursing sections and in many other corps organized during the War.


Ewart also made reference to the disposition of former German colonies, - In connection with the final settlement of the former German Colonies, I am glad to be able to report that the Foreign Secretary, to whom we sent a Resolution, passed at Grand Lodge last July, stated in the House of Commons on 8th August that he was opposed to giving the German Colonies in Africa back to Germany, and to handing back to Turkey the Arab regions wrested from her without the consent of the populations of those countries. Our Brethren in Togoland, West Africa, will be glad to know that our efforts on their behalf, in answer to their touching appeal to their Brethren in Great Britain, have been successful.
Looking back at the War, Ewart reported, -
Orange Lodges met in some strange and out-of-the-way places during the War – in the trenches of France, Belgium, Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, East Africa, South West Africa. They met, too, in Convents, Monasteries, Jesuit Colleges, on the deeps of the North Sea, and many other waters during the long silent watch kept by our matchless Royal Navy, and in more than one vessel Orange Lodges went down to the bottom of the ocean with the Union Jack flying over them. It will be astonishing news to many of the Brethren present that Orange Lodges have been held in Siberia. No one, even in his wildest pre-war dreams, ever envisioned an Orange Lodge meeting on the banks of the Lena or the Obi, or on the hurricane-swept plains

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of a country popularly associated with everything barbarous and remote from civilisation; yet such is the fact. Orange Lodges met, and may still be meeting, in those regions penetrated during the War for the first time by British troops. It may be truly said that the Orange Order is now so world-wide that on it the sun never sets. A new Lodge has been opened on HMS Aurora, No 892, which promises to be a very strong one. When our naval Brethren are able to settle down again with any kind of fixity of residence in their respective vessels, we shall have numerous Lodges in every sub-division of the Navy, carrying the Orange banner to the farthest outposts of the Empire. A successful Lodge, No 893, has been opened in the Canadian Postal Corps. A new military Lodge, No 894, has been opened in Germany, with Bro Co-Quartermaster Sergeant Scott, of Birmingham, as its first Worshipful Master … We have opened another Canadian Lodge, No 896, at Bramshott Camp, Hants, Thirty-six Brethren joined at the first meeting.


LOL 108, “Rising Star of the East True Blues,” connected with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been revived. At the outbreak of the War the Brethren were removed from Dover to France, and it became impossible for the Lodge to continue working. Many of our heroic Brethren in that Lodge have been called to higher service in the Grand Lodge above. This Lodge has been reopened at North Camp, Oswestry. Over fifty of the Brethren rallied at the first Oswestry meeting.
Of Lodges formed under the special circumstances of the War, the following were listed, -
LOL 874, Meets by special arrangement at Interneerings Camp, Groningen.

WM: William Aldridge, Hawke Battalion.

All communications to J H Green, District Secretary, No 1 District.
Gideon’s Chosen Few, LOL 876, Movable.

WM: John Dunn, Stoker, HMS Virginian.

Sec: H Saunders, HMS Virginian.
Rising Star of the East True Blues, LOL 108, On Service.

WM: George Thompson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sec: William Nelson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Ulster Purple Star, LOL 833, On Service.

WM: Rev James Shaw, The Manse, Presbyterian Church, Quetta, Baluchistan, India.

Sec: Sec: not given.

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Ulster Purple Heroes, LOL 842, With the Fleet.


Thiepval True Blues, LOL 885, meet as convenient on board HMS Benbow.

WM: J Miskelly, HMS Benbow.



Sec: George Holden, HMS Benbow.

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