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Naval Lodges

Because of crowded space in ships and because of frequent changes of personnel early attempts to constitute Lodges on board war vessels did not meet with large success, even at the period when Thomas Dunckerley, master organizer, and himself member of a Naval Lodge on H. M. S. Vanguard, put his enthusiasm behind them. In his Lodge Lists, Lane names only four British Naval Lodges. Between 1760 and 1768 the Modern Grand Lodge chartered only three. In 1810, after a conference called by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the British Grand Lodges agreed not to authorize Naval warrants. Men in the Navy, marines on sea duty, and seamen in general found their Masonic homes in Lodges working in the ports, many of which were Naval or Mariners' Lodges in effect. Masonic students have to be on guard against confusing a Masonic meeting on board a ship, called by Masons in its crew or passenger list or by a Military Lodge on board a transport, with chartered Naval Lodges. (There are a number of instances where Masonic burial services have been solemnized on board a ship; in one instance where a retiring missionary died on board ship a group of Masons wirelessed to Washington for permission to bring the body home for burial, and three of them accompanied the body and the widow to her home in the Midwest.)

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