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                                                          PAGE 4


The Lodge was understandably proud to recognize our members who served, some of whom would serve with distinction. Three brethren in particular, who answered the call for King and Country, were bestowed with military honours. On the evening of 2nd November 1916 at a regular meeting Bro Douglas Graham thanked the lodge for the hearty welcome he received on returning from active duty where he had been awarded the D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct in the field Medal) for bravery at Lonepine, Gallipoli, Turkey on 6th November 1915 while serving with the Australian Engineers. At a regular meeting on 27th March 1919 the RWM John Kinniburgh congratulated Bro John Cunningham on being awarded the Belgian Croix De Guerra and Bro Andrew Young who received the Military Medal. A Roll of Honour to salute the brethren of the Great European War was purchased in 1919, still hangs proudly in the temple today.


1919 would undoubtedly prove to be one of the most significant years in 374's history.


The Lodge would play sponsors once again, this time to Lodge St John Stoneyburn 1186,who were granted their charter on 1st May 1919. Our ties with the brethren of 1186 remain firm and unshaken and degree work has been for some time exchanged on an annual basis.


The year would also become the culmination of nearly two decades of discontent.


The St John Masonic Friendly Society was established simultaneously with the consecration of 374. Before the introduction of national insurance employers did not generally pay workers who were infirm, injured or sick and so friendly societies for mutual financial help grew up. The office bearers or trustees of our friendly society were mostly freemasons. The trouble began when the ownership of the Lodge building, or the title deeds, came into question. The debate would rage on for years all to no avail, even after intervention from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Linlithgowshire who, at that time, the 'Friendly Society' would claim, had no business in the argument. The matter would eventually be resolved, to the brethren of 374's dissatisfaction, with the 'Society' laying claim to the rightful ownership of the building. Our Lodge would then pay the Society for the rent of the hall. The Lodge by this time had candidates a plenty and numbers were swelling. So much so that a special summoned meeting was held on 27th May 1919 to consider the motion of Bro Jas B McDonald seconded by Bro John Calderwood viz: 'That a Special Meeting be called to consider Lodge room accommodation'. Bro McDonald considered the room too small for the working of the degrees .A vote was then taken 'To Build' another vote taken 'Not to Build' a final, and which proved to be deciding, vote was that 'We approach Crofthead Co-operative Society for the use of their hall for meetings'. On 11th September 1919 RWPGM Bro Robert Kirk MD and his team of office bearers consecrated the Co-operative Hall, RWM Bro Kinniburgh also asked Dr Kirk to unveil the aforementioned Roll of Honour from the First World War which he dutifully did with great 'honour'.


The Co-op halls (now Kirkhill Court) would become our home for the next four years. Shortly after arrival at our new meeting place a new building committee was formed. Some of the brethren would still refuse to accept that the 'Society'  owned St Johns Hall in Bridge Street. Meetings were called, the old books were read over in vain search of what might be, they thought, a previously missed piece of information that would hand them back ownership. This was all to no avail, our secretary, Bro James Graham, was then instructed to write to the 'Society' and offer £500 for the property. The 'Society' replied saying that this offer was so inadequate they would not even put it before their members.

In February of 1923 the Friendly Society, with now a view to selling their property in Bridge Street, lettered the Lodge informing them they were now in a position to sell the building to the 'best bidder' but would prefer 374 to other purchasers provided that a reasonable offer is made. The letter was signed by the 'Society' Secretary Mr. John Hardie, a PM of the Lodge no less. The situation had become surreal to say the least!!








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