In 1903, WBro.Major John.W.Woodall, Grand Treasurer for 1885, it was the custom in those days to elect a Treasurer every year, with 16 other Freemasons met in London to discuss forming a Club with the idea of promoting peace in the world through the Brotherhood of Freemasonry.
They founded the International Masonic Club, with the declared object of uniting more closely the several different foreign speaking Lodges working in London under the English Constitution and to seek to contact Lodges abroad recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England so as an exchange of ideas and visits could be arranged.
The first meeting was held on 26 March 1904 at the Cafe Royal, Regent Street, London. As there is no international authority in Freemasonry, it was not a very suitable name to choose, but the Club prospered and by 1910 there were some 200 members who paid an annual subscription of half a guinea.
Four Lodges were concerned in the foundation of the Club, the German speaking PILGRIM LODGE No.238, the French speaking LOGE LA FRANCE No.2060 and LOGE L'ENTENTE CORDIALE No.2796 and the Italian speaking LOGGIA ITALIA No.2687.
The Pilgrim Lodge was consecrated in England in 1779 under the name of "Der Pilger" and is the only Lodge, first under the 'Moderns' and then under the United Grand Lodge of England, to have the privilege to work in German, in the beginning using the Zinnendorf Ritual a Swedish System and later, and to this day, in the Schröeder Ritual. The present Installation Ceremony is a direct translation from the English Emulation Ritual.
Top hats are worn at the meetings by all the members of the Pilgrim Lodge, visitors wearing either hats provided or if they wish their own.
Loge La France was consecrated in 1884.
After the break with the Grand Orient of France in 1878, French Masons living in England found themselves in a difficult position and they petitioned the Grand Lodge of England to form a new Lodge in London.
The Warrant for this new Lodge - Loge La France No.2060 - was signed by the Prince of Wales, the Grand Master, who was to become King Edward VII.
A translation by Bro. Henri Bué of the English Ritual was presented and the work of the Lodge to this day is carried out in French.
The other French speaking Lodge - L'Entente Cordiale No.2796 - was founded in 1899 and one of the originators was again the Grand Master the Prince of Wales also known as the 'Peacemaker' who in 1904 as King Edward VII contributed to the Entente Cordiale between England and France. Again the Ritual of this Lodge is worked in French.
During the middle of the 1800s many Italians emigrated abroad, those from the south
(il mezzogiorno) and from Sicily, mainly to the United States of America and from the north of Italy (il settentrione) to South America, Argentina in particular and to the rest of Europe. by far the greatest numbers to Britain.
Loggia Italia was formed by Italian immigrants who found work in Catering and working as they did in Hotels and Restaurants that had Masonic Temples, it followed that they interested themselves and asked questions.
After a few years some began to join Freemasonry and it must be said not only enjoyed Masonic activities but contributed greatly to it.
Most of the Italians that came to Britain did not do so because they where Doctors or Solicitors or Professionally educated men, those Italians in Italy at that time could and did find employment and no doubt many joined Masonic Lodges under the Grand Orient of Italy.
They came because of the political and labour unrest and their limited schooling and so even if they enjoyed Freemasonry they found the learning of the ritual a long and laborious task, the English they were learning in the kitchens and restaurants was not conducive in performing ritualistic degrees, I can hear them now - "Whata isa the firsta care ofa every Chef?" - "To seea thata the kitchen isa properly tyled".
And so in time the idea was formed among those few fortunate Brethren who had managed by hard work to reach the Masters Chair to start their own Lodge where, if permission was obtained from the United Grand Lodge of England, the proceedings could be worked in Italian.
Having been sponsored by the Rothesay Lodge No.1687 (indeed most of the founders were members of Rothesay), Grand Lodge was petitioned sometime in 1896-97 and a Warrant was issued for Loggia Italia No.2687 on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England to meet and conduct their proceedings in Italian.
Loggia Italia was consecrated on St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 1898 at the Cecil Hotel in the Strand.
Loggia Italia came into being from a desire to serve a purpose; from a desire to create a fuller and a more convenient opportunity for further Masonic knowledge and if possible to progress in the Craft.
The Founders and first Members were all Initiated in London, in the Great Northern Lodge No.1287, New Cross Lodge No.1559, Sir Hugh Myddelton Lodge No. 1602 and Rothesay Lodge No. 1687 and what a coincidence that Loggia Italia should number exactly 1000 after Rothesay Lodge.
W.Bro. Francesco Gallizia, the 1st. Master and WBro. E.L.P. Valeriani, PG.st.B, the first Treasurer, who were leading figures in forming Loggia Italia, were also Past Masters of Rothesay Lodge.
The Consecrating Officers included the RW.Bro. Edward Letchworth the Grand Secretary; RW.Bro. John W. Woodall, P. Grand Treasurer, who was later to play an important part in the foundation of the Anglo-Foreign Lodges; W.Bro, P.J.Simpson. P. Grand Chaplain and many other Grand Officers.
Sometime after its consecration, the date is not recorded; Loggia Italia was presented with a sword belonging to Giuseppe Garibaldi, Past Grand Master -1864- of the Grand Orient of Italy, used by him at ceremonial meetings.
This sword is now lodged in the Library and Museum at Grand Lodge and is displayed at special occasions in front of the reigning Master at the top table.
So there we have the first four Founder Lodges. At a later date they were joined by two newly formed Lodges, DEUTSCHLAND LODGE No.3315 and AMERICA LODGE No.3368.
Very little is recorded of the Deutschland Lodge except to say that it was warranted in London in 1908 to work in English and was erased in 1955.
America Lodge, Consecrated in 1909, was founded by members of the American Embassy and Consulate staff wishing to continue Masonic activities in England. In the early part of the century returning to the United States of America, for a Lodge meeting, was indeed a long and sometimes perilous sea journey, flight was still a dream let alone Jumbo jets and Concorde, and so that they could regularly attend Masonic meetings, they got together to form a Lodge, bearing in mind that at that time different Rituals were being practised in the USA, some old Scottish, some new Scottish, some English and some of native birth, they decided to form a Lodge under the English Constitution, using the Emulation Ritual, no doubt to please every member and to show no preference.
This idea has continued to this day for many of its members joining whilst in England have now retired and live in the USA but many return often with their families to visit their English Lodge.
The first meeting of the International Masonic Club consisting of six Lodges, took place on 10 March 1910 and was attended by the Pro Grand Master, RW.Bro. Lord Ampthill and the Deputy Grand Master RW.Bro.Sir Fredrick Halsey and some 500 members and visitors, who afterwards dined at the Connaught Rooms,
This meeting was undoubtedly due to the friendship between W.Bro. Oscar Guttman, the distinguished chemist, Master of Pilgrim Lodge who was to die at the end of 1910 in Brussels as a result of a motor car accident and W.Bro. Fredrick C. van Duzer, the first and at that time Master of America Lodge. Like the two great Columns of the Temple these two Brothers were two great supporters of the Club.
The meeting was organized under the banner of Pilgrim Lodge, being the Senior Lodge, to which all the other foreign speaking Lodge were invited, as well as all the Masters of all the London Lodges.
W.Bro. Oscar Guttman acting as President and WBro. Fredrick van Duzer acting as Secretary.
A normal Masonic Initiation Ceremony took place in the Temple, except that it was picturesque Schröeder working carried out in German and the fortunate Candidate for Initiation was presented with a Morocco bound volume containing messages from the Principals, each in his own language.
Lord Ampthill took part in the ceremony and spoke in German, English, French and Italian.
The Pro Grand Master's father, Lord Russell, who was not a Freemason, was for many years British Ambassador in Berlin and other European capitals and his son had the opportunity to become fluent in other languages and to become a citizen of Europe at least two generations ahead of the formation of the European Community.
At this first Reunion, the Club was referred to as the Anglo-Foreign Lodges Association, which name it carries today.
This event was so successful that it was repeated annually.
The R.Hon.Lord Ampthill was the first Honorary Member and at the Banquet, toasts were drunk to the King of England, the Kaiser of Germany, the President of France, the King of Italy and the President of the USA.
Loge La France was banner Lodge on 8 May 1911.
The W. Master, F.Siffre having to return to France on receiving the news of the death of his mother, the Reunion was Chaired by the IPM Henri Le Forestier, who conducted the ceremony of Installation.
Loggia Italia was the banner Lodge for the meeting on 17 April 1912.
The meeting was held in the Grand Temple at Grand Lodge and in attendance were, the Rt Hon Lord Ampthill the Pro Grand Master; the Rt Hon Thomas Halsey the Deputy Grand Master; Sir E. Letchworth the Grand Secretary; the Rev. Canon Barnard, Grand Chaplain; Edmunds Smith representing the Board of General Purps; Alderman Sir G. Wyatt, Lord Mayor of London for 1908; J.H.Griffiths, Grand Treasurer; Leon Wilkinson, Grand Registrar; James Stephens, President o the Board of Benevolence; Brig-Gen. Francis Davis PGD and from abroad the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, Ettore Ferrari, not the racing car man but a noted artist who had sculpt a stature of Giuseppe Garibaldi who was also a Past Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, Ugo Bacci his Grand Secretary and Thomas Fraser representing the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin and the Rev. Dr. W.S. MacGowan, Past Grand Chaplain of South Africa - Eastern Division.
All the W Masters and Wardens of the sister Lodges in the Association and so many others.
The Installation meeting was held in the Grand Temple, the old Grand Temple as the present one was not built until 1927/28. Although this was a glorious event for the Lodge and a first in its history, it was a heart shattering tragedy for its Master, W.Bro. Francesco Bochet. As he entered the Temple looking forward to installing, in Italian, the new Master of Loggia Italia and no doubt proud and honoured to preside over such an occasion, an occasion that had never be seen in England, news was brought to him that on the night of the 14/15 April, the Titanic the unsinkable ship, on its maiden voyage to the United States, had hit an iceberg and sunk with the loss of 1513 lives and among the loss was his brother, 43 year old Giuseppe Pietro Bochet, who was 2nd head waiter in the liner's Ritz Restaurant
It is recorded that he continued, but with what thoughts or feelings only he must have known. It was only on 4 August 1911 that both Brother together with many members of Loggia Italia had been Exalted at a special meeting of Columbia Chapter No.2397 and only three months, on 9 January 1912 since the consecration of Italia Chapter No.2687 at which both Brothers were Founder Members.
W.Bro. Francesco Bochet, after this Reunion went on to serve Loggia Italia as its Secretary for some years. Loge L'Entente Cordiale presides over the meeting at the Connaught Rooms on 15 May 1913. Deutschland was banner Lodge on 11 May 1914.
The ideals and high hopes of these Brethren were shattered with the outbreak of World War I, only months after the Deutschland Lodge sponsored meeting and because of the bitterness and hatred, which became prevalent, the two German speaking Lodges went into darkness.
In June 1915 an Ambulance - which in those days cost £400 - was presented to the Red Cross by La France, Italia L'Entente Cordiale and America Lodges on behalf of the Association including the two absent Lodges.
The meetings which had been suspended in 1914, were not revived until 1927, no doubt because of the great depression, when on the initiative of the Pilgrim and L'Entente Cordiale Lodges interest was again kindled.
But meetings of the Association did not take place until 14 October 1932, when a reunion under the banner of America Lodge with some 300 Brethren met and afterwards dined at the Cafe Royal in Regent Street.
At this meeting which WBro.R.B.Moseley - the IPM of America Lodge - acted as Hon. Secretary? Also at this Reunion, Helvetica Lodge No.4894 was welcomed into the Association, five years after their Consecration.
Helvetica Lodge was founded by Swiss citizen living in England, London to be precise, and because of the four different tongues spoken in Switzerland; German, French, Italian and Romansch, English was adopted as its official language for its Emulation Ritual.
At the Helvetica Installation meeting in 1928, the Worshipful Master W.Bro. P.Boehringer received on behalf of the Lodge a sword which he handed over to the Tyler with the words, "It is a Swiss Officer's sword, carried by our Brother Secretary, W.Bro. J.J.Schneider for 25 years, ready to defend his country". He hoped that it would now only be used symbolically and for peaceful purposes.
Helvetica were in the chair as Banner Lodge on 6 October 1933 at the Cafe Royal which was attended by over 300 Brethren. The coming of age year (1948) saw for the first time the son of a Founder and Past Master occupying the Chair in Helvetica Lodge when W.Bro. Oscar Boehringer followed his father WBro.P.F.Boehringer as Worshipful Master. Pilgrim on 26 October 1934
La France on 11 May 1936. - This meeting was postponed from the 21 October 1935. Loggia Italia on 19 April 1937 and L'Entente Cordiale on 14 February 1938. Throughout all these meetings the Anglo-Foreign Lodge Association was encouraged and graced by the presence of the MW.Bro. The Rt.Hon. Lord Ampthill, Pro Grand Master, who was on each occasion accompanied by many Senior Grand Officers.
Progress was again halted in 1939 with the renewal of hostilities of World War II, but with the important difference that the enemy was Nazism and many Germans were opposed to that regime.
This was clearly demonstrated at a wartime meeting of surviving German speaking Lodges, Pilgrim and Deutschland Lodges, which were attended by a large number of Foreign Masons, many of them in the uniforms of the Allies.
The meeting planned for 26 June 1939 under the banner of Deutschland Lodge, was postponed and never held. The Deutschland Lodge met in April 1940 for the last time and subsequently surrendered their Warrant. Loggia Italia met on 3 June 1940 and this was to be the last meeting for many years. Just three days later on the 6 June 1940, the day that Italy declared war on England, the members with Italian nationality were detained and interned.
Also on that day the then Grand Secretary advised the Lodge that it could not meet again until hostilities had ceased. The members of Italian nationality accepted and understood this Grand Lodge decision. But there were other members of Loggia Italia, born in England some soon to serve in the British Army who could not see the reason to close an English Lodge with no political or religious bearings
Most of those interned felt hurt and confused why they were being put behind barbed wire. They were being interned for being Italian, not for being Fascists, as most had left Italy long before Mussolini came to power. Most, if not all had no interest in politics, most if not all, were concerned in providing bread for their families. All were law abiding British residents who paid their taxes and respected the Law of the land that they had become to regard as their own. But Italians they were and Italy was at war with the country they had decided to live in and work. Someone said "Collar the lot" and the lot were collared.
And so Loggia Italia went into darkness and was not to re-enter the light until 15 November 1948. During those years most of the records of the Lodge were in a lost state, the Warrant, Minutes Book, attendance signature book, Committee Minutes Book and all the things that make a Lodge tick went missing.
Members of Loggia Italia were interned in the Isle of Man, Canada, Australia and some paid the final price of innocents at war, drowned when the "Arandora Star" a prisoner of war ship on its way, unescorted, to Canada was torpedoed by a U-boat and sunk.
Lodge paraphernalia was stored by their families under beds, in cupboards, in air raid shelters and in restaurants and hotel kitchens and bars. It is a miracle that with the cessation of hostilities these documents came together once more and are today stored in the vaults of Grand Lodge.
And so again because of the War, the Anglo-Foreign Lodges Association Reunions were abandoned, although Lodges in the Association, with the exception of Loggia Italia and Deutschland Lodge, met in the normal way In the summer or 1962, informal meetings took place between W.Bro. James G. Laurie, PAGDC., Secretary of America Lodge and members of Pilgrim Lodge, of whom particular mention must be made of the late W.Bro.Frank Bernhart, PAGDC.
As a result of these meetings, a letter was sent in December 1962 to the six Lodges suggesting a Reunion; all six agreed, and a Committee was formed in February 1963 In March 1963 a petition for the Anglo-Foreign Lodges to resume its meetings was placed before the Grand Secretary and considered by the Board of General Purposes who gave their approval and help.
It was more than approved; RW.Bro.James Stubbs, the then Grand Secretary, gave help and support to this demonstration of international Brotherhood.
To ensure continuity of co-ordination of activities a formal Committee was established. It now consists of a Chairman, who is the reigning Master of the banner Lodge for the ensuing Reunion; a Treasurer, Secretary and Deputy Secretary and one representative from each member Lodge in the Association, who has the option of sending a deputy if he is unable to attend a Committee meeting
On 9 April 1964 the first of the new series of Reunions was held in No.1 Temple at Freemasons' Hall under the banner of Pilgrim Lodge, in the presence of RW.Bro. Major-General Sir Allen Adair, Assistant Grand Master.
Pilgrim Lodge passed Bro. H.Plautus to the second degree; the beauty of the Hamburg Schröeder Ritual was appreciated by all, whether or not they spoke or understood German.
On 24 May 1965, La France presided as banner Lodge at the Cafe Royal and again RW.Bro. Sir Allen Adair graced the Association with his presence as guest of honour.
On this occasion, Loge Le Centre des Amis No.1., under the jurisdiction of La Grande Loge National Française, gave a demonstration in French of the first degree of the Rectified Scottish Rite.
As far as can be ascertained this was the first time that this Rite had ever been demonstrated in England.
At this meeting the Anglo-Dutch Lodge No.5862, was cordially welcomed into the Association.
The Anglo-Dutch Lodge was consecrated in London at Freemasons' Hall on Monday 18 January 1943 in the midst of the Second World War, with Britain facing a continuing threat of destruction and Holland overrun by the invader, her Freemasonry outlawed and its property forfeited to the state and her Grand Master dead in a concentration camp.
Thus at a time when the material works of man were fast being destroyed by man, a Masonic spiritual edifice was created, capable of standing serene and undisturbed throughout the ages.
During the dinner the silver cup presented by W.Bro.Frank Bernhart to mark the revival of the Anglo-Foreign Lodges Association, was used for the first time by the Worshipful Master. This cup is passed to the Master of each succeeding banner Lodge.
On 21 February 1966 Loggia Italia, for the third time was banner Lodge and the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Mario Bifulco in Temple No.1 and in the presence of 425 Brethren from many parts of the globe, conducted a live ceremony and initiated E.Harry Magnani, the present (1982-98) AFLA Secretary.
On 15 May 1967, Loge L'Entente Cordiale passed Bro. G.P.Couret.
On 2 May 1968, under the auspices of America Lodge, the Lodge of St. Andrew from Boston Massachusetts brought a team across the Atlantic to demonstrate a third degree working, complete with 1700 Pilgrim father costumes and old English language.
At this meeting, Hellenic Lodge No.7270, consecrated in 1953, was officially welcomed into the Association and they were to be banner Lodge the following year - 1969 - where they gave a number of Addresses on the influence of Ancient Greece on Freemasonry.
Anglo-Dutch Lodge presided on the first Thursday of May 1970. They arranged for a demonstration of the 2nd degree Netherlandic working by the Lodge Willem Fredrik No.36 of Amsterdam.
There came then a break in the yearly Reunions, partly because Lodges were running out of ideas to present to the Brethren, partly because visiting Lodge from overseas being from different Constitutions could not work actual ceremonies but only demonstrations., which still applies to this day, and partly because the Association of Lodges of the Commonwealth, who also held their reunions every year and like us were running out of ideas, it was decided, or was it a directive of Grand Lodge, that the reunions of the Anglo-Foreign Lodges Association (AFLA) would be held on odd dated years and those of the Commonwealth Lodges on even dates.
Missing out the year for 1971
Pilgrim were again banner Lodge for 1973
On 6 May 1975 Helvetica Lodge arranged for the Lodge L'Amitie No.10 from La Chaux-de-Fonds to demonstrate a first degree in French.
The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 'Alpina' of Switzerland led the delegation
Loge La France in 1977 gave a demonstration of the ceremony of Initiation in French, at which Reunion the RW.Bro. The Hon. E.L.Baillieu the Assistant Grand Master was present. Loggia Italia were banner Lodge in 1979, the Master for that year; MW.B.Lino Salvini was also the MW the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy. He had joined Loggia Italia and had gone through both the Wardens Chairs before being elected Master. At this meeting the Lodge was called "Off" and a Lodge was formed within the Lodge for a team from Italy to give a colourful demonstration, complete with swords and hooded stewards, of Initiation in Italian
1981 - L'Entente Cordiale.
America Lodge in 1983 again called upon a Lodge from the United States, in this case, the Norview Lodge No.113 of Norfolk, Virginia, to give a demonstration of their Third Degree Working and a very pleasant theatrical meeting it turned out to be.
Anglo-Dutch in 1985 invited Lodge No.1 L'Union Royale of the Netherlands to demonstrate a First Degree working, and as with all the recent meetings where a ceremony is conducted in a foreign language, a translation was provided so as the Ceremony could be followed.
Notable Brethren were present at this meeting; RW.Bro the Hon E.L.Baillieu, Assistant Grand Master; MW.Bro. Armando Corona, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy; MW.Bro.A.Giese, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Austria; RW.Bro. Sir. James Stubbs, Past Grand Secretary; VW.Bro. Oscar F. Boehringer, PGSwdB, W.Bro. Leslie Hicks. Representative from Grand Lodge of England to the Grand Lodge of Italy. W.Bro. John Hamill, PAGDC, Librarian and Curator of the Grand Lodge Museum.
In 1987, for the first time in the history of the AFLA and by kind permission of Grand Lodge, the Grand Temple was used so as Helvetica the Banner Lodge could invite Lodge Modest Cum Libertate No.38 from Zurich, Switzerland to demonstrate, in German, the First Degree.
And so on 4 May 1989 when the Pilgrim Lodge as banner Lodge, organized a demonstration of the Initiation ceremony in German by the members of the Lodge Wilhelm zum gekrönten Anker No.415 from Itzehoe-Heiligenstedten within the Grosse Landesloge (Grand Land Lodge-Freemason Order), United Grand Lodges of Germany.
For the second time the meeting was held in the Grand Temple. The present members of AFLA consist of the first four founder Lodges together with America, Helvetica, Anglo-Dutch and Hellenic Lodges. The loving cup which was presented by W.Bro. Frank Barnhart of Pilgrim Lodge is handed to the incoming Banner Lodge by the previous Lodge at its last regular meeting and is kept until the next banner meeting of the Association.
On 2 May 1991 a meeting was arranged by the Association and the banner Lodge, Loge La France, who invited Loge Les Anciens Devoirs No.238 Paris-Neuilly, to demonstrate a shorten version of the Initiation in French.
Again the Reunion was held in the Grand Temple and again the Banquet was held in the Grand Hall.
For the first time the RW.Bro. The Rt Hon Lord Farnham, Deputy Grand Master presided over the Reunion, accompanied by the RW.Bro. Michael Highahm. PJGW Grand Secretary, RW.Bro. Oscar Boehringer PJGW and many other Grand Officers.
Loggia Italia again took up the banner in the Grand Temple on Thursday 6 May 1993 to invite the Carlo Cattaneo Lodge No.1108 of Milan in the Grand Orient of Italy, to give a demonstration in Italian of the Initiation Ceremony in the traditional Old Italian working.
For his reunion and for the first time RW.Bro. Iain Ross Bryce, Deputy Grand Master was to support the Association as President of the Reunion.
It fully upheld the tradition of the Association and Italia followed so many of the past Banner Lodges in making the occasion one to be remembered.
The enjoyment of so many at this reunion was no doubt due to the efforts of some of the members of Loggia Italia against events that took place just prior to this reunion.
As we now know, fraternal relations were suspended between our own United Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of Italy shortly after this reunion, but few knew at the time of a battle going on between Italian Lodges in Milan to decide which of them were to come to London to give the demonstration, with the Grand Orient in Rome taking one side then the other, also very strong minded individuals in Lombardy dictating (or trying to) their own particular Lodge preference.
Just seven days before the meeting a stern warning by W.Bro. Magnani the AFLA Secretary, was delivered to the Italian Lodges concerned, that unless a decision was made by the Italian Lodges, the invitation to them would be withdrawn and a new program would be initiated, things then settled down and good sense prevailed among the Italian Brethren and as it came to pass, the Carlo Gattaneo Lodge No.1108 of Milan, which was the original Lodge invited, arrived as intended and although some Brothers were missing from the original team because of internal disputes, those present did a grand job under enormous strain, not only because of the immediate events but also for the future events that so many Italian Brethren could see coming.
For the reunion of 4 May 1995, L'Entente Cordiale invited, through W.Bro. Peter Bloch of Paris a team from the Robert de Sorbon Lodge No.568 of Paris-Neuilly, to give a demonstration of the Initiation Ceremony in the old French working.
The team that arrived were young, very young, all University or Ex-University students, all under 33 years old, very keen, extra sharp and ultra enthusiastic. It was among the best demonstration ever seen and was met with great applause.
And so as soon as the Reunion was over, so pen was put to new paper and arrangements started the very next day to organize on behalf of America Lodge, the next Banner Lodge, the next meeting for 22 May 1997, a later date than previous years because of availability of Grand Temple and the Grand Hall.
Contact was made with the Norview Lodge No.113 of Norfolk Virginia and they were delighted that once again they could come to England a give. this time, a demonstration of the Master Masons Degree and once again we were not disappointed at the very colourful and entertaining ceremony.
It was soon after this reunion that I decided that after 16 years as Secretary and previous to those 4 years as Deputy Secretary of AFLA to hang up my gloves and pass the office over to my deputy, W.Bro. Jack Howard of the Helvetica Lodge and as Helvetica was to be the banner Lodge for the next reunion in 1999 it seemed to me to be the appropriate time to do so.
I did however agree to the Committee's request to continue to update the history of AFLA and to give help and advice to the Association.
As Banner Lodge, Helvetica Lodge for 6 May 1999 invited from Switzerland, led by their Venerable Maître, Gérald Planche, the Perseverance Lodge No.17 from Geneva of The Grand Lodge Swiss Alpina to give a demonstration of the Initiation ceremony in accordance with their established workings, in French, with a lecture by their orator, W.Bro, Paul-Pierre Muller, Grand Officer, Grand Lodge Swiss Alpina.
The Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Colin Cook. LGR. after opening the Lodge and receiving The MW.Bro. The Rt.Hon Lord Farnham, the Pro Grand Master and distinguished guests, called off and a very delightful demonstration was given by the Perseverance Lodge.
At the Festive Board the toast to the Anglo-Foreign Lodges Association was proposed by the Hon President, Lord Farnham and W.Bro. Colin Cook responded. After the reunion W.Bro. Jack Howard resigned as Secretary of AFLA and once again the Deputy Secretary W.Bro. Francis Baber, Secretary of America Lodge was elected Secretary of AFLA in which post he is still in today.
His first task was to organize the next AFLA Reunion on 17 May 2001 when the Anglo-Dutch Lodge presided as Banner Lodge and who invited from the Grand East of the Netherlands, the United Demonstration Lodge consisting a team of six Lodges; de Edelmoedigheld No.19 Tiel, La Flamboyante No.37 Dordrecht, Concord No.134 Rotterdam, De Schakel No.246 Dordrecht, Fides No.279 Delft and de Hoek No.287 Oud Beijerland, who gave a demonstration of a traditional Dutch First Degree, which was received with a standing ovation.
At the festive board the toast to the Anglo-Dutch Lodge was proposed by the newly appointed, RW.Assistant Grand Master, RW.Bro. David Kenneth Williamson, who was attending for the first time.
And so for 2003 Pilgrim Lodge, through the efforts of its Secretary, W.Bro. Andrew Peto, PJGD and their Past Master, W.Bro. Olaf Dankert, has taken up the Banner and has invited Die Freunde zur Eintrcht No. 203, in Mainz which belongs to the Grossloge A.F.u.M von Deutschland, shorten to AFAM.
The Lodge was founded in 1803, when Mainz was occupied by the French a year before Napoleon become Emperor of France (1804). One of the founders was Jean Bon de Saintandreor who was the Prefect of the Department of Montonnerre. The delegation will be lead by W.Bro. Dr. Joachim Dahm, who will conduct a demonstration of the Second Degree in the Mainzer Gesellenritual, which can be translated as Mainzer Fellowcraft Ritual.
The vision of unity and universal Brotherhood held by the founders is still applicable today, that whilst insisting on a strict adherence to the tenets and landmarks of the Order, Grand Lodge allows a considerable freedom of working, as shown by the success of the Association.
I think that this history of the Anglo-Foreign Lodge Association should be dedicated to the memory of W.Bro. Major John Woodall, PGT, who first had the idea and courage to conceive the Association, with all his hard work and dedication Brother Woodall did not live to see the seeds grow; he was to die in 1905.
History to this point researched and written by: W.Bro. E.Harry Magnani. PJGD, First written May 1997. brought up to date May 2002
W.Bro Francis Baber LGR continued for the ensuing years as the Secretary for the Association with ever increasing difficulties, mainly to the increasing cost of London Masonry, the decline of interest and the lack of understanding of the Associations historical Past.
The task in hand was a formidable one, however armed with enthusiasm W.Bro Francis Baber LGR assisted by the then Assistant Secretary W.Bro David Bailey LGR set about the task of growing the interest of the Association, indeed since the History of the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association was last update, Loggia Italia no 2687, were the Banner Lodge on 12th May 2005, followed by Helvetica Lodge no 4894 in May 2007.
The 2007 reunion meeting was of a particular interest as on this occasion was a modified version of the first degree “Misraim Ritual “, the ritual has not been performed in the UK before, all present agreed that it was quite an intense version of the First Degree, different in every way to the ceremony performed in the UK., it was agreed by all that the meeting was memorable, and one not to be forgotten.
Prior to the Helvetica meeting W.Bro Francis Baber SLGR, retired as the Secretary for the Association and was succeeded by the Assistant Secretary, W.Bro David Bailey LGR PProvJGD, following the footsteps of W.Bro Harry and W.Bro Francis has not been an easy one, though with the same enthusiasm, set out to invigorate the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association, this time by awareness, being mindful that the best course of action would be to visit the Lodges of the Association, and re build the interest from within.
The task being set, and the course made, continual visits to the member Lodges has been effective, insofar as the current Lodge representatives and Secretaries are very enthusiastic and active with the growth of the Association.
Recently we received the resignation of Anglo Dutch and Barnes lodge as members of the Association, the news was regretted, though not unexpected, as Anglo Dutch no 5862 had gone though a decline in its membership, sooner than hand in its Warrant, decided to amalgamate with Barnes Lodge, the promise by the then members of Barnes Lodge to adopt and maintain all connections with Holland and the Anglo Foreign lodges Association were not kept, and subsequently they withdrew and resigned from the Association .
It however is not all bad news, Indeed we have been fortunate in not only regaining as member Lodges, La France no 2060 and L’Entente Cordial no 2796, who disappointedly resigned from the Association due to a course of action that was considered unreasonable, we have secured two new member Lodges with the outlook looking favourable for more to come, the additional Lodges are:
Henry of Auxerre Lodge no 7235 and Anglo American Lodge no 2191, W.Bro David Morris SLGR, was principally behind the admission of Henry of Auxerre Lodge, with W.Bro Steven Savvas of Hellenic Lodge, W.Bro Peter Ribi of Helvetica Lodge and myself, responsible for the inclusion of Anglo America Lodge.
Discussions are in hand with a possible Dutch lodge and Columbia Lodge as possible candidates to join the association.
As discussed at many of our committee meeting, I have stated that the growth of the Association will be its strength for its survival, for as a non profit making Association, its sole purpose is for promoting the good of Freemasonry and to bring to the Brethren the variety of different workings and opportunity to enjoy the work of other jurisdictions, which without the association cannot be achieved, unless you are a fortunate Mason with time and money to travel to these far off places and seek out the Temples where the rituals are celebrated. It has been agreed that a certain amount of historical complacency has taken place, that insofar as each Banner Lodge has performed well and delivered a pleasing ceremony, the members of the Association are not always as supportive of each Banner Lodge, it has therefore been re invigorated that irrespective of who is, the Banner Lodge we are to approach the support of this especial occasion as if we, the member Lodge were indeed the banner Lodge, this will be probably the only way that such a unique Association which is steeped in history, will survive.
June 4th 2009, This was a very special meeting at America Lodge no 3368, The Anglo Foreign Lodges Association meeting coincided with the Centenary Celebration of America Lodge no 3368, a very important occasion as they were also the Banner Lodge for the reunion meeting, the meeting was supported by all the Association lodges and Metropolitan Grand lodge, our guest of honour was The Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master , RW.Bro Michael Ward PJGW and other met Executives, also visiting Grand Masters representing Italy, Germany and Switzerland The "Ceremony of the Third Degree", Texan style was presented by Panther City Lodge no 1183, from Panther City, Texas USA.
The Festive board was a White table event, held in the Grand Ballroom of The New Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, London.
The meeting, was probably a one off as combined Centenary meetings are not permitted, A petition was presented to the Right Worshipful Metropolitan Grand Master to allow the combining of the Centenary Celebration of America Lodge no 3368 and the Anglo Foreign Lodges Reunion meeting. which he gracefully allowed, there were some 360 visting Brethren from Europe and America, special thanks to W.Bro Tom Smth (PPDGM) Texas for organising the visiting Texan demonstration team and to W.Bro David Bailey LGR, PPJGD, Secretary of America Lodge no 3368 and the Secretary for the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association.
June 9th 2011 the reunion meeting was hosted by Hellenic Lodge no7270 and proved to be a remarkable occasion, with the attendance of some 370 Masons from various Counties and Countries, the banner lodge had invited ISOSTIS Lodge (equality) no 10 of the Grand Lodge of Greece, who with their Grand Master, his Offices and some 150 guests supported this splendid occasion. Also in attendance were, visiting Grand Officers from Denmark,The honoured guest was VW.Bro Richard Regan PGSwdb,AMetGM, and other distinguished Brethren. On this occasion ISOSTIS Lodge no 10 gave a splendid demonstration of the first degree, the like of which many of us attending had never witnessed before, the use of swords and fire was abundant, as the Ceremony was all in Greek a translation had been provided which aided all present to fully appreciated the Ceremony, a well deserved thanks is given to W.Bro Steven Savvas ProvAGDC (Surrey), Secretary of Hellenic Lodge no 7270 and all the other officer of Hellenic lodge who assisted to ensure that this reunion meeting was so successful.
June 13th 2013 The reunion meeting on this occasion was Pilgrim Lodge no 238, Their Worshipful Maste, who is Italian, W.Bro Douglas Crudeli, presented a double ceromony of the Second Degree of the Schroder Ritual, in German, Pilgrim Lodge, are the only lodge under the English constitution, who are permitted to use their native language and work this very different ritual, on this occasion the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association was honoured with very special and distinguished guests from Germany and Austria, the Guest of honour was The Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master, RW.Bro Michael Ward PJGW, and VW.Bro Richard Regan PGSwdb,AMetGM and many other distinguished Brethen from Metropoltan Grand Lodge Executive and from UGLE The Association thanks the hard working efforts of Pilgim Lodge who agreed to Host this meeting after the resignation fromt the Association by Henry of Auxerre Lodge, tirless efforts were made in a short space of time to ensure that the meeting was a success, the summons on this occasion also had an English translation which had been compiled by W.Bro Joe Seydel SLGR, again on this occasion the Brethern retired to The Grand Connaught Rooms to attend a White Table Festive board where they were joined by their wives or partners.
Recognition to W.Bro Ron Leske-Heed, the Treasurer for both Pigrim Lodge and the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association and to the Secretary W.Bro David Bailey SLGR,PProvJGD for their combined efforts to ensure that the meeting met with high standards of previous meetings.