Famous Freemasons (A – Z)
Throughout history some members of the fraternity have made no secret of their involvement, while others have not made their membership public. Following is an abridged list of Freemasons, many of whom for various reasons have become household names. They come from all walks of life; from carpenters to Kings, mechanics to musicians; they also span the spectrum of the world’s religions Catholics and Protestants, and from Anglicans to Zionists. Whether in the public eye, or without, Freemasons are individuals, yet bound together to make a difference within society, and the vast majority have vowed to attempt to improve the lot of those in distress – wherever and whoever they may be.
“ …and to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced that even monarchs have been promoters of the Craft; have not thought it beneath their dignity to exchange the Sceptre for the Trowel; have become members of our Society, and taken part in our assemblies.”
You may be surprised by some of the names you find here…
Read more: Are Freemasons Satanic? And Myths Of Freemasonry
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List Of Famous Freemasons
Abbott, William ‘Bud’ (1897-1974) – Bud Abbott was one half of the famous Abbott and Costello comedy duo. He was a comedian, actor and producer. Teaming up with comedian Lou Costello in 1936, Abbott was the ‘straight man’ and, between 1940 and 1956, they made 36 films together and, since they took a share of the profits from each movie, the pair became two of the highest paid stars in the world. When her husband left her, Abbott took over the running of his sister’s household, and he also adopted two children with his wife, Betty Smith. Bro. Abbott was a member of Daylight Lodge No. 525, Michigan.
Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, Sufi (1808-1883) – A Sufi (Islamic mystic), scholar and political leader, Abd al-Qadir or Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, was an Algerian who led a struggle against the French invasion in the mid-nineteenth century, for which he is seen by some Algerians as their national hero. In 1864 he was a Freemason in Lodge Henri IV in Paris, but his degree work was conducted at the Lodge of the Pyramids, Alexandria, Egypt.
Abrahams, Harold Maurice (1899-1978) – Harold Abrahams was an English-Jewish athlete who, in 1924, became ‘the fastest man alive’ when he won the 100 metres at the Olympic Games in Paris. His feat was depicted in the outstanding film ‘Chariots of Fire’, memorable not just for its hunting theme music but also as the winner of the Oscar® for Best Picture in 1981. Abrahams’ great friend, and the man who won the Bronze Medal in the 1924 race, Arthur Porritt, later became the Governor-General of New Zealand.
Aguinaldo, Emilio (1869-1964) – As President of the Philippine Islands, Aguinaldo declared their independence in 1898. Aguinaldo was a member of Pilar Lodge No.203 (now Pilar Lodge No.15) at Imus Cavite; he was also a founder of Magdalo Lodge No.31 (renamed Emilio Aguinaldo Lodge No.31 in his honour).
Aldrin, Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ (1930 – ) – Buzz Aldrin is a mechanical engineer, an ex- USAF fighter pilot and an astronaut. On 20 July 1969, as the pilot of Apollo 11’s Lunar Module, he famously became only the second human to walk on the moon. At the time of his lunar landing, Aldrin was a member of Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417, Seagate, Texas and, in the wake of Aldrin’s space mission, the Grand Lodge of Texas formed Tranquillity Lodge No. 2000, named after Tranquillity Base, the location of Apollo 11’s landing site.
Aldrin is now a member of Montclair Lodge No.144, New Jersey.
Allcock, Anthony (1955- ) – “For a seemingly simple game, bowls is a highly complex sport and Tony Allcock is one of its greatest and most complex champions.” So said ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspaper of one of the sport’s most successful players Leicestershire-born, Tony Allcock, who won 14 world titles during his career and was appointed England’s Bowl’s Coach for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Successful in virtually all he attempts, Tony Allcock is a champion horseman and, in 2002, even won a medal at Crufts – for his dog of course! He is currently CEO of Bowls England.
Amery, Leopold Charles Moritz Stennett (1873-1955) – Leo Amery was born in India of an English father and Hungarian-Jewish mother. He was a British Conservative Party politician and journalist, noted for his interest in military preparedness, India and the British Empire. As a contemporary of Winston Churchill (see below), Amery studied at Harrow. Later in his career in parliament, he was one of the forces that finally and vitally dislodged Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain from office in May 1940.
Apple, Rabbi Raymond (1935 – ) – As Chief Rabbi in the Great Synagogue in Sydney (1972-2005), Raymond Apple became the leading spokesman for Judaism in Australia. Apple is the Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and a frequent writer on subjects Masonic, including ‘Studies, Speeches and Sensibilities’ 2010 – ISBN 9780980758405
Appleton, Sir Edward Victor (1892-1965) – Appleton was an English Physicist, who won the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his investigations of the physics of the upper atmosphere. He was a member of Isaac Newton Lodge No.859, Cambridge, England.
Arne, Thomas Augustine (1710-1778) – Arne was the leading British theatre composer of the 18th Century working at Drury Lane and Covent Garden. He is probably best known for the patriotic song ‘Rule, Britannia!’ (1740) but he also wrote a version of ‘God Save the King’ (1775), that was to become the British national anthem and the second national anthem of New Zealand. In 1777, Arne also penned the song ‘A-Hunting We Will Go’. Arne was a Freemason and active in the organisation, which has long been centred around the Covent Garden area of London, of which he was a native.
Arnold, Benedict (1741-1801) – Arnold was an American Revolutionary War General and a member of Hiram Lodge No. 1, New Haven, Connecticut.
Arnold, General Henry ‘Hap’ (1886-1950) – This ‘Medal of Honour’ recipient and American General helped to establish what is now the United States Air Force. Hap Arnold was the commander of the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II.
Arouet, François-Marie ‘Voltaire’ (1694-1778) – Arouet was a French Enlightenment essayist and philosopher, better known by his pen name Voltaire. Famous for his wit, he was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties at the time for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day. He was initiated in 1778, by the then Worshipful Master, Ben Franklin, (see below) at Loge des Neuf Sœurs in Paris, but sadly was a Mason for less than two months prior to his death.
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942) – Born in Buckingham Palace on 1st May 1850, Prince Arthur was the 3rd son of Queen Victoria. He joined the British army aged 16 and served with distinction in various parts of the Empire for 40 years, during which time he was made Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. He also served as Governor General of Canada in the early part of World War I.
When Prince Edward (see below) was crowned king in 1901, Prince Arthur was elected Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (See UGLE in the appendix below.) and, in 1939, became the longest serving GM in history. Arthur was responsible for commissioning the building of Freemasons’ Hall, on the original site of Grand Lodge in London, as a memorial to the thousands of Freemasons who died in The Great War.
Ashmole, Elias (1617-1698) – Antiquary, astrologist, alchemist and politician, Elias Ashmole became a Freemason in 1647, being initiated into Warrington Lodge, Warrington, Cheshire, England. Ashmole is the earliest Freemason thus recorded in England. He was a founder of ‘The Royal Society of London’ with Sir Robert Moray and King Charles II (see below), and founded the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Astor, Johann Jacob ‘John’ (1763-1848) – From lowly beginnings, being a poor German immigrant to the U.S., at one point John Astor was considered to be the wealthiest man in America. Astor became Master of Holland Lodge No.8 in New York, NY in 1790 and served as Grand Treasurer for their Grand Lodge.
Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal (1881-1938) – An army officer, revolutionary, statesman and writer, Kemal Atatürk is the national hero and founder of the modern Republic of Turkey. He was also the first Turkish president. Kemal fought at Gallipoli against the Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) Forces. He revolutionised and transformed the former Ottoman Empire into a modern and secular nation-state. He was a member of Macedonia Risorta Lodge No.80 in Thessaloniki.
Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793-1836) – A colonizer and political leader, Austin first worked to make Texas a state of Mexico, but later helped the American and European settlers of Texas gain their independence (1836). He is acclaimed as “The Father of Texas” and the city of Austin, Texas is named after him. Austin was a keen and dedicated Freemason, a member of Louisiana Lodge No.109 in Ste. Geneviere, Missouri, and worked hard to establish Freemasonry in Texas from 1825 onward, but the delicate political climate of the time badly hindered his progress. (The Mexican General López de Santa Anna was also Mexico’s dictator and, then as now, dictators feel threatened by Freemasons.)
Autry, Orvon Eugene ‘Gene’ (1907-1998) – An American actor who made some 90 films from the 1930’s through to the 1950’s, Gene Autry was a cowboy singer (‘Back in the Saddle Again’ and more similar songs). His new found wealth was such that it enabled Autry to own the California Angels baseball team. Many young people have grown up listening to his rendition of ‘Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer’.
Gene Autry was a member of Catoosa Lodge No.185, Oklahoma and, according to his Masonically inscribed gravestone, Brother Autry was “a true gentleman”.
- Famous Freemasons A – Z. You really know all of them? PART 2
- KING SOLOMON’S TEMPLE – The origin of Freemasonry as an organized institution to the Temple of Solomon
- DETROIT MASONIC TEMPLE – The world’s largest Masonic temple was saved by the White Stripes.
- PHOTOS: Freemasons ‘storm’ funeral to bid member K.B Asante farewell
- The decline of men, and what Freemasons need to do about it?
- Freemasonry & The Knights Templar: the separate fraternity inspired by founding support from Templar chivalry
Bach, Johann Christian (1735-1782) – The eleventh and youngest son of the cele- brated composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Christian was a composer of the Classical era. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the London Bach’ or ‘the English Bach’, due to his time spent living in the British capital. He is noted for influencing the con- certo style of Mozart. Brother Bach belonged to the influential Lodge of Nine Muses No.235 in London.
Baigent, Michael (1948- ) – Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Michael Baigent’s upbringing was Catholic and he was tutored in Catholic theology from the age of five. While a student at Canterbury University in Kent, England, he studied comparative religion and philosophy, studying Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. He travelled to Australia and Southeast Asia and finally settled in England. In 1982, he co-wrote the book ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’, that Dan Brown used for the basis of his smash-hit novel, ‘The Da Vinci Code’. (SEE DAN BROWN ‘THE LOST SYMBOL’ ELSEWHERE ON THIS WEB SITE.) Baigent was a Grand Officer of the UGLE, he had been editor of the UGLE’s siren magazine, ‘Freemasonry Today’ since April 2001, a platform he used for a more liberal approach to Freemasonry. He was also a trustee of the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre. He died of a brain haemorrhage in Brighton Hospital, England on 17th June 2013 following a period of ill health.
Michael Baigent belonged to the Lodge of Economy No. 76 in Winchester, where he was initiated, and also to Prince of Wales’ Lodge No. 259, London.
Ballard, Harold E. (Given name: Edwin Harold Ballard) (1903-1990) – Born in Toronto, Canada, Harold Ballard was the feisty owner the Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League team from 1961 until the time of his death. His mother lodge was Lodge Corinthian No. 481, GRC, Toronto, Ontario.
Bathurst, Charles – 1st Viscount Bledisloe (1867-1958) – Born in London and educated at Eton and Oxford, Charles Bathurst, a qualified barrister, became a Member of Parliament and served as a Privy Councillor to King George V (see below). For his services to King and country during and post-World War I he was made a Knight Grand Cross and, in 1930, appointed Governor General of New Zealand.
As Lord Bledisloe, Charles Bathurst arrived in his new post at the very start of The Great Depression but handled his position well and, being a man of social conscience, became well liked and respected by all who met him. He contributed greatly to the improvement of Pākehā – Māori relations and, as a mark of the respect he held for the Māori king, purchased the site on which ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’ was signed and, in 1934, Bathurst presented the land to the nation as a memorial.
A tremendous aficionado of rugby union, and enjoying the friendly rivalry constantly in vogue between Australia and New Zealand, in 1931 Lord Bledisloe conceived the idea of a rugby trophy competition over which the two nations could fight. In 1932, the first of three ‘Bledisloe Cup’ matches were played in Australia where the All Blacks emerged victorious and, since that date, the Kiwis have won the cup 40 times. Physically the Bledisloe Cup is the largest trophy in rugby: it was designed in New Zealand by Nelson Isaac and crafted in London by prestigious jewellers, Walker & Hall. Lord Bledisloe was a dedicated Freemason and, during his tenure as Governor General, he served as the Grand Master of the New Zealand Constitution (1930-33).
Banks, Sir Joseph – 1st Baronet (1743-1820) – This noted naturalist accompanied Captain Cook on his journey from England across the South Pacific to New Zealand (1768-1771). His was elected to The Royal Society of London (see article on this web site) in 1766 and, in 1778, became its’ President. A botanical advisor to King George III (see below), Joseph Banks is credited with introducing acacia (see appendix), ‘Banksia’, eucalyptus and mimosa to the Western world. The beautiful, Banks Peninsula on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand is named after him as are Banks Islands in Vanuatu.
Barnardo, Dr. Thomas John (1845-1905) – Founded in 1866 by this Dublin-born doctor to relieve the suffering of homeless starving children in London’s East End, by the time of his death in 1905 Dr. Barnardo’s Homes cared for 8,500 youngsters in 96 locations. More than 140 years later, this caring Irishman’s charity work with children still, sadly, needs to go on.
Bartholdi, Frédéric Auguste (1834-1904) – This French Freemason was the sculptor responsible for New York’s Statue of Liberty. His ‘Mother Lodge’ (as a Freemason’s Lodge of initiation is termed) was Lodge Alsace-Lorraine, Paris. During the construction of the copper-clad monument, Bartholdi leaned heavily on another Freemason’s expertise, that of Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower, for the intricate steel skeleton supporting the soaring statue.
Barton, Edmund (1849-1920) – The first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, New South Wales, Edmund Barton was the Attorney General and judge of the Australian High Court. His greatest contribution to Australian history was his management of the federation movement through the 1890’s.
Basie, William James ‘Count’ (1904-1984) – A brilliant, African-American orchestra leader and composer, Basie led his band almost continuously for 50 years! Basie was also a friend of Frank Sinatra, with whom he recorded in 1962 and 1964. A member of Wisdom Lodge No.102 (Prince Hall), Chicago, Basie was also a noted ‘Shriner’ (see appendix).
Bell, Lawrence (1894-1956) – Lawrence Bell was the head of the Bell Aircraft Corporation, one of whose aircraft, the X-1, piloted by Captain Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager, famously broke the Sound Barrier in level flight on 14 October 1947. Subsequent Bell aircraft developments went on to exceed Mach 6.72 or 2,021 metres per second (7,273Km/h – 4,519mph), a feat achieved by the X-15A-2 on 28 June 1964 by test pilot Pete Knight. NASA astronaut and the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was also a Bell X-15 pilot. (Related: see Buzz Aldrin above.)
Beneš, Edvard (1884-1948) – Elected in 1935 as President of Czechoslovakia, Beneš led his nation’s government into exile after the outbreak of World War II and ran the country from offices near London (1940-1945). He resigned in 1948 when he was forced to yield to a Communist directed cabinet, but died of natural causes the same year. Beneš belonged to Ian Amos Komensky Lodge No.1, Prague.
Beresford, Admiral Charles William de la Poer – 1st Baron Beresford (1841-1919) – Of Irish decent, Charles Beresford combined the two careers of being in the navy and being a Member of Parliament, making a reputation as a hero in battle and champion of the navy in the House of Commons. Beresford was driven to become First Sea Lord and his later career was marked by a long-standing dispute with the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher (see below), over reforms championed by Fisher introducing new technology and sweeping away traditional practices . (This dispute held both of their careers back, yet Fisher’s reforms were sorely required by a stagnated Royal Navy.) Beresford rose to occupy the most senior sea commands, the Mediterranean and Channel fleets, but failed in his ambition to become the first Sea Lord.
Berlin, Irving (Real name: Israel Isidore Baline) (1888-1989) – Composer, lyricist and a long-time member of Munn Lodge No.190 in New York, Brother Berlin is widely considered the greatest song writer in history. This American-Jewish genius wrote more than 1,500 songs, including ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ (1911), the Oscar® winning ‘White Christmas’ (1940), and several musical comedies such as ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ (1946) and ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ (1954).
Berlusconi, Silvio (1936- ) – A controversial Italian media tycoon and politician, Silvio Berlusconi belonged to Lodge Propaganda Due, but his disreputable excesses (outside the realm of Masonry), caused him to be expelled in 1981 by the Grand Orient of Italy.
Besant, Sir Walter (1836-1901) – Walter Besant was a novelist and historian who lived largely in London. A dedicated Freemason, he served as Master Mason in the Marquis of Dalhousie Lodge, London from 1873. Together with ‘Jack the Ripper’ investigator, Sir Charles Warren (see below), he conceived the idea of a Masonic lodge of research, the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076, of which he was first treasurer from 1886.
He was treasurer of the ‘Atlantic Union’, an association which sought to improve social relations between Britons and Americans.
Bishop, Sir Henry Rowley (1786-1855) – Henry Bishop was an English music composer most famous for the songs ‘Lo, Hear The Gentle Lark’ and ‘Home! Sweet Home!’ a song which was very popular with soldiers during and after the American Civil War. Bishop was also the composer or arranger of some 120 dramatic works, including 80 operas, light operas, cantatas, and ballets. In 1842, he became the first musician ever to be knighted, having worked for all the major theatres of London in his era — including the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Vauxhall Gardens and the Haymarket Theatre. He was also Professor of Music at Oxford University.
Blanc, Mel (Real name: Melvin Jerome Blank) (1908-1989) – If you have heard cartoon characters ‘Bugs Bunny’, ‘Wile E. Coyote’, ‘Elmer Fudd’, ‘Barney Rubble’ (of the Flintstones), ‘Daffy Duck’, ‘Porky Pig’ and ‘Sylvester the Cat’, then you’ve heard the voice of Mel Blanc, who brought so much pleasure to so many children (young and old), for so many years. Known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices”, at the time of his passing to the Grand Lodge Above in 1989, it was estimated that 20 million people heard his voice everyday – most just didn’t know it! Mel Blanc joined the Order of DeMolay (see appendix) as a young man, and was a Freemason for 50 years.
Bolívar, Simón (Given name: Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco) (1783-1830) – Commonly known as Simón Bolívar: together with José de San Martín (see below), Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader, and he played a key role in Hispanic America’s successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. Simón Bolívar is regarded in Hispanic America as a hero, visionary, revolutionary, and liberator. During his lifetime, he led Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela to independence, and helped lay the foundations for democratic ideology in much of Hispanic America.
Similar to many others in the history of North and South American independence (George Washington, José de San Martín, and Francisco de Miranda), Simón Bolívar was a Freemason. He was initiated in 1803 into the Masonic Lodge Lautaro, this lodge operated in Cadiz, Spain. It was in this lodge that he first met some of his revolutionary peers, such as José de San Martín. In May 1806, he was conferred the rank of Master Mason in the ‘Scottish Mother of St. Alexander of Scotland’ in Paris. During his time in England, he frequented ‘The Great American Reunion’ lodge in London, founded by Francisco de Miranda. In April 1824, Simón Bolívar was given the 33rd degree of Inspector General – Honorary. It is also recorded that he was a founding brother of Lodge Order and Liberty No. 2, Peru in 1824.
Boone, Daniel (1734-1820) – Of English and Welsh decent, Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania and, as a pioneer, explorer (especially of Kentucky) and frontiersman, he became one of America’s first revered folk heroes. Although his Masonic membership is difficult to prove, here is what Nathan Boone had to say about his father’s funeral: “Father’s body was conveyed to Flanders Callaway’s home at Charette, and there the funeral took place. There were no military or Masonic honours, the latter of which he was a member, as there were then but very few [Freemasons] in that region of the country.”
Borgnine, Ernest (Born: Ermes Effron Borgnino) (1917-2012 ) – Ernest Borgnine was a skilled film and television actor, receiving in 1955 the Best Actor Oscar® for his lead role in the film ‘Marty’. He was more famously known to a generation of television fans for his role as the Skipper in ‘McHale’s Navy’. Borgnine generously served Freemasonry and was the Honorary Chairman of a programme to support the ‘Scottish Rite Childhood Language Centre’ in Richmond. Ernest Borgnine was initiated into Abingdon Lodge No.48, California, and there is evidence that he was also a member of Melrose Lodge No.63 in California. Frankly, it can be said that Ernest Borgnine was an exceptional member of the Craft.
Boswell, James-9th Laird of Auchinleck (1740-1795) – A Scottish writer most noted for writing a biography of his friend, Samuel Johnson. Boswell was raised in Canongate Kilwinning Lodge in Edinburgh in 1759.
Bowell, Mackenzie (1823-1917) – The English-born, 5th Prime Minister of Canada (1894-1896), Bowell instigated the first meeting of British Colonies and territories (between Australia and Canada) in Ottawa in 1884. Bowell was a Freemason AND an Orangeman, becoming Grand Master of the Orange Order of British North America, 1870-1878.
Bowie, James ‘Jim’ (1796-1836) – Jim Bowie was an American-born frontiersman and Mexican colonist who joined the so called ‘Texian’ forces during their struggle for the independence of Texas from Mexico. He is often credited with being the inventor of the famous ‘Bowie Knife’, although that accolade should go to his brother, Rezin Bowie. James Bowie had a well-deserved reputation for being a ferocious fighter, especially with a knife, yet despite his increasing fame he never talked about his exploits. Frontiersman Captain William Y. Lacey, who spent eight months living in the wilderness with Bowie, described him as a humble man who never used profanity or vulgarities.
In the 21st Century, all that can be determined is that Jim Bowie was a most extraordinarily tough man indeed and well entitled to his world renowned status – It has to be said, “What an extraordinary individual.” During ‘The Battle of the Alamo’ on the 6 March 1836, though servirly ill with typhus at the time, Bowie died as bravely as he had lived, alongside other notable Freemasons, Davy Crockett and Jim Travis (see below). Jim Bowie was a member of L’Humble Chaumiere Lodge No.19, Opelousas, Louisiana.
Bowes, William Eric ‘Bill’ (1908-1987) – Bill Bowes never looked like a cricketer. Indeed he was a cricketing odd-ball: a very poor batsman and an ‘iffy’ fielder. Yet, once he had ball in hand, on a good pitch, no world-class batsman could feel confident (especially when facing a new ball), Bowes bouncers, and deceptively swerving deliveries, claimed the best. When he wrote for Wisden, his focus was on the ‘everyday’ cricketer and a belief that club cricket, not county or Test cricket, should be seen as the core and building block for the international game.
Bradley, Omar Nelson (1893-1981) – A leading US general during World War II, Omar Bradley played a major part in the Allied victory in Europe. Following ‘The Battle of the Bulge’ in 1944/45, Bradley commanded the 12th Army Group, a force of 1.3 million men. Eisenhower considered Bradley, “America’s foremost battle leader.” He was a member of West Point Lodge No.877, New York.
Bradman, Sir Donald George ‘Don’ – (1908-2001) – With a Test average of 99.94, Don Bradman is unquestionably cricket’s greatest batsman and, arguably, the greatest cricketer ever. Indeed, Bradman was so far ahead of the competition as to render comparisons meaningless as he transcended the game he graced.
In the early 1930’s Anglo-Australian relations had sunk to a low ebb, not least due to English captain Douglas Jardin’s shameless introduction of ‘Bodyline’ attack in an attempt to curb Bradman’s ascendancy. By 1938, however, both countries were anxious to reinforce the imperial bond in the face of potential war. Britain feared Germany; Australia feared Germany’s ally, Japan. Bradman was a firm believer in the British Empire; he was a Protestant, a Freemason, an imperialist and a conservative who strongly opposed what he saw as the anti-British tendency of Irish Catholics in Australian cricket. Indeed, Bradman’s bitter dispute with nationalists Bill O’Reilly, Jack Fingleton and others did him no harm in England. Britain saw the best side of Bradman. His integrity, his respect for the monarchy, and his generosity (when fellow Freemason, Len Hutton, broke his record in the final Test at The Oval in 1938) were music to British ears. (See Hutton below.)
As a captain, he endorsed the values of sportsmanship – “the very essence of this great game” as he later wrote in ‘The Art of Cricket’ – which had a profound resonance with a broad swathe of the British public and, his qualities today are, more often than not, mourned.
Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897) – Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg from a poor background, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene. In his lifetime, Brahms’ popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the 19th Century conductor Hans von Bülow, Johannes Brahms is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of ‘The Three Bs’.
Brearley, David (1745-1790) – Brearley was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention and signed of the U.S. Constitution on behalf of New Jersey, he was also the first Grand Master of Masons for the State of New Jersey.
Brodie, Sir Israel (1895-1979) –The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth (1948–1965), Brodie served as a Rabbi of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in Australia from 1923 to 1937. During World War II, he was evacuated from Dunkirk (1940), and finished the war as Senior Jewish Chaplain. Brodie had impeccable English connections and was an ardent Freemason, rising to the senior appointment of Grand Chaplain in the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
Brodie took a significant part in rebuilding the religious life of European Jewry after the Holocaust and, in 1969, was knighted “for services to British Jewry”; the first Chief Rabbi to be so honoured.
Brougham, Henry Peter – 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868) – Born in Edinburgh, Henry Brougham (pronounced ‘broom’) was a Scottish lawyer and abolitionist of the slave trade. He became Lord Chancellor (1830-1834). He also founded the ‘Edinburgh Review’ to which he contributed many articles while popularising the French port of Cannes as an ‘English’ resort. Brougham was raised in Fortrose Lodge, Stornway, Scotland.
Brown, Joe Evans (1895-1973) – Of Welsh decent, Joe E. Brown was an immensely popular American actor and comedian – “the man with the enormous smile”. In World War II he entertained troops at the front, travelling largely at his own expense. Brown was a multitalented individual, he toured widely and appeared in many films including; ‘Show Boat’ (1951) and ‘Some Like It Hot’ with Marilyn Monroe in 1959.
Bruce, Andrew Douglas Alexander Thomas – 11th Earl of Elgin, 15th Earl of Kincardine (1924- ) – In addition to being the Chief of the Clan of Bruce, Andrew Bruce is the Convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, retired Brigadier General in the Scots Guard Reserve, and is a Knight of the Thistle. He is a former Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (1961-1965) and has been head of the Royal Arch Chapter in Scotland for many years. Additionally he is the worldwide head of the Royal Order of Scotland.
Bruce of Kinnaird, James (1730-1794) – James Bruce of Kinnaird was a Scottish explorer who made an epic voyage to Abyssinia in the 18th Century. Not as widely known, however, is that he was a considerable scholar who brought back from Abyssinia three copies of the ‘Book of Enoch’, the apocryphal book that relates to the Royal Arch Degrees, certain of the Scottish Rite Degrees and to the Royal Order of Scotland. The book did not make it into the Biblical canon primarily because no complete copy existed in Europe prior to James Bruce of Kinnaird’s journey. He was a member of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge.
Buchanan, William Edgar (1903-1979) – Originally a successful dentist, Edgar Buchanan was captivated by the theatre and turned his dentistry practise over to his sister and turned to acting – it became his passion and his profession. He appeared in films such as ‘Penny Serenade’ (1941) with Cary Grant and ‘Shane’ (1953) with Alan Ladd. He was also Uncle Joe Carson in the U.S. tv series’ ‘Petticoat Junction,’ ‘Green Acres’ and ‘The Beverley Hillbillies’.
Buchanan, James (1791-1868) – 15th President of the United States (1857-1861), James Buchanan was of Irish-Scottish extraction. Following the death of his fiancée, Buchanan became a life-long bachelor, the only U.S. president to be so. Under President James Polk (see below), he was U.S. Secretary of State and, on becoming president, he fought hard to maintain peace between the North and the South, but he was in a hopeless position and his failed machinations tainted his administration.
Active as a Freemason throughout his life, Buchanan was initiated on 11 December 1816 into Lancaster Lodge No.43, Lancaster, Pennsylvania becoming Worshipful Master in 1825. He was exalted in Royal Arch Chapter No.43 in 1826 and became Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Burke, Arleigh (1901-1996) – During World War II, Arleigh Burke became a highly decorated U.S. Navy officer whose leadership helped win the war in the South Pacific. As an Admiral he later became Chief of Naval Operations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. The Arleigh Burke-Class of guided missile armed destroyers is named in his honour. His nickname was “31 knot Burke.”
Burke, Edmund (1729-1797) – Born in Dublin, Edmund Burke was a statesman, author, orator and political theorist, and formed the basis of the Conservative Party. He supported the American Revolutionaries, but decried the French Revolution. He was a very long-standing Whig in the House of Commons.
Burns, Robert (1759-1796) – The National Poet of Scotland, Robert Burns’ lyrics, written in dialect and infused with humour, celebrate love, patriotism, and rustic life. Freemasonry was more important to him than any other institution in Scotland and the ‘piping in’ of the Haggis is still performed in every Scottish Constitution Lodge during the Master’s Installation.
When he was 22, Burns was initiated into St. David’s Lodge No.174 in Tarbolton on 4 July 1781. He was passed and raised on 1 October 1781. Later his lodge became dormant and Burns joined Lodge St. James Tarbolton Kilwinning No.135. The location of the Temple where he was made a Freemason is unknown.
Although regularly meeting in Tarbolton, the “Burns Lodge” also removed itself to hold meetings in Mauchline. During 1784 he was heavily involved in Lodge business, attending all nine meetings, passing and raising brethren and generally running the Lodge. Similarly, in 1785 he was equally involved as Depute Master, where he again attended all nine lodge meetings amongst other duties of the Lodge. During 1785 he initiated and passed his brother Gilbert who was raised on 1 March 1788.
At a meeting of Lodge St. Andrew in Edinburgh in 1787, in the presence of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge of Scotland, Burns was toasted by the Grand Master, Francis Chateris. He was fêted by the Edinburgh Masonic fraternity in early 1787, and named “Poet Laureate of the Lodge” – a title which has since been accepted by Freemasonry in general. The Edinburgh period of Burns’ life was of great consequence, as further editions of the Kilmarnock Edition were sponsored by the Edinburgh Freemasons, ensuring that his name spread around Scotland and subsequently to England and abroad.
On his tour of the south of Scotland, as he was collecting material for The Scots Musical Museum, he visited lodges throughout and became an honorary member of a number of them. On his journey home to Ayrshire, he passed through Dumfries (where he later lived).
On 25 July 1787, after being re-elected Depute Master, he presided at a meeting where several well-known Masons were given honorary membership. During his Highland tour, he visited many other lodges. During the period from his election as Depute Master in 1784, Lodge St. James had been convened 70 times. Burns was present 33 times and was 25 times the presiding officer. In a TV poll in 2009, Robert Burns was voted by Scottish people “The Greatest Scot.”
Butlin, Sir William Heygate Edmund Colborne ‘Billy’ (1899-1980) – Sir Billy Butlin was “the Father of the British Holiday Camp”, creating his first Holiday Camp in 1936 at Skegness. Knighted in 1964, Butlin eventually sold his company to the Rank Organisation in 1972 for £43 million (worth around £430 million pounds today).
Burton, Sir Richard Francis (1821-1890) –Burton was a British explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. A larger than life character, he was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian and African languages.
Burton’s best-known achievements include; travelling in disguise to Mecca, an unexpurgated translation of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ (also commonly called ‘The Arabian Nights’ in English after Andrew Lang’s abridgement), bringing the ‘Kama Sutra’ to publication in English, and also journeying with John Hanning Speke as the first Europeans led by Africa’s greatest explorer guide, Sidi Mubarak Bombay (utilizing route information by Indian and Omani merchants who traded in the region), to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile.
Bush, Vannevar (1890-1974) – The “godfather of the internet”, as he is considered by many to be, Vannevar Bush was a pioneer in development of atomic and nuclear energy. A Vice-President and Dean of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brother Bush was also a frequent speaker at Massachusetts’ Masonic Lodges of Instruction.
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