The Lodge of Research No.2429 regular meeting on 28th March 2022 hosted a special guest to present an enthralling topic all about the Victoria Cross. The Lodge room was nearly full as members of the lodge, members of the correspondence circle and other Freemasons took their seats on a warm March evening.
Introduced on 29th January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War, the Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879.
The guest speaker for the evening was Mark Smith, a military museum curator and specialist in military medals. He started collecting British medals in 1969 and owns an extensive private collection that he has amassed over the years; he started dealing in Militaria in 1983 in Islington, London - a hobby which has become a life-long passion. He is a well-known expert on the Victoria Cross, but flying clothing and RAF log books are also his specialist areas.
Mark’s notable appearances on Antiques Roadshow include valuing a large collection of World War One German memorabilia at Walthamstow town hall and a toy panda mascot that flew on the famous “Dambusters Raid” in 1943 when the Roadshow visited RAF Coningsby.
Mark was joined Loughton Lodge No. 8455 in June 2002 and became Master in 2012. First appointed to Essex Provincial Grand Lodge in 2017 he is currently Provincial Grand Orator, a position he has held for five years. He was appointed as Assistant Grand Sword Bearer in Grand Lodge in 2020.
Further information on the Lodge of Research can be found on their website: www.research2429.org.uk
Pictured Left to Right: R.W.Bro. Michael Wilson, W.Bro. Mark Smith, W.Bro. David Crocker, W.Bro. Jonathan Varley, W.Bro. Andy Green