As his existing computer gave up the ghost a few weeks ago, The Lodge of Unity No. 567 decided that it would be appropriate to give Bob his birthday present a few days early so that he could join in his Birthday Zoom Meeting attended by over 150 friends, family and Freemasons from across the Province.

Bob attended the local school in Coleshill and went on to serve an apprenticeship as an Electrical Engineer in Birmingham. Following his apprenticeship, Bob stayed with the company, working as a Development Engineer in the then new technology in the UK, that of refrigeration.

Bob was aged 18 when war was declared in 1939. Together with one of his close friends, he enlisted in the RAF, hoping to be trained as a pilot. Within a few months, he was called up, but there were too many potential pilots to train. Typically with the military, the ‘Air Ministry’, not being able to use Bob as a Pilot, they thought that he would do a good job at the other end of the aircraft as a rear gunner.

Amongst other aircraft, he flew in the Martin 187 Baltimore, a twin-engined light attack bomber and Vickers Warwick which was the largest British twin-engined aircraft to see service during the Second World War.

Later on, he was deployed to Security with a High-Tech Radar Unit and by 1941, Bob was serving with a mobile radar unit in Egypt and the North African coast. Bob was one of the legendary ‘Desert Rats’ who defeated Rommel in the Western Desert. He’d had no home leave for 4.5 years. His next move was from the desert to Naples, Italy. From there, he waited in a transit camp with 284 Squadron before being moved to Malta where he saw out the rest of the war.

Bob married Diana in 1950, and he has both a son and a daughter and five grandchildren.

During the early years of married life, Bob went to college and passed his exams which subsequently qualified him for a role with the Leamington Spa based Electricity Board where he eventually became Chief District Engineer. Following his retirement, he joined the Open University and found time to qualify in both Maths and Music – hence his skill with the Organ.

Bob’s brother and father-in-Law were keen Freemasons, but it wasn’t until Diana spotted their neighbour opposite carrying a small case, that he finally got round to asking the question. Diana’s intuition in assuming their neighbour was a Freemason was the start of a long and deep association with The Craft.

Bob was initiated into Freemasonry into the Lodge of Unity No 567 on the 2nd February 1974 with Bro. Watkiss in the Chair.

Bob became Master of the Lodge of Unity in 1989  – he was Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction for over 30 years and many Freemasons owe him a great deal of thanks for his help and guidance through their masonic career. He is now a member of 8 Lodges and 4 Chapters for most of which he is the Organist.
He was to have been installed as Zerubbabel in Jephson Chapter in December last year and had we not been in Lockdown, he was to have been installed as Master of the Lodge of Unity on the 6th January 2021.

Not to worry Bob, there’s always next year…