Fletcher Lodge 1031 saw Honorary Member W Bro Claude Barnwell, PProvJGW, who is held in particular affection, respect and honour for his major contribution to the life and development of the Lodge, receive a 60 year Certificate of Service to Freemasonry. This was presented by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, who gave everyone present an overview of Claude’s life both within and beyond Freemasonry.
Born in 1921 in Coventry, where he attended Bablake School, Claude signed up for the Navy shortly after the outbreak of WW2, seeing action as an Officer in charge of a motor torpedo boat in UK coastal waters as well as service in the Mediterranean where he was involved in mine-sweeping in the Aegean Sea, being mentioned in dispatches for bravery.
Following the war he lost no time in marrying his sweetheart Grace and in due time their sons Michael and Tim were born, both going on to have distinguished careers in rugby football. He also started a second-hand furniture business, which went on to become the leading quality furniture store in Coventry, continuing there until his late 60’s, then working for ten years in his son’s estate agency. Always a keen sportsman, particularly of tennis and golf, he was a long time member of Finham Golf club, although arthritis eventually curtailed these activities and he now participates from an armchair.
Claude was initiated into Fletcher Lodge in 1954, having been proposed and initiated by his Father-in-law, W Bro Harry Whitehouse, becoming Master in 1966 (after serving every office in the Lodge) and being elected an honorary member in 2010. He served as Almoner for 25 years and with his wife Grace conscientiously visited the Lodge widows every year, giving of his best to help and support them, offering a friendly ear when needed. A measure of the diligence he applied to that office was when he led the Lodge in the 1990 Festival to achieve the highest contribution per capita in the Province.
He was appointed acting Provincial Grand Steward in 1973 progressively rising to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1991, and also in 1973 was perfected in Stratford upon Avon Chapter 620 of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, becoming Sovereign in 1986 and going on to attain the 30th degree.
(l-r) David Macey, Claude Barwell
Claude in 1944