Pages

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Well that's one task completed; only a load more to do ...

I've spent the last three days putting together the talk I have to present when I am Installed as the new Worshipful Master of the Veritatem Sequere Lodge in Hertfordshire. It is the Province's Research Lodge, and it is a tradition that the incoming Master gives a talk on a subject of their choosing.

I have chosen to talk about the Halsey family of Great Gaddesden, Hertfordshire. They held the major offices in Freenasonry in Hertfordshire for a period of over one hundred and fifty year, and many of them had distinguished non-Masonic careers in politics and the armed forces. The latter includes a naval captain who wore a Maori war-skirt on the bridge of his battle cruiser at the Battle of Heligoland Bight and the Battle of Dogger Bank!

They don't breed them like that anymore ... or do they?

6 comments:

  1. It would be interesting to find out how Captain Halsey obtained his piupiu (Maori war skirt). Did a member of the family serve in New Zealand between, say, 1830 and 1870?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Captain Halsey was given the war skirt when he took HMS New Zealand to New Zealand before the First World War broke out. He left the war shirt aboard when he was promoted, and her new captain wore it at the Battle of Jutland. Despite being heavily engaged, she only suffered minor damage whilst three of the other battle cruisers blew up and sank.

      The war skirt certainly seems to have worked its protective magic on the ship.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. I'd forgotten about HMS New Zealand. I looked it up. and it seems that the ship was also presented with a 'hei-tiki', which would also have been imbued with protective qualities by karakia (incantations and songs).

    When he left, Capt. Halsey did right to leave the piupiu and tiki with the ship, in recognition that was where they belonged. I wonder what happened to those taonga when the ship was decommissioned and broken up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      I have seen in passing in a report of a Lodge meeting that Sir Lionel acquired them when the ship was scrapped after the First World War, and displayed the piupiu to a group of Freemasons during the late 1920s ... but that is the only record I can find of their subsequent fate.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. They are the kind of thing (taonga - treasures) that gather mana with time. Whoever has these has something worth having.

      Delete
    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      I'll see if I can find out what happened to these items. I suspect that they are either in a museum somewhere or stored in the Halsey family home at Great Gaddesden.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete