How I became a Companion in the Royal Arch
I was initiated into The Lodge of Security No.7299 in the Province of Northumberland in March 1958.
My brother-in-law was a member of The Winlaton Lodge that met in Blaydon-on-Tyne, Co. Durham and he joined The Clavering Royal Arch Chapter that also met in Blaydon. He wanted me to join that Chapter and I did so in February 1959.
The Lodge of Security in 1959 decided that it would have its own Royal Arch Chapter and another Companion and I applied to become Founder Members. We were not allowed to do so as we had not been Companions of the Order for 12 months.
At the Consecration of the Chapter of Security we were proposed as the 'first' Joining Members and duly elected at the next Convocation – I am still a Member of that Chapter.
I was transferred from Tyneside to the Ashford National Insurance Office in November 1963 and in due time I became a Joining Companion of Invicta Chapter that has its Convocation here in Ashford.
During my membership I was the Treasurer of Invicta Chapter for 5 years. I recall that Excellent Companion Jack West was the Accounts Examiner and I duly took the accounts to him one year; after about four days he phoned me to tell me that he had found an error in the accounts and would have to say so at the February Convocation. I was unable to ascertain the extent to the 'error' and prepared a 'resignation letter' to hand to the Scribe Ezra at that Convocation. I duly presented the accounts as I had prepared and then EC Jack West rose to tell those assembled that there was an error in the accounts submitted for his examination. A deathly quiet descended and then Jack said that he had found a one penny error – there was great laughter as you can imagine and I promptly tore up the 'resignation letter'!!! I cannot remember whether it was a 1p over or under!!
I need hardly add that Jack West never let me forget that error in the accounts!! I made damned sure that he never found another error needless to say!!!
I am still a member of the Invicta Chapter and enjoy the Ceremony but due to my age I no longer feel able to attend the Festive Board.
I would recommend all Master Masons to consider joining the Royal Arch Chapter – 'tis best described as completion of the Master Mason Degree. The fellowship he will find is well worth becoming a Companion of that Order. However, I would suggest that a Master Mason 'study' the Craft Degrees before he considers joining - four or five years is my suggestion before he should enquire about joining.