On Monday 26th March 2017 at Stamford Chapter no 1045 meeting at Altrincham, Comp. Stuart Redwood Michael Thomson celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Exaltation into the Royal Arch. Stuart was born in Lincoln in September 1920 and was exalted into Hugh of Avalon Chapter No 1386 on 24th January 1968, some 2 years after becoming a Freemason.
Not only did Stuart receive congratulations from our own Most Excellent Grand Superintendent on the night but also from the Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Province of Lincolnshire. The son of a Glaswegian father and a Lincolnshire mother and with a maternal Italian grandmother, Stuart passed his scholarship to attend the City School from 1932 to 1937. Whilst at school, the young Stuart set up a small business buying, repairing and selling radios as building battery powered radios was a popular pastime for boys in the 1930’s. On leaving school, Stuart worked for ‘Currys’ in Lincoln in the radio servicing department where he earned ‘10 bob’ a week (50p). He was there for 3 months before his interest in engines earned him an apprenticeship at Newark Road Garages who were the Foden Diesel distributors for the area at large. Stuart was 3 years out of 5 through his apprenticeship when war broke out and as these workshops covered about half an acre under cover they were requisitioned by the War Department and RAF as aircraft workshops.
Now without a job and with the outbreak of war Stuart joined the RAF as a direct entry aircraft fitter but it was 6 months before he started a technical course that lasted for a further 6 months taking him to Carlisle to work on Hurricanes and to Montrose to work on the Hampden twin engine bomber. In 1941 he was posted overseas to Singapore but on the long voyage over, the territory fell to the Japanese and Stuart was diverted to a transit camp in South Africa eventually being posted to several RAF camps in England as the NCO in charge of engine maintenance for Lancaster bombers.
After the war, Stuart was a Service Manager for Newark Road Garages and later opened his own motor accessory business in 1954 which he sold as a going concern in the late 1970’s when he got work as a machine tool fitter retiring in 1985. His wife, Yvonne sadly passed away in 2014 after almost 58 years of marriage. He has three daughters and a son who in turn have provided him with nine grandchildren and seven great grand children!
In the Craft, Stuart received his first Provincial Grand Rank in 1984 when he was promoted to Past Prov Junior Grand Deacon and in 2011 he was appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, the rank he holds today. Having told the assembled companions Stuart’s fascinating story, the Deputy Grand Superintendent, EComp Rob Bramley presented Stuart with his 50 year certificate and then delighted him by promoting him to his first ever Royal Arch Provincial Grand Rank by investing him as Past Prov Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. This was met with much acclaim by the Companions who were clearly as pleased as Stuart!