“Copy That! – Over and Out”

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After Lodge Meetings and Chapter Convocations, the first Toast of the evening at Festive Boards is the Loyal Toast to HM The Queen.  For Military Masons there is a deeper implication. Having served in Her Majesty’s Armed Services they have been prepared to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.

An Essex Freemason who did put his life on the line many times before reporting for duty in Grand Lodge above was W Bro Barry Nichols of Albert Lucking Lodge No 2717.  Born and bred in Benfleet, Barry enlisted into the Royal Signals as a combat radioman, which in those days involved all the duties of being a trained soldier plus carrying a wireless transmitter and a large battery pack on his back.

In the days when Germany fielded two world-class football teams, Barry was posted to BAOR, British Army on the Rhine, with 7th Armoured Brigade, the proud descendant unit of the Desert Rats.  Northern Ireland was next as a signaller with Bomb Disposal and then with 233 Signal Squadron headquartered in Lisburn.  Army radio signallers with bomb-disposal teams, infantry foot-patrols and security checkpoints were prime targets for terrorist snipers, especially in darkness.

Barry did this dangerous work to serve and protect the Community as a peace-keeper.  Discover more about Barry and his wife Rose, his subsequent military postings, civilian career and their life back in Essex in his Obituary on the Departed Brethren page in Essentials on the Cube by clicking on the Members Area above.

Like most Military Masons, Barry enjoyed both the comradeship and ceremony Freemasonry offers.  Initiated in 2011, Installed as Worshipful Master in 2016, he became Assistant Director of Ceremonies in 2018 and joined Essex Masters Lodge in 2019.  When called for duty to Grand Lodge above Barry was also Ist Principal of Albert Lucking Chapter in Royal Arch.

Roy Squibb, the Albert Lucking Lodge Almoner, said “His excellent knowledge of the Craft also meant that he was an inspiring and helpful Assistant Director of Ceremonies mentoring many of us in the Lodge whenever we needed it”.  With Roy’s quotation in mind, combined with Barry’s duty as a soldier to serve the Community, there is no better way to end this short appraisal of his life than with these words, which may well have been sent in his last radio message in the Army: Copy that! - Over and Out.

W Bro Barry John Nichols who, from October 1955 to January 2021, lived respected and died regretted.

Tony Hales

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Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex