On the 25thSeptember at the St. Ives Masonic Centre, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Robert Andrew Stokes accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and a large number of the active Provincial Officers attended the regular meeting of Great Ouse Lodge RAM No.607 for the purpose of presenting W.Bro. Frederick Victor (Vic) Bashford with a 50 year RAM certificate from the Grand Master, M.W.Bro. Prince Michael of Kent.
After taking the Chair, the Provincial Grand Master gave an illuminating account of Vic’s interesting life as man and mason. Born on the 28thDecember 1920 at Horley in Surrey, Vic was the eldest of 3 children. After leaving school, Vic volunteered for Royal Air Force service in 1938 where he trained as an electrical fitter at RAF Squadron 615 based at Kenley working on the famous Gloster Gladiator aircraft. He was deployed to Abbeville in France in 1939 but following a Luftwaffe attack on that airfield in May 1940 was evacuated via Dunkirk. Back in the UK, Vic joined 134 Squadron at RAF Leconfield.
This Squadron later formed part of 151 Wing deployed to Russia to protect the port of Murmansk and to train Russian air and ground crew in the use of Hawker Hurricane aircraft. His journey to Russia via Iceland on the Commodore’s vessel was part of “Operation Dervish” the first Arctic Convoy and the advance party of fitters and riggers to receive the Wing’s Hurricanes. Vic left Russia in November 1941 after successfully completing the training exercise. Throughout WW2, 104 merchant ships and 20 Royal Navy ships were lost in Arctic convoy duties. Vic was recently awarded the Arctic Star campaign medal in recognition of his bravery and contributions to that campaign.
On the 20thJuly 1946, Vic married Margaret at Christ Church in Croydon and had three children, Andrea, Priscilla and Anthony. Vic lost Margaret in October 2010.
Following a fulfilling RAF career, Vic worked for London Brick Company being made an area manager based at both their Stewartby and Warboys works. Early retirement saw Vic move to Ramsey where he played cricket for Warboys CC and enjoyed golf at Ramsey Golf club going on to be Club Captain, President and Seniors Captain and later the Cambridge Union Captain.
Vic was Advanced into St.Ivo Lodge of MMM No.607 in April 1968 and later Elevated into Great Ouse RAM Lodge No.607 in September 1969. A Founder member of both the Earl of Euston Lodge MMM No.1458 and Ailwyn Lodge MMM No.1871, he was honoured in 2006 as Very Worshipful Brother with the rank of PGJO previously receiving RAMGR in 1993.
Prior to Bedfordshire becoming a separate Province in 1985, Vic was also a Founder of Ampthill RAM Lodge No.1396 in 1980 and is still a member of Northants, Hunts and Beds Installed Commanders Lodge No.1346.
Provincial Grand Master presents W.Bro. Vic Bashford with his 50 year RAM Certificate from the Grand Master.
L to r: W.Bro. Vic Bashord, R.W.Bro. Bob Stokes (PrGM), W.Bro. William King, WC of Great Ouse RAM Lodge No.607
W.Bro. Vic Bashford with the ProvGM and the visiting Provincial Team
W.Bro. Vic Bashford with brethren of Great Ouse Lodge RAM No.607