B-P and Freemasonry

As part of the research on Baden-Powell and Fremasonry, the author of the article received the following correspondence from a Brother Mason and Scouter in Belgium.

From the Worshipful Master. "Persevere in Unity" Chapter, Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for Belgium, Antwerp, Belgium, September 25th 1994:

Dear Brother,

…. I have been a member of the Boy Scouts de Belgique (founded mostly by Freemasons in 1910). I joined in 1944 (during the war!) as a cubscout and have been very active for about 40 years, during which I have been a Patrol Leader, a Scoutmaster, Assistant District Commissioner, Deputy Camp Chief for Wood Badge training, and Treasurer of the National Council. Now I am an honorary member and Secretary of the Old Scouts Guild, District Antwerp….

…. As to the links that exist between Freemasonry and Scouting, I did quite a lot of research and I wrote a few articles in the field. I also undertook some research in regard to B-P’s possible membership in Freemasonry. To date I have found no proof that he was a member of our Order….

As far as B-P is concerned I found two interesting indications, which are:

1. In 27 Years with Baden-Powell (London, 1957) by Mrs. E. K. Wade, once secretary of the Founder, the author mentions that in 1912 B-P was raised as "Knight of Saint John of Jeruslaem."

2. In the bulletin "l’Intermediare des Chercheurs et Curieux, le mensuel de la Grande et la Petite Histoire" Number 485, December, 1991, I found under the heading "Origines de Scoutisme ("Origins of Scouting"), an article written by a Francis Gombert….

…. I will try to translate this into English:

"I possess a photostat of a letter addressed on January 20th 1966 to one of my friends, today an eminent member of the Grand Lodge of France, written by Cecil Potter, at that time Treasurer of Juventus Lodge of London. Mr. Potter writes: "I joined the Scout Movement in 1910 and I became a Freemason in 1916. I knew Baden-Powell, as well as his son Peter. A few amongst us, who were all together as Scouts and Masons, asked Baden-Powell to become a Freemason. He answered that he was unable to do so because he was the Chief Scout and that the movement included many Roman Catholic Scouts who might be offended learning that he belonged to the Freemasons.… His son Peter found it also inadvisable to ask to become a Mason because he was National Guildmaster of the Baden-Powell Scouts Guild and he kept up many contacts with Roman Catholic Scouts on the continent.… As to the current Lord baden-Powell (1966), grandson of the Founder of the Movement, we spoke a few months ago of the possibility, but he added that he did not wish to pursue it because it was preferable that no Baden-Powell be a Freemason."

Dear Brother, I hope that this letter will contribute to our better mutual knowledge of our founder….

Baden-Powell was created a
Knight of Grace of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1912. The Knights of Saint John are a charitable order of Knighthood. Although not a Masonic Order, most Freemasons recognize a strong link to the history and traditions of this Order, which dates from the time of the Crusades.

  "Lord Baden-Powell: Benefactor of Boyhood," an article on B-P and Freemasonry
  Letter from the Secretary of the Library and Museum of the United Grand Lodge of England, July 9, 1990
  Return to the Baden-Powell Home Page

  Return to the Pine Tree Web Home Page

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Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 9:21 AM on August 3, 1997