Rochford Hundred Lodge 8922

Continued from page 5

Cotgrove, Dowsett and Garon on a list of the second batch of volunteers as recruits to join a Company of the Essex R.G.A. which was founded in 1888 as a result of local interest in the Honourable Artillery Company.


As stated earlier tragedy touched his life, below is an extract from the Chelmsford Chronicle dated 12th May 1911:


Great Financial Difficulties

Southend solicitor found shot. Mr. J. A. Berry second son of Alderman James Berry, of Southend, has died under tragic circumstances at Kenilworth, being found shot in the wood.


And further investigation showed that he lost a son in the First World War. Below is an extract from the Southend-on-Sea commemoration:

BERRY William.  Lieutenant, Army Service Corps. Son of Alderman James Berry, “St.Fort”, Dowsett Avenue, Southend. A former pupil of Southend High School for Boys. Died at Norfolk County War Hospital of gas poisoning and shell shock 4.7.1917.Aged 34. Buried at NORWICH  CEMETERY, GRAVE  A  96, NORFOLK.


Behind a very successful man was a tragic family life. It appears that he lost his Wife in 1910 as was reported in "The Essex Newsman" dated 23rd July 1910. So he lost a wife in 1910 his second son in 1911, and another son in 1917. How very sad.


James Berry died on 16th October 1931. So from a chance sighting of an old photograph which could have ended up in a skip, his photograph and story is now proudly displayed in Rochford Masonic Hall.

If anybody has any further information about James Berry I would be pleased to receive it to complete some of the gaps in the story of his life. My thanks to The Library and Museum of Freemasonry and to W.Bro. Denis Wiles, secretary of St. Philip Lodge No. 4221 for the information and help in producing this article.


James Berry’s Masonic genealogical history is detailed below:


St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 1817, (Shoeburyness). Initiated 26th May 1892, Passed  23rd June 1892, Raised 28th July 1892 aged 35, an Ironmonger. He was Master of the Lodge in 1897 and remained a member until his death.


Priory Lodge No. 1000 (Southend). Joined on 19th March 1896 aged 40, a Plumber. Resigned in January 1911.


Albert Lucking Lodge No. 2717 (Southend). One of the founder members of  the Lodge in June 1898. Master of the Lodge in 1902. Made an Honorary Member in March 1907.

Westcliff Lodge No. 2903 (Westcliff). One of the founder members of the Lodge in 1902. Resigned on 10th October 1910.

St. Philip Lodge No. 4221 (Thorpe Bay). One of the founder members of the Lodge in April 1921. Master of the Lodge in 1921. Resigned on 1st October 1927.

Priory Chapter No. 1000 (Southend). Exalted 6th February 1896, a plumber. First Principal of the Chapter in 1906.

St. Andrew’s Chapter No. 1817 (Shoeburyness). One of the Founding members and First Principal of the Chapter in February 1901.

Provincial Rank (Essex, Craft). 1899 Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.

Provincial Rank (Essex, Royal Arch). 1901 Provincial Second Assistant Grand Sojourner. 1904 Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

Grand Rank (Craft). 1903 Assistant Grand Pursuivant. 1925 Past Grand Standard Bearer.

Grand Rank (Royal Arch). 1903 Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

Author: David Catchpole

Rochford Hundred Lodge 8922