G

Lodge St. Andrew Kilmarnock No. 126

Famous 126 Connections

"Every Man an Equal when he Walks ..."

G
 
home page
elvis
ewart
frank
bob
jimmy
next

 

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley & 126

Elvis Presley and 126..? Improbable you may think. However here is the inexorable reality of arguably the most famous man worldwide of the twentieth century and his undisputed connection to St. Andrew 126. This is not "apocrypha", verified by the fact that if you have neither seen nor heard this story and the photographic evidence you may not even know who Elvis Presley is or was!

Here follows the account of two St. Andrew 126 brethren and their part in the only time Elvis Presley visited the U.K. Of course, given his (Scottish) family ancestry it is sweetly ironic that Scotland claims the honour, and to the lodge, that St. Andrew 126 brethren played such a historical part.

The Observer 11-8-2002 "OM Supplement"

'The Elvis I met was very gracious and gentlemanly,' says Ian Ghee. 'I suppose that without his manager he felt relaxed enough to just talk to people. He didn't play the big star with us and he let me take as many photos as I pleased'. Ghee, a retired photographer now in his sixties, met Elvis Presley for a magical one-and-a-half hours on 3 March 1960, the one and only time that the singer touched down on British soil.

It was meant to be a closely guarded secret among personnel in US Air force Unit 1631, based near Prestwick, Ayrshire (now HMS Gannett) that Sergeant Elvis Presley would be landing from Frankfurt at 7.30 in the evening. The landing was planned in order to refuel the plane before his long return flight to the US at the end of a two-year spell in the forces. At just 25, Elvis was already enough of a superstar to send American air force wives and daughters into a state of nervous excitement. According to the few reporters who were allowed to cover the story, Colonel Russell Fisher, the base commander, felt the arrival of the young singer to be something of an awkward responsibility.

R Ghee and Elvis Presley
R. Ghee greets Elvis at Prestwick

Elvis Presley and Lodge 126

Retired freelancer Neil Drybrugh recalls that the three military men escorting him were possessive and slightly uncomfortable: 'they only let Elvis say a few words to us before he was ushered into a car and taken off into the officers' mess,' he says. 'I remember, too, that there were murmurings about the Colonel spending an awful lot of time with someone who was, after all, of a lower rank.'

Anne Murphy, then 16, was one of a few lucky locals with contacts on the American base who got wind of Elvis's planned visit. 'At first, the father of the American family I babysat for just said that there was a VIP coming in that evening. When he told me it was Elvis I could hardly believe it and told my other Elvis-mad friend to dress American and we walked out to the airport. The base was a very exciting and glamorous place which had the best record shops, sold milkshakes and fries and other very un-Scottish things. As teenagers, we quite often tried to get in there. This time we were told to wait at the barrier. Thankfully we had a good view of the plane when it landed and he came out and stood on the top of the steps and waved at us for a good few moments. I'm telling you he was a very handsome man.'

Elvis's physical presence is something everyone who met him that night mentions - even Scotsmen in their sixties and seventies who don't usually talk about the flawless skin, shining black hair, exceptionally broad shoulders and slim waists of other men. The photos taken that night confirm that Elvis smouldered with a quite exceptional beauty, and, without the constraining influence of 'Colonel' Tom Parker, was able to mingle with the public.

Elizabeth Steel's mother worked as a cleaner on the base and she remembers being taken, aged 10, to stand among the children of US servicemen. 'Although I am ashamed to say that for me at the time it was a toss-up between Cliff and Elvis, once I found myself close to him it was very, very exciting. I moved forward right up next to him and touched his arm and found myself screaming and shouting. I couldn't help myself.'

Elvis and Freemasons

A friend of Anne Murphy's (who even after 40 years does not want to be identified) found herself equally overwhelmed by the sight of Elvis on that day. 'She quickly climbed over the barrier and threw herself spread-eagled on to the bonnet of the car that was taking Elvis to the officers' mess in the American barracks across the road,' Murphy recalls. 'Then suddenly the military police were on her and put her firmly back behind the barrier.'
Actually, Elvis wasn't in that first car, but in the one behind, followed closely by a 23-year-old Ian Ghee, who was employed as a photographer by American Air Sea Rescue. Ghee was accompanied by his brother Robert, who had been asked along to help with the loading and carrying of flash bulbs and who was given a camera so that he looked the part.
'I couldn't believe it because although my brother was never an Elvis fan, I watched as he moved forward and confidently introduced him to the star and shook his hand,' says Ghee. 'When Elvis drove off, we followed in a car, after a conversation with the Americans about whether or not I should wear Elvis's cap and act as a decoy. Robert and I were among only a handful of people allowed in the NCO bar over the road from the military airport. Inside, I was amazed to see that Robert was continuing his conversation with Elvis as if they were old friends.'
Robert, who, like his brother still lives near the airport, can be clearly seen in the photos shaking hands with Elvis and laughing with him, and although he denies this he appears to be eavesdropping on Elvis as he made a phone call. He says Elvis seemed to be speaking to Priscilla, because he was saying 'darling' a lot and he'd just met her in Germany where her father served in the military. Robert asked Elvis what he knew of Scotland (he is meant to have said, 'Where am I?' as he got off the plane) and Elvis apparently admitted that he didn't know much about the place.
Robert recalls that he told him about the beauty of Scotland and then ribbed him a bit about his medals. Elvis told him that he had enjoyed the experience of being in service but that he was looking forward to making music again and maybe starring in a movie with Frank Sinatra. Robert then asked the star to sign a bit of brown paper that he had in his pocket (on which he had written down the measurements of a window) and which he has kept in pristine condition in a box in the attic and passed on to his son.
National and local newspapers would no doubt have made more of the 80 minutes Elvis was in Scotland if they could have known it was going to be the only time Elvis made it to Britain. Nowadays, the airport has a rather tacky 'Graceland' bar in honour of the visit - although the photos of Elvis mingling with the crowd, which once hung on the walls, have all been nicked.
And a commemorative plaque, courtesy of local fan club 'The Elvis Touch', was presented to the airport by two members of Elvis's band, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana. The club also runs popular dances at the airport on important anniversaries - although this year they are going to Graceland, Memphis, rather then Graceland Prestwick to mark his death.
Elizabeth Steel still lives overlooking the airport and recalls the excitement of seeing Elvis even now, and her face still lights up at the memory.
Anne Murphy had a long and very happy marriage with her late husband, who always wore his hair in a black quiff, worked at Prestwick airport and who once won an Elvis sound alike competition. 'Not long before he died I won some money on the lottery. I told him that we were going on our first holiday abroad and pretended that we were going to Spain. In fact I took him on a trip to America that included Memphis. As we were going through the gates of the airport at this end, some of the baggage controllers recognised him and said, "Look who it is! Elvis of Glasgow airport" and he was really pleased. His first time on an airplane and he was called Elvis. He loved it. I'm so glad it happened before he died, because it made him really happy and in my mind it all started with that night that Elvis touched down in Prestwick.'

Back to Top
The Ensign Ewart
Ewart

Sergeant Charles Ewart
Freemason of 126 ~ Scottish Military Hero

“The Hero of the Battle of Waterloo” was Charles Ewart, who single-handedly captured the standard of the famous French Invincibles at the Battle of Waterloo. Ensign Ewart's grave is marked by a granite block on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The standard he so bravely won can be seen in the castle itself. . On the 18th of June 1815, Charles Ewart was a Sergeant in the Royal North British Dragoons when he captured the standard of the French 45th Regiment, from which the badge of the Royal Scots Greys (now the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards) was derived. He was born at Biddles Farm in Kilmarnock, Scotland, in 1769 and enlisted in the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (The Scots Greys) in 1789. At the time of the Battle of Waterloo, therefore, he was 45 years old and a veteran of many battles. A giant of a man, thus various sources place him at anything between 6'4"and 7'0" tall, and he was an expert swordsman. In the portrait, we see him at the age of 75, in the uniform of an Ensign of the 5th Royal Veteran Battalion, into which he was commissioned after Waterloo by the Prince Regent. On his breast is the Waterloo medal. This medal set the precedence in the British Army for issuing campaign medals to officers and other ranks alike.

WATERLOO - "Les Terribles Chevaux Gris" In the spring of 1815, Europe's hopes of a lasting peace was shattered by the news of Napoleon's escape. Landing in the south of France, he re-raised his army within the astounding space of a hundred days. The Scots Greys were rushed to Belgium to form part of an Allied Army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. On 17th June they covered the withdrawal of the Allies from Quatre Bras to Waterloo, where Wellington was to make his stand. The battle of Waterloo began shortly before noon on 18th June with a diversionary attack by the French on the Allied right. This was soon followed by the main onslaught by d'Erlon's Corps on the left centre of the Allied position which was guarded by Belgians and troops of Picton's Division, including three battalions of Highlanders. The former fled, causing a critical situation. As the Highlanders were being beaten back the Royal Dragoons, the Scots Greys and the Enniskillen Dragoons, who together formed the famous Union Brigade, representing the three countries of the Kingdom, were ordered to charge. As the Greys passed through the Gordons many of the Highlanders grasped their stirrups and shouting "Scotland Forever!" were carried headlong through the ranks of the leading French division. Sergeant Charles Ewart captured the Imperial Eagle standard of the French 45th Regiment (Les Invincibles) after a desperate fight and well deserved the commission later awarded by the Prince Regent. In commemoration the Eagle forms part of the cap badge worn by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards to this day (formerly the cap badge of the Royal Scots Greys - details in timeline further down). Ewart had made straight for the French Standard Bearer, and on fighting his way through, three Frenchmen threw them in the way. In his own words: - "One made a thrust at my groin, I parried him off and cut him down through the head. A lancer came at me - I threw the lance off by my right side and cut him through the chin and upwards through the teeth. Next, a foot soldier fired at me and then charged me with his bayonet, which I also had the good luck to parry, and then I cut him down through the head". Thus he made his way to the Eagle which he grasped firmly and carried off, and earned himself a name forever as "the greatest and most illustrious Grey in military history". Ewart lies buried on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, while the Eagle and Standard are displayed in the Castle itself. Having completely destroyed the foremost division the charge continued and, breaking through the ranks of the second division, many of the Scots Greys, led by the Commanding Officer (who was last seen alive with both wrists slashed and holding the reins in his teeth) reached the hill beyond, where they cut down the enemy artillery batteries. Later in the day the remnants of the Regiment made further repeated charges but the price of (their) bravery was high - out of the four hundred and sixteen men who began the day two hundred men and two hundred and twenty four horses were killed or wounded, Napoleon, who witnessed the devastation wrought by the Scots Greys, was overheard to refer to them as "those terrible grey horses", while their charge has since been described as the greatest thunderbolt ever launched by British Cavalry.

Waterloo

Mortal Man

Ewart eventually left the Army in 1821. He and his wife Maggie (Margaret Geddes, of Stockport) moved to Salford. He kept busy teaching swordsmanship. Ewart moved to a cottage in Bent Lane, Davyhulme, where he spent the last 16 years of his life, on his £100 a year Army pension. When he died in 1846 he was buried in a church in Salford. Eventually the church closed, became a factory and the burial ground was paved over. It was not until 1938, that workmen clearing the site found his grave. Ewart's body was exhumed and re-buried beneath a granite memorial, on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. However that was not the end of his travels. In 1967, repairs became necessary at the Castle, and so with full military honours Ewart's body was once again exhumed and taken to a temporary resting place at Preston Hall, Midlothian. Today, however, he is back at Edinburgh Castle (as stated in historical account above).

A large cast iron replica of the badge of the Royal Scots Greys (The Greys Eagle) is bolted securely to one of the walls of the "Ensign Ewart Inn" on the Royal Mile leading to Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The original Standard of the French 45th Regiment (Les Invicibles) captured by Ewart on the battlefield, can be viewed at Edinburgh Castle, however, it is very frail and enclosed in a glass case.

HISTORICAL & MILITARY TIMELINE: (with regard to subsequent or future regimental developments)
1678 - Three independent troops of Scots Dragoons raised.
1681 - Further troops raised and together formed The Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons.
1694 - Ranked as 4th Dragoons by a board of William the 3rd (English regiments being given precedence). The entire regiment mounted on Grey horses.
1702 - Unofficial titles such as "Grey Dragoons" and "Scots Regiment of White Horses" in use.
1707 - The "Act of Union" of the Scottish and English Crowns caused a restyle to the "Royal North British Dragoons" but the name "Scots Greys" is (at this time) in normal use.
1713 - Re-numbered 2nd Dragoons, it having been proved that there was but one English Dragoon regiment when the regiment crossed the border.
1877 - Restyled 2nd Dragoons (The Royal Scots Greys).
1921 - Restyled The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons).
1971 - Amalgamated with 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards) to form thus:

"The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers & Greys)"

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are Scotland's senior regiment and her only "regular cavalry". The Regiment was formed in 1971 from the union of two famous regiments, the 3rd Carabiniers and the Royal Scots Greys. The 3rd Carabiniers had themselves been constituted in 1922 from the amalgamation of the old 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Carabiniers (6th Dragoon Guards). The history of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is therefore the record of three ancient regiments and, through the Royal Scots Greys, can rightly claim to be the oldest Cavalry of the Line in the British Army.

Author’s note - This page is a tribute to the military hero of Scotland, who carried out his duties above and beyond those that the regular pledge demanded. Fifteen years previously Sgt. Charles Ewart humbly solicited to become an initiate of Lodge St. Andrew Kilmarnock No.126. These events were not then related yet here they are thus commemorated. As a small addendum, research of early minute books appears to indicate a significantly large number of initiates listed as "Scots Greys". Further research into this is being undertaken. A replica of the standard is a "work in progress" with co-operation from the regiment and the "Waterloo 200" action group.

Lodge 126 Roll

Lodge Petition Book Entry (above)

Minute book entry 06-12-1800 (right)

lodge 126 minute book
Back to Top
Frank Chacksfield

The legendary big band leader is linked to 126 through a friend and brother of the lodge whom he both visited and kept up correspondence over many years.

Frank Chacksfield, born Francis Charles Chacksfield, was a popular conductor in the "easy listening" style. He is remembered by many music lovers and record collectors for his numerous albums and appearances on radio and television during the era following the Second World War. From the 1950s onwards, Chacksfield was one of Britain's most famous orchestra leaders, and his fame spread around the world. Early in his career he was fortunate to have several big sellers in the USA, which firmly established his reputation world-wide. During his recording career with Decca alone, it is estimated that he sold 20 million copies. Chacksfield learned to play the piano as a boy and became the deputy organist for the local church. Though his parents discouraged his pursuit of music as a career, he persevered. In the late '30s, when he was in his mid-20s, he was leading small musical bands in Britain. At the beginning of World War II Frank joined the Royal Signals. Just as he was assigned a post overseas he became ill. While he was recovering he was allowed to make a BBC broadcast. The broadcast led to his being posted to the Army's entertainment section at Salisbury. He was assigned to the British Army entertainment unit, and after the war he became a regular performer on the BBC. In 1953, he formed an orchestra he called "The Tunesmiths" and won a contract with Parlophone Records. Within two years, he expanded the group from a traditional big band into an orchestra with strings and released a series of "mood music" albums.

Photo courtesy of Jamie McCulloch.

Frank Chacksfield

His sound was similar to Mantovani and Melachrino. His biggest hits, in both the UK and the US, were "Ebb Tide" and "Limelight." Chacksfield was also responsible for the musical arrangement of the first ever British entry into the Eurovision Song Contest, "All" by Patricia Bredin in 1957. Only because BBC musical director Eric Robinson insisted on accompanying Bredin to the contest in Frankfurt, Chacksfield did not get the chance to perform as a conductor on this international stage. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Chacksfield recorded a large number of instrumental recordings for Starborne Productions. The recordings were licensed for use by "Easy Listening" radio stations and functional music companies. The vast majority of these recordings were not made commercially available to the general public until 2007 by Starborne Productions. Chacksfield had two giant US hits in 1953, "Ebb Tide" and "Terry's Theme from Limelight". A third single that year, "Golden Violins" appeared in the Cashbox charts (Billboard only ranked to 20 positions at that time).    
Back to Top
Bob Thyne
Bob Thyne

Robert Brown Thyne of 126 may be better recalled as Bob Thyne of Kilmarnock Football Club.
He is described thus by historians of the club as:
"A classic stopper, big and strong, little got past him. Bob was cool and courageous under pressure and an inspiration to his team-mates. He played for Scotland while still suffering from wounds received in the D-Day landings. He was a Kilmarnock director and S.F.A. councilor and resigned from the board over the sorry saga of the Gordon Smith transfer.

Born Glasgow 09.01.1920 ~ Died Kilmarnock 16.09.1986.

Kilmarnock F.C. 1946-1955 6'0" Centre Half, 282 appearances, 9 Goals.
Debut: 12.10.1946 versus Partick Thistle, Scottish League Cup.
Soccer Career:
Neilston Victoria  Clydebank Juniors  Darlington c.1943.
Kilmarnock October 1946 - Fee £4000.
Ayr United September 1950 - on loan.
Retired April 1955.
Kilmarnock Director 1956-1977
Honours: 2 wartime caps for Scotland vs. England 1945. Scottish League Cup finalist in 1953.

Image courtesy of Brother W. Holdness (P.M.)

Back to Top
Jimmy Broon

James Robertson Brown of 126 is better recalled as Jimmy Broon - The Killie Goalie.

He is described thus by historians of the club as:
“A colourful character who enjoyed a great rapport with the crowd, Jimmy was a brilliant goalkeeper, often proving an inspiration to his team-mates.” One of only three 'keepers to save a Jimmy Hubbard penalty in a match which Killie won 3-2, he was on the verge of international honours with Hearts, touring the U.S.A. and Canada with the S.F.A. in 1949. A publican in both Kilmarnock and Stewarton for many years, he coached Stewarton United for a time. He returned to his native Fife in the early 1980's.

Born Buckhaven, Fife 19/07/1925

Kilmarnock F.C. 1953-1960 - 5'10" Goalkeeper - 315 appearances.
Debut 08/08/1953 versus Motherwell - Scottish League Cup.
Soccer Career.
Bayview Y.C. - Hearts July 1942 - Kilmarnock August 1953
St.Mirren Nov 1960 (cash + Campbell Forsyth)- East Fife November1962
Stranraer December 1962 - Falkirk January 1963 - Polish White Eagles (Canada) 1963
Honours - Scottish Cup Finalist 1957, 1960. Scottish League Cup Finalist 1961

Photo Source Unknown

Spot the Ball
 
home page
elvis
ewart
frank
bob
jimmy
next
 
copyright and disclaimer