Out Of The Blue – A One Thousand Pound Legacy

About Freemasonry / Masonic News
7th October 2019 Webmaster

Out Of The Blue – A One Thousand Pound Legacy

Out of the blue, we recently received a legacy of £1000 from the Estate of the late Ruth Kathleen Tobias which was a mystery as no one in the Lodge could remember a “Tobias” being a member – curiosity duly whetted an investigation was begun to try to find if there was a masonic connection.

As all the Lodge records are stored under lock and key elsewhere from the lodge building, a few of the brethren turned to the internet and a geneology website to seek enlightenment – here’s what they found (which is very interesting):-

William Tom Tobias (pictured here wearing the rank of a Warrant Officer First Class or WO1) was a soldier in the Royal Army Ordinance Corps (RAOC) and it appears from the picture that he was involved in the first part of WW1 as he was awarded a 1914-1915 medal, which includes a ‘Mons Bar’ issued to those who served from the very outset. The last medal is a long service medal granted after 18 years’ service, these were issued after 1930.

William was born on the 10th Jan 1887 and baptised on the 30 Jan 1887 in the Camp Church, Colchester Garrison. His parents were Tom Tobias, a Colour Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, The Somerset Regiment and his wife Hannah.

In the July-to-September quarter of 1914 he married a Lena Florence Brownsey in Cambridge and here we see William wearing the uniform of a Staff Sergeant.

After leaving the army, the 1939 Register describes him as being (1) a managing clerk for the Newbury Building Society and (2) a retired Warrant Officer.

At some point in his career, he was initiated into the Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope on 7th April 1936, aged 48, passed on 6th October and raised on the 2nd February 1937. He was never Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

Lena and William had 4 children between them, Joan, Robert (who died in a flying accident), Ruth and Dorothy (who later married a John Roberts of Reading).

William passed away on 15th January 1961 whilst living in Earley, leaving an estate of £2581 14s 6d: probate was granted to his eldest daughter Joan (but not his wife who lived until 1979), a spinster. Joan died at the same address on 20th June 1971 by which time her estate was worth £8,916 and we have to assume, this was passed to her younger sister Ruth who in turn has passed £1000 to the Lodge.

We may never know the reasons why Ruth chose to leave the lodge £1000, however, the Lodge has decided to share the good fortune and that the legacy will be passed to the Berkshire 2023 Festival appeal.

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