OVERSEAS LODGE #40
Chartered By: X
Dispensation Date: date
Charter Date: date
Current Status: status
Meeting date: Second Tuesday
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
Overseas Lodge is an off spring or descendent of thee “war to end all wars” known as World War I and is now in its 95th year of Masonic activity. Born on enemy soil, this Lodge with its service connection and unique history is rich indeed and full of dramatic and thrilling Masonic accomplishments.
November 11, 1918 saw the signing of the Armistice, halting hostilities in World War I. This led to the sending of allied troops into Germany as an Army of Occupation while peace negotiations were being arranged. The Third American Army with headquarters at Coblenz took over the American Sector and it was there that Masonic activity commenced with Rhode Islanders taking the lead. The initiative of these members ultimately gave Little Rhody a new Lodge.
On February 13, 1919, a group of twenty-six Rhode Islanders representing twenty-one Rhode Island Lodges cabled Most Worshipful E. Tudor Gross, Grand Master of Rhode Island, requesting Dispensation, although dated March 15, 1919 and gave birth to a new Military Field Lodge. At the suggestion of the Grand Master they became “Overseas Lodge.”
Work commenced the day after receiving Dispensation and Overseas Lodge established a record that is a Masonic achievement unequaled in Masonry. During the period of April 23 – July 31, 1919 when they ceased work to return home, they held a total of eighty meetings plus sixty-five specials in ninety-nine days. During this period they raised 517 candidates of which nineteen were courtesy.
Thus, Overseas Lodge, from the smallest state in the Union, furnished the initiative and successful leadership to install Freemasonry in the Army of Occupation. The service of the Craft in World War I was a most distinctive and illustrious contribution to the annals of Masonry.
FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1943
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XXXIX, No. 5, January 1944, Page 91:
Overseas Lodge was chartered in 1919 in the U. S. Army of Occupation at Coblenz, Germany, by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and has been perpetuated in Providence as No. 40. In May, 1943, the charter was amended to allow applications from those serving in the Armed Forces in World War II, such members now numbering nearly 100. Veterans of World War I who are members number approximately 750, and included on the roster of illustrious names of the lodge are the late Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, formerly commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. Edward F. McGlachlin, U. S. Artillery commander during World War I, and Maj. Gen. Frank Parker, Commander 1st Division.
From Missouri Lodge of Research Transactions, Vol. XXI, 1964, Page 128:
Overseas Lodge No. 1 U. D. was organized at Coblenz, April 15, 1919 and chartered by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The first meeting of the lodge was April 25 in the German Masonic Temple at Munzplatz at which time 54 petitions were received. Petitions were signed by at least two Masons from the applicant's military organization and the petitioner was subject to investigation by three others.
Each candidate was required to pass a satisfactory examination before advancing to the next degree. Communications of the lodge were held almost daily and sometimes twice a day through July 31. Degrees were conferred upon 517 candidates, 19 of which were in courtesy to other jurisdictions. A total of eighty communications were recorded in the minutes of Overseas Lodge No. 1 and among its more illustrious candidates to earn the "Made in Germany" designation was the famous Marine Major General, John A. Lejeune.
Overseas Lodge No. 1 was later absorbed into the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island as a Class Lodge and assigned the permanent number of "40".