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Lodge St. Bryde No. 579 was Chartered by The Grand Lodge of Scotland on 7th. February 1876.

We have continually met in Uddingston since that date and our Lodge has in its possession a complete minute which traces not only the history of the Lodge but importantly the history of our village and the surrounding area.

Our present Masonic Hall was built in 1924 and is one of the finest examples of a building of its type in Scotland.


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Lodge St. Bryde No. 579

- Bro. William Murray -

Bro. Stuart Jack, I.P.M. was researching the Military Career of our Bro. William Murray who died in Palestine and was buried in Beer Sheba. Four Brethren, Stuart Jack, Andrew Jack, James L. Jack and Andrew Nisbet agreed to make the 5,000 round trip to visit the resting place of our Brother William Murray.  

We travelled with our guide to the south of Israel, to where three battles were fought around the city of Gaza.

Our guide explained that the British forces were defeated in the first two before, in a brilliant manoeuvre created a diversion at Gaza and captured Beer Sheba and moved north outflanking the Turks.

We then visited Beer Sheba Military Cemetery where Bro. William Murray is buried, The Members of the Lodge carried out a Service at the grave, Bro. Stuart Jack read the following tribute to Brother Murray.

William was born in Bothwell in the year 1880 and first  appears on the 1881 census records as residing at Mount Pleasant in Bothwell.

His Father was John who at the age of 44 was a Measurer who was originally from Airdrie. His Mother was Margaret (41) and both Margaret and John had two girls Minnie Waddell (8) and Agnes McMaster (5).

William joined the Lodge in 1904 and was employed as a Grocer whilst residing at Eastwood in Bothwell.

The next record I can find of the family is the marriage of Agnes McMaster Murray on the 25th of August 1905. Agnes marries David Thomson at the Windsor Hotel in Glasgow and both parents are present to witness the ceremony.

Agnes lists her address as 11 Buchanan Gardens, Mount Vernon. This could possibly be the new family home? In the 1911 census the family are now living at a property called 128 Netherleigh, Haggs Road, Glasgow.  

Historic Visit to Israel

John (74) is retired, Margaret (69), Agnes is living with her parents and has a son John D. M Thomson. William is   also present at this address and at the age of  31 he lists his occupation as an Engine Fitter, General Engineer.

The years to follow mark a difficult time for the family in particular William who takes the deaths of both parents particularly bad and is even treated by the doctor for depression.

On 13th January 1914 at the age of 74, Margaret Murray dies after a short illness of Bronchitis and Asthma. She died at the family home on Haggs Road after 7 days of illness and it was William who signed the death certificate.

Sadly on the 7th January 1915 John Murray died after being seriously unwell for nearly a year and he also died at the family home on Haggs Road. A torrid time for the family and it is known that William was terribly affected by both deaths within such a short space of time.

So much so he had to give up his job as he was so unwell. Agnes moves to a new home in 39 Lochleven Road,  Langside where she looks after both William and her son.

In August 1916 William joined the army in Glasgow before moving to his training base at Grove Park, London where with the Army Service Corps he trained as a Motor transport driver.

His pay was one shilling and two pence per day. On Williams Service Paper he lists his occupation as an Engine Fitter, meaning some time between joining the Lodge and him signing his papers he has changed working careers.

On the 21st of March 1917, he embarked at Liverpool on the ship The SS Haunchaco which was heading to the port of Alexandria in Egypt. He disembarked in Alexandria on the 10th of April 1917 and then travelled to Kantara on the eastern side of the Suez Canal in Egypt.

He spent some time in Kantara possibly  defending the Suez Canal from Ottoman attack before joining the newly assembled 895th Transport Company working as a Caterpillar mechanic fixing Holt Caterpillar tractors which were essential to the British Force in the  Middle East.

The large terrain of desert meant at times certain areas could only be crossed by Camel and these type of vehicles. In March 1917, the British forces in the Palestine area were having a real torrid time.

With harsh weather conditions and a real struggle for basic life necessities such as water it would have been a truly horrendous time for those involved. To make matters worse, in early 1917 the Ottoman forces defeated the British in the First and Second battles of Gaza.

After joining the 895th a sad tale begins to develop and this is recorded in great depth through the military records of William.  It becomes evident that his mental state of mind has been seriously effected and between the months of July to October he is admitted in and out of hospital on 3 occasions with self-inflicted wounds to his hands, arms and legs.

On the 29th of October 1917 after 14 months of service William was found dead in his tent in Shellal, Palestine having taken his own life. After his death a court of enquiry was formed and through the detailed witness statements and minutes of the meetings it is very clear that the army had the opportunity to help William but due to negligence and possibly lack of understanding at that time his problems were ignored.

At the conclusion of the hearings the army have taken responsibility for the death of William and awarded his medals, pension and War gratuity.  Two days after his death the British forces now under General Sir Edmund Allenby took Beersheba by surprise. Within a number of weeks they had success after success rolling along the Ottoman line all the way to the city of Gaza.

Defeating the enemy all the way and holding this vital city. A period of great success which marked the start of victory in this Theatre of War. The research work carried out by IPM Stuart Jack has uncovered two remarkable letters sent to the regiment of William Murray to Alexandria in Egypt.

The first letter sent on the 20th of October and was from a doctor in Queens Park, Glasgow stating that William was unfit and should be removed from service immediately. On the 21st his sister contacted the  regiment with a plea to pull William to a field hospital and "what he requires is complete rest".  

Unfortunately both letters arrived too late and when they reached the Middle East William was already dead. After his death and with the court of enquiry concluded, Williams effects were awarded to a Bertha Holland from 147 Abbey Hills Road, Oldham who was the same age as William.

 The relationship between William and School Teacher Bertha will always remain a mystery however it is most possible he was engaged to her and had met her whilst training as a driver in the Army Service Corps or before the War.

William is remembered  today in Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel .

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