W Bro Frank Ott completes 70 years in Masonry
At the February meeting of Pilgrims Lodge, the PGM presented W. Bro Frank Ott with his 70 year certificate, to mark the anniversary of his joining his first lodge in 1950.
Frank was born in 1922 in Dover, Kent. After leaving school he joined the Civil Service, and was called up for national service during the war years when he applied to join the Fleet Air Arm branch of the Royal Navy.
Trained as an observer on the American Grumman Avenger Mk 11, on the east coast of the USA he then joined his squadron 851 on the American built escort aircraft carrier HMS Shah. This was a lend lease carrier based on a commercial hull and sailed out of San Francisco with a British crew.
Based in Ceylon the carrier performed anti submarine duties and supported the army’s advance through south east Asia. In May 1945 the Avengers were sent out to search and locate the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro, together with her destroyer escort. The cruiser carried ten 8in guns, eight 5in guns, and ten machine guns mainly of 0.52in calibre. They spotted and unsuccessfully bombed the cruiser with the loss of one aircraft. However the cruiser in attempting to avoid further contact was driven into an ambush and was sunk by the destroyers of the 26th flotilla in a night action. This was the last major Japanese naval ship sunk in the Second World War and known as the battle of the Malacca Strait. For outstanding courage, coolness and skill in searching out, attacking and sinking an enemy cruiser with a minimum of loss to their own forces, 13 men were made awards including a Distinguished Service Order to temporary Sub-Lieutenant Frank Ott.
After the war Frank rejoined the civil service and in 1950 joined the newly consecrated Principia Lodge as its the first candidate, His brother being in the chair as its first WM. He became Master in 1960.
Moving to work in the bursars office of Birmingham University he joined the university of Birmingham lodge in 1957, and became master in 1973.
On becoming bursar of Bristol University he then joined Forrest of Mendip lodge in 1976, followed by Pilgrims Lodge in 1993.
As a Companion of the Holy Royal Arch he was also promoted to PPADC In Warwickshire and PPGSwB In Somerset.
Frank is now 98 and still going strong. The PGM said that he is looking forward to visiting Pilgrims in two years time to celebrate Frank’s next milestone.