At the January meeting of the Military Jubilee Lodge No 2195, Dover, Alfred James Smissen, received a certificate marking his fifty years as a Freemason, it was presented by the head of East Kent Freemasons, Geoffrey Dearing, Alf was also honoured to have the citation read out by the Provincial grand secretary of East Kent Freemasons, Philip South.
Alf is well known by many of the Freemasons in Dover and around the province. Alf was born on the 7th March 1932, he attended Waldershire School in Waldershire Park, which entailed a walk of 4 miles each way. In his working life, he served an apprenticeship as a fitter for the National Coal Board which covered the coal fields in Kent, he was promoted to take charge of all mobile and fixed machines, in 1953, earning £10.10s per week.
Alf married his wife Mary on the 30th June 1953 and they went on to have two children, Paul and Kim. 1960 Alf was appointed Mechanisation Engineer for Kent, from where he was transferred to the North East, to introduce the Kent mining system to their coal fields.
There he met Professor Potts of Newcastle University, who Alf agreed to help him improve the Potts plough. He became a Freemason on the 22 November 1967 when he was initiated into Military Jubilee Lodge No 2195, Dover. On 9th June 1971, he joined Royal Arch Chapter 2195, which he has been the chapter liaison officer for many years.
In 1986 he formed an industrial hose and hydraulics company called “Ardee Hose Distributors Ltd” It supplied parts for washing machines, oil rigs and cross-channel ferries and much more, the business operated from its base in Snargate Street, Dover, next door to the Dover Masonic centre.
At the age of 72, Alf decided it was time to retire and sold the business, which is still trading in Snargate Street today. Alf said, “it’s been a wonderful evening, I am proud to be a member of Military Jubilee, I have had some great times and met so many friends”.
Geoffrey Dearing said “It’s an honour to be here at Military Jubilee Lodge to present Alf with his 50-year certificate, what an amazing career he has had, his achievements in Freemasonry are remarkable, his dedication to helping others and supporting masonic charities is impeccable, he has worked hard in his life, had wonderful supported from his wife Mary, he is a true gentleman, I am proud to have met him”.
Report and Photos by Phil Heath