David McNealy of the Saint Mary’s Gillingham Green Lodge No 6499, celebrated sixty years in Freemasonry on 19th October 2016 and, on the 16th December, he was presented with a long service certificate to mark the occasion. The certificate was presented by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Rodd.
David was born in Gillingham in 1931 and, at the age of sixteen, he started a five-year apprenticeship at Chatham Dockyard where he became top apprentice in the UK. After this he transferred to the Admiralty in Bath where he specialised in Gas and Steam turbines for the Royal Navy.
During his time with the Admiralty David held the equivalent naval rank of Lieutenant Commander and later, Commander. He worked on both surface vessels and submarines, in particular the Truculent. (Sadly, when returning from trials after its refit at Chatham Dockyard, the Truculent collided with an oil tanker in the Thames estuary and sank on 12th January 1950.)
In due course David was headhunted by Babcock, a major engineering company, and as Senior Supervisor in Engineering, he travelled the world overseeing the installation of gas turbine systems. This included an eventful two-year spell in Russia building a power plant. After working with other engineering employers for several years, David started his own business in 1970 and continued working all over the world on nuclear plants, oil refineries and so on, until his retirement.
As a result of his worldwide travels, David can speak several languages:- German, Italian, Russian and Flemish.
David was initiated into Freemasonry in Saint Mary’s Gillingham Green Lodge No 6499 on 19th October 1956; he was proposed by his father who was a Founding Member of the Lodge. David worked his way through the offices and was installed as Master of the lodge in 1978; he went on to gain Provincial Honours in 1987.
In the months leading up to his sixtieth anniversary, David had undergone surgery to remove a kidney and so, unfortunately, was not well enough to attend for the whole evening. The lodge was therefore opened briefly in order to deal with the Masonic business then called off (or suspended for a while), so that David, his wife Marion - to whom he has been married for forty-five years - and other members’ wives and guests could be admitted.
The transcript of the long service certificate was read by the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, John England, and was then presented to David by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Rodd, who also spoke about David’s background. After giving thanks for the certificate, David expanded on some of his memories and thanked his wife Marion for looking after him during his illness. He, Marion and the other guests, were then escorted from the lodge room so that the meeting could be resumed.
Afterwards the members, visitors and guests sat down for an enjoyable Festive Board to round off a memorable evening.