History of Lodge Lane Xang, No. 1632, prior to its Reopening in Bangkok.
Notes on History of Lodge Consecration : 14th July, 1967
No. of Masters before Darkness : Nine
Date of Darkness : 31st May, 1976
Reponed 3rd June 2000
1. 1967. First Master was Bro. E. Christiansen, believed to be a Scandinavian ?
2. 1968. Second Master was Bro. H. E. Thomas. No information on him at all.
3. I met all six of the other Masters before I was installed Master in 1975.
4. 1969. Bro. Bert Guinto : A Filipino working with the American Mission to the Lao Government. One of the finest Ritualists I have ever known. Was a Past Master of Lodge Perla del Oriente, No 1034
5. 1970. Bro. Chuck Taylor, an American pilot with Air America flying sorties in the Northern part of the country, reconnaissance and rice dropping activities.
6. 1971 Bro. Ed. Fillingham, an Englishman, Financial Adviser to the Government of Laos.
7. 1972. Bro. Hans Bang, a huge American, working with the American Mission, an excellent Ritualist, subsequently Director of Ceremonies. Thrown out of the Country with all other Americans in May, 1976.
8. 1973. Bro. Zima Wong Wing Chow, local businessman, originating from Hong Kong.
9. 1974. Bro. Jack Weber, a pilot with Air Continental, performing rice dropping and other clandestine activities in the North of Laos. Regrettably was killed instantly in a flying accident whilst on a rice dropping exercise while still Master of the Lodge.
10. This was a very cosmopolitan Lodge with members from the following countries : America, England, the Philippines, Belgium, France, Austria, and we even Initiated one Lao member, but, regrettably, he never returned to the Lodge after his Initiation.
11. I arrived in Laos in the late 1969 but it wasn’t until late 1970 that I found that there was a Lodge in Vientiane. As a member of the English Constitution I visited the Meetings regularly. It was only when I went on home leave in 1971 that I was able to get a certificate of Good Standing from my Mother Lodge, the Borough of Shoreditch Lodge, No : 3064. On my return to Laos I immediately applied for Affiliation to Lodge Lane Xang, which was completed in April, 1972.
12. When I first visited the Lodge, in 1970, the meetings were held in a disused night club in the largest hotel in Vientiane, namely the Lane Xang Hotel. The floor of the Night Club was circular, which made it somewhat difficult in squaring the Lodge. However we managed somehow.
13. In the meantime our beautiful Temple was being constructed at Salakoktane, where the remainder of our meetings were held.
14. It was a beautiful wooden construction standing in approximately an acre of land, which served as an excellent car park. It was a two-storey building with the Temple on the upper floor, and with the Harmony Room on the ground floor. After tragic death of Bro. Jack Weber, the Harmony Room was christened as Weber Hall.
15. I was installed as Right Worshipful Master in February, 1975, by the then District Grand Master, dear Bro. Tommy Keegan, who had traveled up from Singapore with his retinue for the occasion. At that time there were 37 members and Visitors present.
16. Sadly, in May, 1975, all the Americans and Filipinos working for the Americans were ordered to leave the Country, and the Lodge was immediately reduced to just seven Members, just sufficient to open the Lodge. With the authority of the District Grand Master I wore three hats for a year, I was R. W. M., Secretary and Treasurer !!!
17. All the movable items, apart from the furniture were removed to my house, and, although we continued to meet on a monthly basis, I would pack a suitcase with those items required for the meeting, take them to the Temple, and bring them back home with me at the conclusion of the Meeting . By the time the next Election Meeting took place, we had increased our numbers to eleven, having Initiated four new Brethren during the year.
18. For the following year, 1976, I was again elected R.W.M., but as the District Grand Master was prohibited from entering Laos, I traveled to Bangkok, to the Installation Meeting of Lodge St. John, No : 1072, where I was proclaimed Master of Lodge Lane Xang for a second year. I then returned to Vientiane, and Installed my own Officers, and we continued as before, meeting once a month.
19. However, on 1 st May, 1976, the Phatet Lao entered and commandeered our beautiful Temple and turned it into a detention center. Sadly, Lodge went into darkness on 31st May, 1976.
20. Fortunately, one of the Lodge Members at that time was working with the Bristish Embassy, and it was he who managed to remove all the paraphernalia of the Lodge, including, including the Charter, from the country.
21. I was subsequently ordered to leave the country. Sadly I departed from Laos with a very heavy heart on 6th July, 1976 to Bangkok, and subsequently returned to the U.K. This is the first time I have returned to Bangkok, and I am thrilled and delighted to be at the Reponing of Lodge Lane Xang, the Lodge that I dearly love.
By Bro. Lal Kumar