W/BRO. W.T. Brown, MBE, Kipling Newporton 315, Chichester 313 and Lodge of Research 200


This paper illustrates the short but very heroic life of an Englishman who was an Irish Mason and Hero of the First World War. Jack Dimmer's early life, his military and importantly his Masonic career is highlighted, as is his most heroic conduct, which earned both the Victoria and Military Crosses. Sadly Jack Dimmer was to be killed within months of the end of the First World War and so passed into history the life of an exceptional Mason. The Victoria Cross was instituted by Queen Victoria on 29th January 1856 and made retrospective to 1854 in order to include actions during the Crimean War. To date there have been 355 awards of the Victoria Cross. This total includes three bars to the Victoria Cross and the award to the American Unknown Warrior made in 1921. There are currently (2006) 12 living holders of the award. The first VC was won by Rear Admiral Charles Lucas VC born at Drumagole, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, on 19 February 1834.



JHS Dimmer known by his family as Jack, was one of four sons of John Dimmer, a railway worker. He was born at 37 Gloster St South Lambeth on 9th Oct 1883 and spent his boyhood in Wimbledon living at No 55a Griffith's Road, now a block of flats. He attended the local elementary school in Melrose Rd, Merton, Surrey. At the age of 13 with the aid of a scholarship he went to Rutlish Science School, also in Merton. Many years later a future British Prime Minister, John Major was also to attend Rutlish School. When Dimmer left school at the age of fifteen he worked briefly in an Engineer’s Office, but had a hankering for the military life.



Jack Dimmer was initially to serve with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. In 1900-1 he joined the 1st Cadet Battalion of the KRRC Militia and was made a Sergeant when still only seventeen years old. In 1902 he joined the regular battalion of the KRRC and won prizes for drill and shooting and for other military work. He was made a Lance Corporal. In the autumn of that year he joined the 4th Battalion in South Africa where he served until 1904. He became a Corporal following reconnaissance work in the Orange River Colony. Later he was promoted to Lance-Sergeant for scouting and signalling in the Mounted Infantry serving at one time on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. General Sir Ian Hamilton commended him for military sketching and for some time he served as an instructor to NCOs.


In 1906 at his own expense, he visited Belgium and Germany to study their military systems. The following year he carried out some intelligence work and was thanked by the Army Council for this. He attended the School of Signalling and passed out the top of his class subsequently becoming a Sergeant Instructor. His duties and responsibilities at this time seemed to be those more associated with the rank of a commissioned officer. At the end of 1906 he attended an officers examination and passed with high marks. In 1907 he obtained a first class Army School certificate but it was not until January 1908 that he was finally recommended for a commission by Lord Methuen. This delay may have been caused by his background. The KRRC was second only to the Guards in terms of class-consciousness. During the next few years Dimmer did ‘special work’ in Africa serving with black troops. He came home on leave on Ist May 1914 and was called up over the August Bank holiday, on the outbreak of the First World War.



In 1914 he had twelve years service, six as an officer, was already 31 years of age and was to see more active military service in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps from which he would be attached to other regiments as the conflict progressed. He joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps Reg No. 329 and was gazetted on 19th November.The Regiment was raised in 1755 as the 62nd or Royal American Regiment and became the 60th Foot in 1757. The regiment served with distinction in the Seven Years War 1756-63, the Napoleonic and Peninsular Wars 1803-1814, the Second Sikh War 1848-49, the Eight Kaffir War 1851-53, the Indian Mutiny 1857-58, the China, Zulu and Basuto Wars 1857-79, the Afghan and Sudan Wars 1878-1884, the Boer War 1899-1902 and both World Wars. Twenty members of the Regiment won the highest decoration for valor the Victoria Cross. The regimental museum is located at Winchester.




The West African Regiment was raised in 1889 at Sierra Leone in West Africa specifically for the defence of the major naval base at Freetown. Most of the Regiment's service was understandably in West Africa. The regiment served with great distinction at Sierra Leone 1898, Ashanti 1900, and Duala in the Cameroons 1914-16.They must have cut quite a dash in their uniforms which consisted of khaki tunic, shorts and puttees; red cummerbund and the headdress of red fez with black tassel. The regiment was disbanded on 1" August 1928.

The Royal Berkshire Regiment was raised in 1744 as the 49th Foot and 66th Foot in 1758. The two regiments became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Berkshire Regiment in 1881 and got the Royal prefix in 1885. The Regiment served in the various campaigns like the KRRC with the exception that they also included the War of American Independence, The French Revolutionary War and the Crimean War. Six members of the regiment won the VC. In 1959 the regiment was amalgamated with the Wiltshire Regiment to form the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment. The regimental museum is located in Salisbury, Wiltshire.



1st Division - On the outbreak of war the units that made up this division were the 1st (Guards), 2nd and 3rd Brigades. The Guards brigade only had two guards units in it and the infantry units that made up the rest of the division were drawn from a wide variety of regiments. Units from the division began landing in France around 12th August 1914, but did not take part in the fighting for Mons. However, during the Retreat From Mons, our own 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers fought a famous and gallant action at Etreux on 27th August, when this battalion was all but wiped out in holding up a German force many times its size. One of the few divisions to actually fight in the Battle of the Marne, the 2nd Royal Sussex and 1st Loyals engaged the Germans at Priez. Following fighting on the Aisne in September, the division moved to Flanders for First Ypres, and was heavily involved in the Battle of Langemarck, at Gheluvelt (where the South Wales Borderers fought a famous action at the Chateau) and at Nonne Boschen during October/November. At the end of 1914, 1st Division moved down to the La Bassee front and took over the trenches at the Cuinchy Brickstacks

As the Prussian Guard advanced in massed formation from the cover of a wood at Klein Zillebeke on 12th November 1914, the British machine-guns mowed them down with a storm of bullets. But the gun, which Lieutenant John Henry Stephen Dimmer, of 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps, was working, suddenly jammed. With great bravery he climbed onto the emplacement to put it in order, and while doing so a rifle bullet struck him in the jaw. He continued, however, to work the gun until it jammed once more, and while putting it in order he was hit in the shoulder. After again getting the gun to work, three shrapnel bullets struck his injured shoulder, but he most gallantly continued working it until it was destroyed by shell-fire. His magnificent courage and tenacity were awarded with the Victoria Cross.

Painting -Lieut. Dimmer Repairing a Machine-Gun While

Exposed to the Fire of the Advancing Prussian Guard

                                                                                      Allan Stewart




The citation reads

On 12th November 1914 at Klein Zillebeke, Belgium, Lieutenant Dimmer went on serving his machine gun during an attack, and stayed at his post until the gun was destroyed, in spite of being shot five times.


                                        VICTORIA CROSS

Lieutenant- Colonel Dimmer also won the Military Cross. He was awarded the MC for action one month earlier for devotion to duty between 29th and 31st October 1914 and for gallantry displayed on many occasions. He was later promoted through the junior officer ranks and was appointed a Lt. Colonel in the 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps. Dimmer like many other VC holders became a temporary national hero. In August 1918 he had married the daughter of a carpet millionaire a Miss Mary Bayley Parker. She afterwards married the 4th Baron Garvagh and died as recently as 1982.

                                                        MISS BAYLEY PARKER 1919



John Dimmer had membership of two Irish Masonic Lodges: -

1        1st Battalion West Indian Regiment Lodge No 390

2        West African Regiment Lodge No 157


1st Battalion West India Regiment Lodge No 390

The name John Henry Stephen Dimmer was placed on the books of Lodge 390, South Carolina, West India Regiment on 8th August 1908, for the usual period previous to ballot. He was entered an Entered Appretice on 20th August 1908, passed to the Fellow Craft Degree on 9th September and raised to the third or sublime degree of Master Mason on 7th October 1908. The Lodge history is as follows:-



Issued to brethren in The Queen's Royal Irish Regiment of Foot, actually. 2nd Foot, The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey), then on the Irish Establishment, 2nd December 1762.

It is quite common in the eighteenth century for an Army Lodge to be lost sight of soon after its establishment. Thus this Lodge, formed 2nd December 1762, in the 2nd or Queen's Royal Regiment, is not heard of in the Grand Lodge Records after that year. The Warrant was cancelled in 1815.

Reissued to 'South Carolina Lodge' in The West India Regiment, 27 October 1905.

From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes. Lodge 157 and 390

3rd October, 1910 - Read a letter from Lodge 157 West African Regiment asking if the Lodge is subject to the rules governing Colonial Lodges, having regard to the fact that the Regiment is permanently stationed outside the United Kingdom. The Board resolved that the Lodge should be subject to the Laws and fees applicable to Colonial Lodges and that Lodge 390 West India Regiment being in the same position should be treated in the same manner, the change to come into force from the 1st January next.

The Warrant of the Lodge was granted on 27th October, 1905, to Brs. S.C. Thompson, H.W. Coneybeare and J.A. McCleod as the first W.M. and Wardens. The name given to the Lodge was `The South Carolina Lodge, lst West India Regiment, No. 390'. Why "South Carolina"? The Lodge has no definite proof but the answer must surely be connected with the history of the West India Regiment.

During the American War of Independence, a British Expeditionary Force from New York captured the State of Georgia. As a result, Loyalists flocked to the British camp where they were formed into a number of Corps, the South Carolina Corps being one of them. This Corps took an active part in the war, became a Cavalry Regiment in

1780 and, at the end of the war, moved to Jamaica. The new South Carolina Regiment had a short life as such, however, for in 1795 it was amalgamated with another Regiment to form Whyt's Regiment of Foot, a title which was changed shortly afterwards to The West India Regiment. The link with the original corps was perpetuated by the formation within the 1st Battalion of the new Regiment of a "South Carolina Company." It is not known whether the founders of the lodge were members of the Company or whether they were merely brethren with a nice sense of history. The Lodge, to quote from the 1913 by-law's, was "erected and consecrated at Sierra Leone on 27th February, 1906." Unfortunately, little is known of those early days for all the Minute Books covering the period prior to 1938 are lost. Presumably, however, the Lodge moved with the Battalion between the Gold Coast and Jamaica until the First World War and the chances are that it went to France when the Battalion served there during the war. We know that in 1914 there was a Royal Arch Chapter No. 390 West India Regiment which also worked the Mark Degree as can be seen from two Certificates photographs of which are included in the reference.

After the War the Battalion moved into permanent quarters in Jamaica and this had a profound effect on the type of membership of the Lodge. Instead of membership being confined to serving members of the Battalion, as was the case until then, the Lodge was opened up to permit pensioner's and serving members of HM. Forces together with "Such Civilian Brethren (preference being given to those who have served in, or are otherwise connected with, HM. Forces) as may be invited to join the Lodge." [1925 By-Laws]

This change in membership is reflected in a new name for the Lodge which, in 1925, had become 'The South Carolina Lodge (West India Regiment and Associated Garrison) No. 390.

In March 1927 the West India Regiment was disbanded and the Warrant surrendered to Grand Lodge.

Ref. H 527

Sixty-four members served in the 1914-18 War and Bros. Lieut. H. W. Coneybeare, Lincoln Regt., Lt. Col. J.H.S. Dimmer, VC., K.R.R. & W.A. Regt., J.F. Drayton, R.A.O.C., Capt. A.C. Hyde, W.I. Regt., Capt. L.J. Jones, W.I. Regt., Capt. T.H. Mills DSO., E. Yorks. Capt. J.C. Richardson, DCM, W.A. Regt., E.A. Siddle, Canadians and Major H. W. Thelwal l, W.I. Regt. made the supreme sacrifice.

From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes. Lodge 390

16 February, 1927 - Read letter from Lodge 390, West India Regiment, returning the Warrant as the Regiment has been disbanded. Recommended acceptance with regret.

Reissued to 'South Carolina Lodge' in Kingston, Jamaica, 16 December 1927.

From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes. Lodge 390

16 November, 1927 - Read Memorial from various praying for a warrant to establish a Lodge in Kingston, Jamaica to be called the South Carolina. Recommended. Grand Lodge Minutes 1st December, 1927 - Confirmed

In November, 1953 HM. Queen Elizabeth and Bro. H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh paid a visit to Jamaica. Along with the English and Scottish Constitutions, the Lodge

presented an Illuminated Address to W. Bro. Sir Hugh Foot, Governor of Jamaica, for transmission to Her Majesty'

The warrant No 390 is currently held by Lodge South Carolina at Kingston, Jamaica.


West African Regiment Lodge No 157

In the history of this Lodge Jack Dimmer was a founding member on 2nd October 1908, he was at this stage a Fellow Craft of Lodge 390.

The warrant No 157 was issued to brethren in Dublin, on 7th May 1747.29 years later 4th July 1776. The warrant was again reissued to Wm. Young, Peter Stewart and Alex. Adams, all from Lodge No. 818, to form a Lodge in Stranocum, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, 4th October 1810. The warrant was cancelled on 6th August 1840 for going in procession. Lodges 64, 91, 96, 197, 229, 231, 298, 302, 818, 829, and 1001 were also suspended for going in Masonic Procession which Nos. were to be cancelled unless they sent in their Warrants. On 18th June, 1842 - Grand Lodge had an application from Lodges 229, 157, 818 and 96 praying for the restoration of their warrant which was recommended by Archdeacon Mant. It was ordered that said Lodges be restored to good standing.

The warrant was cancelled, 7th August 1851 for non-payment of arrears and reissued to 'Hibernia Lodge' in Lima, Peru, 9th July 1863. Grand Lodge records show that Warrant No. 157 Lima, Peru, S. America as Hibernia Lodge", 9th July, 1863. Richard Higgins Kartley (151); Robert Britten (151) and Thomas Theelock (151) registered along with eight others from various lodges, 9th July, 1863. This seemed to be a short-lived solution for there were no returns after 1868. Warrant No 157 was dropped from List, of Lodges in 1882.

Warrant No 157 was reissued to Meredith P. Whitla (Lodge 794), Rev. Chas. Knox Pooler (Lodge 409) and Francis J. Kennedy (Lodge 36) to form ' Ormeau' Lodge in Ballynafeigh, Belfast, 7th December 1894.

29 October, 1894 - Read an application from Bros. Whitla, Pooler, Kennedy and three others for a Warrant to hold a Lodge in Ballynafeigh, Co. Down. Recommended by Lodges 198, 1000 and 37 and by the P.G.M.of Down. Regular fee enclosed. The Board recommend the prayer of the Memorialists be granted and a Warrant to be issued numbered 157.

Grand Lodge Minutes dated 6th December, 1894 - Confirmed the grant of warrant No 157.

The Lodge was constituted by Rt. Wor. Bro. Major Leslie J. Thompson P.D.G.M. on 29th March 1895 at the Masonic Rooms, Ballynafeigh, Belfast from whence it was removed to Rosetta School-room, Ballynafeigh, Belfast 1897.

31st December 1906 - Read communication from Lodge 157 Ballynafeigh Surrendering the Warrant owing to the place of meeting not being convenient to the majority of the members. The Board recommended that it be received in Trust.

Records show that the warrant No 157 was surrendered, 7th March 1907 and reissued to ' Babadori Lodge' in the WEST AFRICAN REGIMENT, on 2nd October 1908.

From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes it is recorded that on the 28th September, 1908 - Read Memorial from Bros. Menage, Taylor, Watts and 26 others praying for a warrant to establish a Lodge in the West African Regiment at present stationed in Sierra Leone to be called the Babadori. Recommended by Lodge 390, West Indian Regiment and by Lodge 2506 EC. - Recommended.

Lodge 2056 EC is St George's Freetown, Sierra Leone Grand Lodge Minutes dated 1st October 1908 - Confirmed From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge. Board of General Purposes. Lodge 157 and 390

3 October, 1910 - Read a letter from Lodge 157 West African Regiment asking if the Lodge is subject to the rules governing Colonial Lodges, having regard to the fact that the Regiment is permanently stationed outside the United Kingdom. The Board resolved that the Lodge should be subject to the Laws and fees applicable to Colonial Lodges and that Lodge 390 West India Regiment being in the same position should be treated in the same manner, the change to come into force from the 1st January next. One hundred and five members served in the 1914-18 War and Bros. Lieut. F. Andrew, G. Beaton, Capt. J. Bremner, L. Canton, Lt. Col. J.H.S. Dinner, VC., H. McGuirk, Capt. T.H. Mills, DSO., Capt. H.M. Powell, Capt. J.C. Richardson, DCM.. Lieut. ,T.H. Rigby, G.F. Stevens and Major W.F. Williams made the supreme sacrifice. A total of 73 brethren registered up to 5 April, 1928. In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the rank of the brother.

Warrant surrendered to Grand Lodge on 29th September 1928 on the occasion of the disbandment of the West African Regiment.

From the Minutes of the Grand Lodge. Board of General Purposes. Lodge 157

19 September, 1928 - Read letter from Lodge 157, West African Regiment returning the Warrant as the Regiment has been disbanded. The Board recommended acceptance with regret.

Grand Lodge Minutes 29 September, 1928 - Confirmed

From the Minutes of the G. L. Board of G. P. Lodge 157

15 September, 1977 - Read Memorial for the issue of a New Warrant to establish a Lodge at Accra, Ghana to be called "Anniversary" No. 157. The Memorial was recommended by the P.G.M. of Ghana.

G.M.L. 8 October 1977 - Confirmed

This warrant is currently held by Anniversary Lodge.






Possessed of all the qualities that go to the making of a successful soldier, it only required the upheaval of the present war to bring a man like Capt. Dimmer, V.C., to the top. Born in 1884, he started life as a Civil Engineer in 1901, and after passing through a Cadet Battalion enlisted in the Regiment in 1902, and served with the 4th Battalion in South Africa. In 1906 he was sent to Belgium and Germany to study the military methods of their armies, and in 1908, on the recom­mendation of Lord Methuen, was given a commission in the Regiment. He then went to the West African Regiment, where he served for six years, being promoted Captain. Returning from West Africa at the outbreak of the present war he joined the 2nd Battalion, and was brought into considerable prominence by his gallant conduct on November 12th, 1914, at Klein Zillebeke, when he was mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Victoria Cross. The text in the London Gazette stated:­" This officer served his machine gun during the attack on November 12th until he had been wounded five times, and continued at his post until his gun was destroyed."

On recovering from his wounds he was appointed Brigade Major to the 92nd Brigade, and was awarded the Military Cross for devotion to duty between October 29th and October 31st. 1914, and " for gallantry displayed on many occasions."

On relinquishing his Staff appointment he was ordered to join the 3rd Battalion in Salonika, being appointed Brigade Machine Gun Officer to the 10th Division. Though suffering from malaria he refused to go home, and then joined the Salonika Flying Corps and obtained his Observer's Certificate. His health then broke down and he was invalided to England. In February. 1917, he again joined the 2nd Battalion, but contracting septic poisoning he was brought home. On recovering he was appointed to command the 2/4th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regi­ment, and during the latter phases of the Battle of Cambrai was in command of the storming detachment attached to the Guards. For his work on this occasion he was congratulated by the Divisional and Brigade Commanders. He fell whilst leading his Battalion on March 21st at the commencement of the great German offensive 1918, at Marteville, north-west of' St. Quentin, being shot through the head in the act of ordering his men to charge.          Dimmer mounted a white charger during the fighting – somewhat conspicuous on the battlefield – and was killed shortly afterwards. Buried by the Germans, his grave was recovered from an isolated spot on the battlefield after the war.


Although swept with a torrent of machine­gun fire his Battalion, thanks to Dimmer's splendid example, stood their ground magnificently, and only gave way when ordered to retire and cover the retirement of the Brigade, which task they heroically fulfilled for four days. An officer of his Battalion writes: -" The Colonel was like a father to us, we all had implicit faith in him, and loved him dearly."

Captain Dimmer's chief characteristics were energy, a natural ability for military work, and ambition. These qualities com­bined assisted him in his rapid promotion, which was thoroughly deserved. His gallantry was unsurpassed.

                        KINGS ROYAL RIFLE CORPS CHRONICLE (1918) PAGES 323-324


Maissemy is a village about 5 kilometres north-west of St.Quentin and about two kilometres north of the small town of Vermand. Vadencourt British Cemetery lies to the north of Maissemy and is on the west side of the road from Vermand to Bellenglise.

Maissemy passed into British hands in 1917. It was captured by the enemy on the 21st March, 1918, in spite of a strong resistance by the 24th Division and the 2/14th Royal Berks; and retaken by the lst Division on the following 15th September: At the beginning of October; the IX Corps Main Dressing Station was at Vadencaurt. Vadencourt British Cemetery (called at first Vadencourt New British Cemetery) was begun in August, 1917, by fighting units, and used until March; 1918; and in October and November, 1918, it was used by the 5th, 47th and 6lst Casualty Clearing Stations (at Biheeourt, on the road to Vermand) as well as by Field Ambulances: These original graves are in Plots I-1II; and after the Armistice those plots were enlarged, and Plots IV and V made, by the concentration of graves from the surrounding battlefields and from a few small burial grounds. These scattered graves were mainly of April, 1917; and March, April, September and October, 1918; and many of them represented casualties of the 59th (North Midland) Division. At the same time four French,  I American and 28 German Graves, all of October, 1918; were removed to other cemeteries. There are now over 750, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 200 are unidentified: Five Indian Cavalry soldiers, whose bodies were cremated, are named on special memorials. The Cemetery covers an area of 2,953 square metres and is enclosed by a rubble wall. The cemeteries from which British graves were removed to Vadencourt British Cemetery included these two: VADENCOURT CHATEAU CEMETERY, a little further West, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom and six from Canada were buried in August. 1917. VENDELLES CHURCHYARD EXTENSION, made by the 59th Division in April, 1917, and containing the graves of 36 soldiers from the United Kingdom.


After her husband’s death Mrs. Dimmer married an Irish Peer, Lord Garvagh at St Matthew’s Church Bayswater London on New Year’s Day 1919. After the War the local Council at Wimbledon discussed erecting a suitable memorial to Dimmer’s memory. His mother however was invited to lay one of the wreaths at the unveiling of the Wimbledon war memorial.


Jack Dimmer had been offered the freedom of the Borough of Wimbledon in April 1915 but modestly declined the offer in a letter published in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press;


Whilst I appreciate the great honour, I beg to decline the same.

Too much publicity has been given my name already, and has

caused me a great deal of worry and annoyance. To accept the

freedom would only bring further publicity and such is not in

accordance with the traditions of the service.

                              SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS 1915


When Dimmer had been referring to the publicity he had already received he was taking into account occasions like the visit to Harrow School with Brigadier-General Colomb to inspect and take the March Past at the School's Officers' Training Corps.



Jack Dimmer is remembered on the above headstone, on the Royal Rifle Corps Memorial, Winchester Cathedral and in the civic offices of the London Borough of Morden in an official block called Crown House. In 1997 Merton's only recipient of the Victoria Cross has been honoured 83 years after he received the medal. Relatives of Col Jack Dimmer saw a plaque unveiled in his memory by the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Sheila Knight, at the Civic Centre in Morden. He received the VC for his actions on November 12, 1914 near Klein Zillebeke in Belgium. Despite being shot and wounded five times, he stayed at the controls of a machine gun and is credited with saving many British lives. His nephew, surveyor Ronald Dimmer, 81, said: "He was not a man who would boast about his achievements, but what he did was remarkable. He should be remembered." He received the VC from King George V at Buckingham Palace.

The medal is at the headquarters of Col Dimmer's old regiment, the Royal Green Jackets. A guard of honour from the regiment attended the ceremony. Lt Col Michael Smith, 44, said: "It took me 24 years to become a lieutenant colonel, whereas it only took Mr Dimmer four."

The plaque was discovered in the Civic Centre's basement in November 1997.

A council spokesman said: "It went missing a few years ago when the Civic Centre was rebuilt. We felt it should be put in a place of honour." The plaque was originally unveiled in the building in 1985 after the then council leader Harry Cowd found out about the hero.

In 1919 the council decided to erect a memorial to Col Dimmer but gave the task to a committee, which never reached a decision. Col Dimmer died in action when shot in the head by a sniper near St Quentin, France in 1918, aged 35.



This paper has plotted the short life of a Mason and very brave soldier of the First World War. He was an honour to both Masonry and his Regiment. He had been twice decorated for gallantry, was mentioned in despatches and had gained the most coveted award the Victoria Cross in one of the most deserved cases which was even by the standards of the First World War exceptional bravery. Sadly Bro Lt Col John Dimmer VC, MC did not survive the war, being killed 8 months prior to the Armistice on 11th November 1918. He has at times been erroneously referred to as Brigadier General Dimmer as the photograph at the end of this paper suggests. Had Jack Dimmer survived he may have attained even higher military rank.

Bro Dimmer VC, MC is remembered by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in its Roll of Honour for the Great War 1914-1919. At page 61 of that volume under Lodge 157, West African Regiment, he is called Dinner which was obviously a transcription error. He is also remembered at page 147 Lodge 390, 1" Batt. West Indian Regiment, where he is correctly called Dimmer JHS, VC, Lt.-Col., KRR & WA Regt. His membership of the two military Lodges is not unusual. There were several members of both Lodges e.g. Lieut. Fredrick Andrews, Col Bonham Faunce, CSM Robert S Gelling, Capt. Frederick Samuel King, *Capt. Thos H Mills, DSO, Capt. Henry M Powell, *Capt. JC Richardson, DCM, QMS Thomas Richardson, QMS David Scott and Frank Sleight. Those above marked with an asterisk * also like John Dimmer paid the supreme sacrifice.




Cochrane K, R.W/Bro Irish Masonic Records 2nd Edition The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Hallows, Ian S, (1994) Regiments and Corps of the British Army, New Orchard Editions, London

King’s Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle, (1918) 

Grand Lodge of Masons Ireland, Minute Books of Lodges 390 and 157

Royal Green Jackets Correspondence with Col (Retd) IH McCausland 2003

Suffolk and Essex Free Press 1915