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Eulogy: Worshipful Brother David Warner

Editor Comments: W Bro. Manoj Sharma submitted this article to the Ashlar Newsletter in December of 2018. We regret not publishing it in our January 2019 issue. It is now presented to honor the memory of our late Worshipful Brother David Warner.

10th August 2018

Freemasons Hall, Coleman Street, Singapore

Delivered in The Zetland In The East Lodge No 508 E.C. on the 10th of August 2018 by W Bro Manoj Sharma.

Worshipful Brother David Warner was born on the 20th of August 1936, in Surrey, England.

He started working at the age of 15, in the Royal Navy. Because he was lightly educated, he went in at the lowest level, which in those days was a Boy Seaman. But true to his endeavoring character came out as a highly specialized Master Clearance Diver and a senior instructor of divers on HMS Vernon. While there he met and married Rosemary who was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

In 1963, he came to Singapore. He worked as a diving superintendent for salvage engineers Selco and he stayed with the company for 30 years. So passionate was he about his professional craft that he turned one of the rooms at his home into a historical museum of deep sea diving equipment! True to his nature, he left Selco which over time became SEMCO, as the Chairman of the diving company and the Director of port operations.

He was Initiated in The Zetland In The East Lodge on the 10th of October 1974, by W Bro Wong Yow Chuen (W Bro Jack Wong’s elder brother), Passed on the 14th of February 1975 and Raised on the 12th of March 1976.

According to his son Lee Warner, he found the Lodge to be the perfect opportunity for him to learn. So he learnt. Not just his lines, which he says his father learnt at every opportunity, be he at home or in public, but also about the finer things that Freemasonry gives a man an opportunity to learn - about the world and himself.

He was Installed as the Worshipful Master of The Zetland In The East Lodge in December 1984.

He had the distinct privilege of initiating his son Lee Warner, and making him his Brother in October 1985. This would have been his last opportunity to do so, as November 1985 would have been a Past Master’s Night. Subsequently, he held many positions in Zetland and is best remembered for being one of our most amiable and effective Directors of Ceremonies. W Bro David was the seconder for W Bro Shiv Banerjee (Who himself, through deed, after the passing of W Bro David demonstrated the first principle of Freemasonry; Brotherly Love. And amply showcased by example how we should as a Fraternity conduct ourselves. The lesson will not be lost.) W Bro Shiv remembers W Bro David and Rosemary being the heart and soul of Zetland’s Ladies’ Nights once control was handed over to the Master of Ceremony!

W Bro David was honored by District and took on several ranks. Recognized with an initial District Grand rank of PDGStwd in 1989, W Bro David was then invested with the acting rank of DSGD in 1992; just 3 years after his initial rank.

He left Singapore in 1994 at the age of 58, after spending 31 years in Singapore. W Bro Shiv, feels that had he stayed on he would undoubtedly have been one of the rulers of the craft. Such was the caliber of the man.

He remained active as a Mason in the UK, but only as a visitor. He never felt inclined to join a Lodge there. The reason: he found the fraternal bonds he had established in Singapore were not replicable, and his Mother Lodge was inimitable.

Back in the UK, he gave his time to various worthwhile causes. He volunteered at the Woodlarks Centre for the handicapped. He was good with his hands. At one summer camp for handicapped children, he built what I can only imagine to be a cleverly designed flying fox, so the children could enjoy the freedom of travelling through the air, even if they were wheelchair bound.

He started suffering from dementia in 2013.

He was made an Honorary Mason in The Zetland In The East Lodge on the 11th of July 2014.

His wife Rosemary Warner, did her best to look after him. In 2016, to ensure he got the best care possible, he spent the last 2 years of his life at the Royal Masonic Hospital.

He slipped into a coma on the 12th of July 2018. He had made it clear to family that he appreciated life for what it was, and did not want to be around for longer than TGAOTU designed for him to be.

On the 22nd of July 2018, Worshipful Brother David Warner gently laid down his working tools that served him so well in life, and passed away peacefully. He was 81.

His funeral was held on the 1st of August 2018 at 3pm in the UK. It was followed by the Wake. Prior to that, the following condolence note was sent to his family, on behalf of the

Brethren of The Zetland In The East Lodge.

We mourn with you, the loss of our Brother. Our thoughts turn to the silent realm, where there is peace which the world can neither give nor take away. We consider with you the uncertainty of human life, the absolute certainty of death, and that change is written upon every living thing.

In the grave all ranks are leveled and all distinctions are done away. And while our eyes may be dim with emotion as we think of our departed Brother, we may in the sincerity of our hearts, accord to his memory the commendation of having lived a useful and exemplary life, as a just and upright Mason. We join with you in this tribute of affection and in deep appreciation for all that Worshipful Brother David did while in Singapore for his Mother Lodge that he held so dear, and the Brethren whose lives he generously touched. Brethren, that was just a small glimpse into the extraordinary life of Worshipful Brother David that I could pull together with the very generous assistance of Bro Lee Warner, W Bro Shiv Banerjee, W Bro Jack Wong, W Bro Alan Ching and W Bro Koh Geok Hwee; our Lodge Secretary.

He is remembered by those who new him as a generous, considerate and caring man. I hear stories of him always making himself available to chaperone W Bro Alan Ching around. He was resolute, determined and did everything to a high standard; and that was not just true in the Lodge. He spent years learning Malay without telling anyone about it, until he felt he was ready to converse at a very good level. He was deeply pious. He had an undying love for his Mother Lodge, for whom he did so much on the quiet without ever looking for commendation. He is survived by Rosemary and his children Lee and Serena.

Sadly, I never had the opportunity to know Worshipful Brother David personally, but since his passing, having spoken with the Brethren who did, I now feel I do. It’s a shame to have lost him, but it’s clear from what we know, that we are all better of that he was with us and contributed so handsomely to our Mother Lodge.

Worshipful Brother David Warner was a good man, he served his fellow human beings well and was an honorable Mason too.

May he rest in peace, in the Grand Lodge Above.