Page 3 - December 2017
P. 3

                                  FROM THE MASTER
From the Master
John Mansfield
Earlier in the year I had an interesting discussion with Past Master Jeremy Beech who told me that he was part of the team which was negotiating our Coat of Arms with the Herald at the College of Arms. Jeremy remarked that he found this challenging because people there spoke a rather unusual version of English. I remembered that conversation when the College of Arms very helpfully provided me with the following explanation of the Armorial bearing of the Aldermanic Sherriff, Tim Hailes and I quote verbatim:-
“The arms are described as such: the blazon of the arms is: Per Chevron Azure platy and Or a Fleur-De-Lys in base Gules. The blazon of the crest is; Or a wreath Argent and Gules. A griffin sejant erect Gules winged Azure platy beaked and legged Or holding in the dexter forefoot a sword erect Argent hilt and pommel Gules and resting the sinister forefoot upon a bezant.” Obviously!
Apart from having to concur with the perceived wisdom we all recognise exists within
our cadre of our Past Masters, what else have I learnt in my first three months as the Master Firefighter? I am honoured to say that everywhere I have found absolute and profound respect and appreciation for the profession of Firefighter. It makes me proud of you all, if a little guilty that your Master is really masquerading as a Firefighter since, as most of you know, I was by profession a Corporate Banker. In my defence, I can at least claim a direct (if admittedly rather tenuous) link to the Great Fire of 1666 in that I once worked in theofficesofLloydsBankwhich had been built on the exact site of Thomas Faryners bakers shop in Pudding Lane.
At the time of writing, I have attended 17 events on your behalf. The most enjoyable for me thus far proved to be an invitation from the Clockmakers Company to attend a Freedom ceremony for Herr Thomas Krosnchang who is a German Fire Chief. I received my own Freedom on the 10th October 1985 and I had not been in the Chamberlain’s Court since that date. I am sure that the various explanations provided by the Chamberlain did not happen back in my day. Whether they were making a special effort because he was German I do not know but I am glad they did. Chief Krosnchang was accompanied by several members of his watch and it was interesting to talk with them (their English was frankly a lot better than my German) and to find that their experiences are very close to ours. At the conclusion of the event the Chief presented me with a bronze of St Florian which can now be seen in the office.
All members of the Company shouldbejustifiablyproudofthe achievements of our Charitable Trust which does magnificent work. Nevertheless it remains of concern that some members of the company do not support the Charity with donations. Part of my mission for my year will be to contact those members who do not currently support the Trust to ask them to consider doing so. To misuse Tesco’s slogan “every little helps”. Those of you who attended Common Hall in July were I think a little surprised to learn that, as well as masquerading as a Firefighter, I also masquerade to an extent as an Englishman since, in my more wistful moments, I also consider myself as a Viking. The fact that I am rather handicapped by being neither blond nor blue eyed is not evidential of this clearly, but my mother’s family all came to England from Denmarkjustunder200years ago - it seems EU migration is not such a new phenomenon as we believe. My mother’s family remain Amundsens to this day. Although not himself a Viking, my father also had a Viking name because he was Eric, and whilst I was named after Eric’s own father John who served in the Royal Navy until his destroyer was blown out of the water at the Battle of Jutland, I still feel that my delusions are fair enough. And as I go forth as your Master over the next 9 months or so, what do I expect? I have no idea but as my ancestors would have said “Wyd Bir Ful Araed” which means fate is inexorable.
John Mansfield
Worshipful Company of Firefighters
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