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MEC WS Birrell, Hon Depute First Grand Principal, Past Grand Superintendent, 1969 - 1974
Photo taken 30 Oct 2004

William Stewart Birrell
26th October 1912 - 19th June 2006
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The following are details of William Stewart Birrell as supplied by Sandy himself ! 
Personal History .......
Sandy was born on 26 October 1912 in Renfrew in Scotland. After leaving school he served a 6-year apprenticeship as an Electrical Engineer with Babcock & Wilcox in 1928 - 1934. He continued working there until 1936 when he emigrated to South Africa, landing in Cape Town in November 1936. SA Railways employed him at Salt River until he came to Johannesburg in February 1937, where he was employed by the SA Railways at Braamfontein until May 1937. Sandy was then employed by the Johannesburg Electricity Department at Jeppe and Yeoville sub-stations until May 1938. Thereafter he was employed variously at SA Land Gold Mine (Sallies), Daggafontein Gold Mine, City Deep Gold Mine, Rand Mines Head Office, Sandton City and the Carlton Centre, until he finally retired in 1994 aged 82 years. 
Masonic History .......

William Stewart Birrell was Initiated into Lodge Prince of Wales Renfrew 426 SC on 13th October 1936. He was Passed to the Second Degree on 27th October the same year, prior to emigrating to South Africa in November that year. Sandy was Raised to the Third Degree as a favour to Lodge Prince of Wales Renfrew 426 SC, by Lodge Caledonian 1046, in December 1938. He affiliated to Lodge Caledonian 1046 SC at the same time, eventually becoming RWM of that lodge in 1943-44. He then served as Secretary of that lodge from 1945 to 1969. In 1941 he was Exalted into Scotia Royal Arch Chapter 338 SC, Elevated and Received into Scotia Lodge & Council 338 SC in 1942 and Honoured, Chosen and Greeted into Golden Thistle Cryptic Council 245 SC in 1943. In 1944 Sandy was Perfected into the 18th Degree in Rosslyn Sovereign Chapter 14 SC, and soon thereafter he was Received and Admitted into the Deep Level Preceptory and Priory of the Knights Templar. He was Advanced and Promoted to the Transvaal Provincial Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland in 1949. 

Photo taken at the 2004 Installation weekend of Harmony Royal Arch Chapter, Barberton.

 William Stewart Birrell has served with great distinction in Freemasonry in general for over 68 years and was still active at the respectable age of 92 years. He had Honorary membership of too many lodges, chapters, sovereign chapters, sovereign councils etc. to mention them in detail. Some of his outstanding accomplishments are: Depute District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Transvaal in 1958 -1963. Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in 1969 -1974 Deputy Grand Prior of the District Grand Priory of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in 1973-1983 Provincial Grand Master of Transvaal Provincial Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland in1973-1978. Deputy for Scotland for the Province of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, of the 33rd and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in 1985 - 1995. Appointed as a member of the Supreme Council of the 33rd and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1995.

 (Note: The first and only mason in SA to be so honoured!).