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Behind Wire

“Behind the Wire,” by Keith Flynn
book review by F.E.Poke, 28 Dec 1998

by Keith Flynn
available from the author, Bro. Flynn, c/o Cardiff Masonic Hall, 8 Guildford Street, Cardiff, Wales CF1 4HL, [email protected]

“BEHIND THE WIRE” by Bro. Keith Flynn OBE (Prestonian Lecturer 1991)
REVIEW by MWBro. Maj-Gen F E Poke, AO. RFD. ED.
Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria 1991 – 1993

“For centuries, Freemasons have answered the Call to Arms when their way of life has been threatened, or the land of their birth has had to be defended against the aggression of a territorially ambitious nation.

In such situations, war, in all its terrifying forms invariably followed, as did casualties in each of the recognised classifications – “Killed” “Wounded” and “POW”. War respects no person. It ravages all who engage in it, regardless of country, colour, class or creed. Freemasons, together with their Comrades in Arms, have fallen victim to all of these forms of casualty.

Whereas within the community there is some appreciation of the consequence of being a casualty within the former classifications little is comprehended, known or appreciated of the trauma which confronts victims of the latter category.

Through his study of the activities of Freemasons who have been POW’s and in writing this book – “Behind The Wire” – Brother Keith Flynn has afforded those who read it an insight into the deep emotional appeal of Freemasonry to its members, and the hope and strength it inspired in them. Equally, it highlights the dedication, ingenuity and initiative shown by many in practising the teachings of the Craft under conditions of the most severe privation and even in moments of doubt. Brother Flynn also touches briefly on the accounts of some Brethren who were imprisoned as civilian Internees during the Second World War.

As he conducts his reader through many prisoners’ experiences in different wars, but, more especially in World War II, and recalls some of the activities of that select group of Masons, the reader cannot but be moved and inspired by the revelations of the hope those Brethren derived from their association with the Craft. Brother Flynn encapsulates the crux of those many experiences in the closing chapter of the book when he writes: “Down the years and across the world, Freemasons from many lands have met with imprisonment with a determination to maintain their morale, their spirit and their will to survive, through the practice of profound beliefs buried deep in the heart of the Order”.

How fortunate that such a work is available to those who are keen on developing an understanding of this little known aspect of Masonic life!

The publication compliments Brother Flynn’s other work “Freemasons at War”. It is recommended reading for Brethren who desire to take simply a glimpse into inspiration the teachings of the Order afforded Brethren who have been involuntarily separated from their homes, comrades and loved ones for long, weary periods, owing to their willingness to serve their Homeland in its hour of peril and, have been, as a consequence, taken prisoner

To read the book and contemplate its contents is a richly-rewarding experience.”

F.E.POKE 28 Dec 1998

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