Dunblane Massacre: Suspicions grow that killer followed grandfather into the Freemasons

Masonic link may explain Hamilton's 'charmed life'

The Scotsman - Friday, 22 March 1996

QUESTIONS are being asked whether the Dunblane primary school killer, Thomas Hamilton, abused a position as a Freemason for almost 20 years in order to gain influence with people in authority.

A Labour MP who has campaigned against secret societies said last night that Hamilton's membership of the Freemasons could explain his "apparently charmed life" and should be investigated by Lord Cullen's inquiry into the Massacre.

People have said that Hamilton was a Freemason and may have socialised with people of influence while attending Masonic meetings and functions.

A senior Scottish Freemason told The Scotsman that Hamilton had been a Mason for a number of years and had visited functions at different lodges.

"Although I believe his lodge did not knowingly protect him, I am sure that favours between individual brothers would have been exchanged," he said.

The Scotsman has obtained a list of more than 100 senior Freemasons in the Central Belt of Scotland in an effort to trace Hamilton's own lodge membership.  Of the dozen we contacted most refused to confirm or categorically deny that Hamilton was a Freemason.

The Scotsman has also discovered that Hamilton's grandfather Jimmy - who raised him after his natural parents separated - has been a Freemason [Ed. ~ Garrowhill (Lanarkshire Middle Ward) No. 1413, 118 Garrowhill Drive, Garrowhill, Glasgow G69 6NR] for more than 40 years, and that Hamilton had probably followed the natural course into the lodge.

One past master of a Stirling lodge said that Jimmy, now aged 88, had often attended functions at his lodge.  He had not met Thomas Hamilton, but thought that he would have followed his grandfather into Freemasonry.

A grand master of another Stirlingshire lodge said he was "wary about saying too much" because of the sensitivity surrounding the massacre.

However, he added: "I've known old Jimmy for many years and he was a member of a Glasgow lodge.  I don't know about [Thomas], but it is likely he would have followed Jimmy into his lodge."

Although Freemasonry is virtually unknown at the top of Scottish business, many of its members are shopkeepers - such as Hamilton - lawyers, middle managers and police officers.  As the owner of a DIY shop, Hamilton would have been a natural Freemason.

Martin Short, the author of Inside the Brotherhood - a book on Freemasonry - says the most common form of entry into Freemasonry is for a father to sponsor the son into the apprenticeship.  He adds that "an astonishing" 20 per cent of police officers are currently Freemasons.

Chris Mullen, the Labour MP who had campaigned against secret societies, said he found the alleged Masonic link with Hamilton "very interesting".

"It certainly provides a possible explanation of the apparently charmed life that Hamilton led," he said.  "This is obviously a matter that Lord Cullen will wish to explore as part of his inquiry."  [As a member of the Masonic Speculative Society of Edinburgh (Spec) it is obviously a matter Cullen would wish to avoid, and did avoid, resolutely, at all costs, despite my letters to him expressing the exigency of exploring the Masonic implication.

Last night, a spokesman for the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh admitted it did not have a collated database of its members and could not be certain whether or not Hamilton was a Freemason.

Another spokesman for the Grand Lodge said if a lodge became aware that one of its members was trying to misuse membership, then they had the powers to throw them out.

In the past year, 20 people have been thrown out nationally after being convicted of criminal offences, but no figures are kept centrally of those expelled for misuse of their membership.

 

The following article appeared on the same page (page 2) as the one above

The Scotsman, Friday, 22 March 1996
Secret brotherhood which protects its own
Fred Bridgland

THE Freemasons of Britain are strongly protective of their fellow Masons.  They rarely punish brethren who break the criminal law of the land, Martin Short, author of a best-selling investigation into Freemasonry [Ed. ~ "Inside the Brother-hood"], last night told The Scotsman.

"Scotland is a place where one Mason looks after another," said Mr Short.  "If Thomas Hamilton was one of the brethren it's pretty bad news for the Masons because one is inclined to assume he may well have received favours."  They would not allow one of their own brethren to be exposed to public ridicule and would do everything to avoid his membership being known.

Short, whose book Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons was first published in 1989, referred to a local government ombudsman decision in Hamilton's favour in 1983.  The ombudsman overturned a decision by Central Regional Council to end his lease of Dunblane High School premises for his boys' club, the Dunblane Rover Group.

"The fact that he managed to bamboozle the ombudsman suggests that the ombudsman was bombarded by letters," said Mr Short.  "If he managed to convince the ombudsman that he was OK, you can be sure that his lodge would have felt at least equally strongly.  The Masons in the lodge would not have wanted to think ill of him and would therefore have tried to protect him from allcomers."

Social pressures make it difficult for an honest Mason to complain about criminal or immoral conduct by his brothers, said Mr Short.  In fact, it would be the complainant, not the wrongdoers, who faced ostracism and probable exclusion from the lodge.

Mr Short said Masonry was an organisation of men only who voluntarily swear mutual aid and to guard each other's secrets: it has its own strict rules, inquiry systems, punishments and courts of appeal.  He said that when it became known he was researching his book he lost count of the brethren who cautioned him to "watch out" or "take care".

Mr Short went on: "One man whose evidence sent a fellow Mason to jail told me of his fears during that trial and the extreme precautions he had taken to stay alive.  He advised me to do the same."

Mr Short's 711-page book lists some of the reasons why he was inclined to take the advice seriously.  It also lists some of the bizarre initiation ceremonies of Masonry.  Mr Short, for example, describes a Masonic lodge in Lincolnshire where a candidate Mason is lowered into a trap below the temple floor on the Friday before full moon to confront a female skeleton as a symbol of mortality.

Several traditional crafts and professions are bastions of Freemasonry, Mr Short argues.  In his book he points to the example of the Metropolitan Police where, in 1987, he identified one assistant commissioner, two deputy assistant commissioners, 12 commanders, 23 chief superintendents and seven chief inspectors as members of a single Masonic lodge[Ed. ~ Thomas Hamilton was accused by Tam Dalyell MP of being a police informer.]

Mr Short argues that Freemasonry extends into local government, the armed services, industry and the intelligent services to an extent that would astonish non-Masons.  He says 100,000, or one in 14 of Scotland's working population, are Freemasons.

 

Copyright © 2016 Billy Burns. All rights reserved.

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Dunblane Massacre
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Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Victoria Clydesdale
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
Charlotte Dunn
Mhairi MacBeath
Melissa Currie
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
List of the victims of the Dunblane Massacre
The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 Massacre
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We know that the above victims were killed by Thomas Hamilton, but, although we may not care, we do not know for sure who killed Thomas Hamilton, and why that person was carrying a revolver at the time!
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