The Sir Henry Wilson Memorial Temperance Royal Black Preceptory No.1104 was formed in Bangor on 10th August 1922 in memory of the North Down Member of Parliament Sir Henry Wilson who was shot dead on the doorstep of his London home by Roman Catholic Republicans (IRA) in June 1922.
Born in Edgeworthson, County Longford in 1864 Sir Henry Wilson was a career soldier who served in Burma and fought in the Boer War (1899-1901) before being made commander of the British Staff College. In 1910 he was appointed director of military operations at the War Ministry a position in which he worked closely with Ferdinand Foch to ensure Anglo-French co-operation in the event of war with Germany.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Wilson was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front and acted as Chief Liaison Officer with the French Army, until poor relations with Henri-Philippe caused him to be withdrawn to Britain in May 1917.
In London he worked closely with David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister who along with Wilson was critical of the way in which the British Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig was conducting the war effort. In March 1918 Lloyd George appointed Wilson as Imperial Chief of Staff and in this position he supported the decision to make his old ally Ferdinand Foch, Allied Supreme Commander during the final stages of the war.
After the war he retired form the army and successfully stood for election as MP for North Down.
Originally encamped in the District of Newtownards the first officers of the Preceptory were Sir Knight James Beattie, Worshipful Master with Sir Knight Robert McCoubrey as his deputy. The first Chaplain was Sir Knight John Murphy who hailed from Groomsport. The first dues were set at sixpence (2½p).
During its first decade the Preceptory grew rapidly and in 1933 could boast a membership of over 60. Such was the growth that a separate night had to be set aside as a degree night. Prior to its transfer to the new Bangor District in 1956 the membership had increased to over 90. This growth and strength seems to have been achieved by the membership being sourced from all the local lodges and this, many believe, has been the strength and resilience of RBP 1104.
Over the years the Sir Knights of RBP 1104 have played an active part in the working of the Bangor District Chapter and have provided many capable and energetic members who have held responsible and important positions within that Chapter and 2011 will be no different as Sir Knight Gavin McCullough will (DV) be installed as District Master in June.
Sir Henry Wilson Memorial Temperance Royal Black Preceptory No.1104 continues to grow in strength with new members being added annually. The Sir Knights who meet in Crawfordsburn Orange Hall on the Second Tuesday of each month are looking forward to the future with a renewed hope and optimism.