M. E. Comp. W.Bel Burrowes 33° DGK 1936 - 1946

M. E. Comp. W.Bel Burrowes M.E. Companion Wm. Bel Burrowes was Chief Cashier of the Belfast Telegraph and associated papers and had been closely identified with the formation of District Grand Chapter, having acted as Secretary of the preliminary Committee and held the office of Grand Second Principal in 1911 and District Grand Registrar from 1911 till his appointment as Deputy Grand First Principal in 1930. He was a foundation member and Past King of R.A.C. 188 - a Chapter which has probably provided more District Grand Officers than any other.
In 1915 he was appointed Representative of the Grand Chapter of Louisiana at the Supreme Grand Chapter of Ireland and was presented with his patent on 16th September, 1915, and with the collar and jewel of office on 16th December following.
His immense service to the District Grand Chapter was recognised when on 18th March, 1931, he was presented with a miniature sceptre as Deputy Grand First Principal, and again when his portrait was unveiled at Rosetta Hall by M.E. Companion S. G. Fenton on 15th March, 1933, and accepted on behalf of the Directors by the Chairman, M.E. Companion T. H. Keown. It is of interest to note that V.E. Companion W. J. Price, J.P., acted as secretary of the Portrait Committee.

His appointment as Grand First Principal was announced in District Grand Chapter by the Grand King on 17th September, 1936, and he was installed in Grand Chapter at Belfast on 6th November, 1936, and appointed V.E. Companion Sydney Hanna the District Grand Registrar as his Deputy, which dual offices Companion Hanna filled for a period of four years.
He first presided as Grand First Principal in District Grand Chapter on 2nd December, 1936, when he was accorded the Honours with which he had been saluted in Grand Chapter after installation. This was the germ which developed into the custom of saluting the presiding officer in District Grand Chapter after the opening ceremony with what was termed “Grand Honours”—now discontinued.
To M.E. Companion Burrowes fell the responsibility of guiding the affairs of District Grand Chapter through the dark years of World War II but such an able and experienced administrator found little difficulty in doing this to the complete satisfaction of his companions. Only one new Chapter was constituted during his period of office.
The climax of his Masonic Career came on 23rd September, 1942, when he was heartily congratulated on his election to the Supreme Council of the 33°.
He died on 1st February, 1946, and a mourning District placed on record its profound sorrow at the passing of a revered and beloved Grand First Principal described as “the living keystone of Royal Arch Masonry in Down”.