M.E. Comp. Major Sir W.M. Baird
M.E. Companion Major Wm. Baird was exalted in R.A. Chapter 191 Buncrana in 1912 and became a foundation member of Avonmore R.A.C. 26. Rosetta in 1923 and Excellent King for the years 1924 and 1925. He was also a foundation member of Volunteer R.A.C. 439 Antrim and its first treasurer in 1928.
He was first elected to office in the District Grand Chapter of Down in 1928 to succeed M.E. Companion T. H. Keown as District Grand Treasurer and continued in that office till his appointment as Grand First Principal in 1946. He was a Past Grand Captain of Host of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter and also a member of the 32°.
He first presided as Grand First Principal on 5th June, 1946, and announced that V.E. Companion Sydney Hanna had accepted appointment as his Deputy.
In the New Year Honours for 1947 he received the honour and dignity of Knighthood which gave immense satisfaction to his Companions in both Antrim and Down and on 1st March, 1947, he received a tremendous ovation at the District Grand Chapter Convocation.
The name of Baird is honoured alike in Antrim and Down and his elder brother M.E. Companion Sir Robert Baird, K.B.E., served as Grand First Principal of Antrim. His leadership did much to further the interests of R.A. Masonry in Down in the post-war years and nine new Chapters were constituted during his period of office.
His great interest was in the Charities and was only matched by his most generous support for them. To the end he remained a generous subscriber in each branch of Masonry with which he was associated.
Failing health prevented him from being present regularly at the Convocations of District Grand Chapter for some years prior to his death on 10th January, 1956, and much of the actual administrative work of the District, as well as presiding at Convocations, fell to his able and willing Deputy, but his great interest in the welfare of the District remained to the end.
R.A. Chapter 26 was named after his residence “Avonmore”, Fort William Park, though in the later years he lived at Glynn Park, Carrickfergus. He was an Antrim man and primarily an Antrim mason, but he gave long and faithful service to Royal Arch Masonry in Down and his benefactions to the Order and its Charities were an outstanding feature of his great contribution to this District.
Most Excellent Companion Major Sir W.M.Baird died 10th January, 1956.