M.E. Comp. S.Hanna MBE
M.E. Companion Sydney Hanna, a native of Belfast, was exalted to Royal Arch Masonry in Chapter 501 Ballymacarrett and was a foundation member of Chapter 528 Rosetta — Constituted in 1923.
He first served in District Grand Chapter in 1934 as Grand Third Principal and was elected District Grand Registrar by ballot in 1935 in succession to R.E. Companion Sir Wm. Robinson — Chapters 501 and 528 presenting him with his clothing and regalia.
On 2nd December, 1936, he was installed as Deputy Grand First Principal but for the next four years he continued as District Grand Registrar as well. He first presided over a Convocation of District Grand Chapter on 20th March, 1943.
He acted as Deputy to M.E. Companion Bel Burrowes and M.E. Companion Sir Wm. Baird and, due to the state of the latter’s health, carried out virtually all the duties of Grand First Principal for several years. Chapter 528 presented him with a sceptre on his appointment as Deputy.
In 1937 he was appointed representative of the Grand Chapter of the State of New York at Supreme Grand Chapter; was elected to the 30th Degree in 1953 and to the 32nd in 1960.
His service during World War II in the R.A.F. Air Training Corps was recognised in 1945 when he was appointed a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
On the death of M.E. Companion Sir Wm. Baird he was installed as Grand First Principal on 5th March, 1956, and appointed as his Deputy R.E. Companion D. A. Rea, then District Grand Treasurer.
Down was not permitted to keep M.E. Companion Hanna long as their Grand First Principal for on the death of the Grand King – The Viscount Massereene and Ferrard—in 1957 he became the natural and unanimous choice of Grand Chapter as successor, and the Companions in Down rejoiced in his appointment.
He was installed as Grand King on 2nd November, 1957, in the midst of the largest meeting of Royal Arch Masons from all parts of Ireland ever seen in Dublin. On 2nd December, 1957, the District Grand Chapter passed a unanimous resolution congratulating him on this appointment and granted £250 from District Chapter Funds to furnish the Sydney Hanna Chapter Room at Ballymacarrett Hall and place a plaque therein to mark the occasion. He was present when the District Grand King unveiled this plaque on 5th December, 1959.
Among his many masonic offices M.E. Companion Hanna is Chairman of the Ballymacarrett Hall Committee and under his Chairmanship that Hall was reconstructed in 1959 at a cost of some £75,000. His companions in Down are proud of his record in Freemasonry and in particular of his attainments in Royal Arch Masonry; of the manner in which he discharges all the duties of his high office and of the immense popularity he so deservedly enjoyed.