Captain William Louis Collins VR was a petitioner, founder and first Worshipful Master of the Lodge. He went on to be Treasurer from 1861-1864, before retiring to Torquay where he passed away.
Born in Lambeth in 1814, he married Sarah Stones and they had a son, also named William Louis. He became a brewer, owning the White Hart Brewery in Wood Street, Westminster.
He was an initiate of Fortitude & Old Cumberland Lodge No 12, one of the three remaining Time Immemorial lodges that founded Grand Lodge.
He was also in the Mark with the Bon Accord Lodge of Mark Masters, and their Secretary. He became the first Grand Secretary of the Grand Mark Masters Lodge for England in 1856. As Secretary of Bon Accord Mark Lodge he sent a letter convening a special meeting of Lodge Officers and Permanent Committee at the Freemasons’ Tavern on 23 June 1856. The purpose was to take into consideration the propriety of adopting the recommendation of the Permanent Committee
“That a Grand Mark Masters Lodge for England and its Dependencies be forthwith established”.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the four Mark Lodges, meeting at Newcastle, Bath, and London, formed Mark Grand Lodge with Lord Leigh being elected Grand Master. The title of the new body being the “Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales and the Dominions and Dependencies of the British Crown”.
He was an officer in the Regiment, being commissioned on 3 June 1858, and promoted Captain in 1860.
He was gazetted at the same time as his fellow Lodge members Abraham Trew, Barclay Greenhill and Charles Croft. Also commissioned was Hans Busk, not a member of the Lodge but an important character in the Regiment’s early years following reorganisation from Rifle Club to Regiment.