The Siege of Derry
by David Catt
The following document is a small booklet called “The Siege of Derry”. The story of the Siege has been told many times, but this particular version was written by David Catt, sometime Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of England.
David Catt was born in 1860 in Warbleton in the County of Sussex. He joined the Orange Order while in his mid-twenties, but he was also Secretary of the Calvinistic Protestant Union, who circulated a vast number of Bibles, Scripture texts and tracts, and he founded the Bible Study League and was Editor of the quarterly magazine “Bible School”. A tireless Orangeman, Brother Catt was said to have founded twenty-three lodges, and also the North East London District No 86 and Sussex District No 88. For some years he was a member of LOL 723, which met at the YMCA in Mare Street, Hackney, and he lived at nearby 32 Clapton Square.
Brother Catt had a son, also called David, who was a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church and also, like his father, a Freemason. Rev David Catt was a rising star in the Orange Order, but died unexpectedly in 1918 at the early age of thirty-three years of age. Perhaps he was a victim of the Influenza Pandemic. His death must have been a great blow to his father. Subsequently, lodges were named after him.
Brother Catt founded “Exeter Hall” LOL 407 and served as Worshipful Master for many years. The lodge was part of Westminster District No 84 and met for many years at 14 Buckingham Street, WC2, just off The Strand. At the Grand Lodge in 1920 he presented Grand Lodge with a Bible in memory of the brethren who had fallen in the recent Great War. By that time he had moved, but only as far as 21 Clapton Square. Brother Catt travelled all over the British Isles in support of the Orange Order. He wrote many books on Protestant issues and also published the work of others. He gave “lantern lectures”, which would have been an early form of illustrated talks.
In 1924 he was elected Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master and, in that capacity, chaired the meeting of Grand Lodge in 1929 when the Grand Master was absent. He also became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Brother Catt had earned this by reason of his having travelled extensively abroad, including in the Middle East. From his experiences he would give talks on his travels, describing what he had seen, and dressed as an Arab.
In 1932 he was elected to the position of Most Worshipful Grand Master. By this time he had become a member of Friends of Ulster LOL 1688, which had been set up with the express purpose of attracting into membership members of the Lords and Commons. Brother Catt continued to serve as MWGM into the period of the Second World War. When Grand Lodge could not meet during these years a “Standing Committee” met at Brother Catt’s home, still 21 Clapton Square. On 25th March 1941 his wife died, after fifty-six years of marriage. David Catt himself died on 16th March 1944.