George Laing Bishop

George Laing Bishop, was born on 3rd June 1920 in Delta Cottage (the country Roadman’s house) in Wallyford. He was educated in Wallyford and at Musselburgh Grammar School, having moved to Musselburgh from Wallyford with his mother, following the death of his father in 1929. He lived at Bellfield Avenue, Musselburgh, moving to Edinburgh in 1962.

As a teenager, he was prominent in the local Scout movement becoming a King’s Scout circa 1938.

On leaving school, he enrolled at Heriot-Watt College (now University) in Edinburgh, to study Electrical Engineering but was “called up” to the RAF Volunteer Reserve in October 1940.

After spending time at a number of technical training stations, he was posted for a short time to the RAF Costal Command Station at East Fortune.

However, in August 1943, he was posted to RAF “Church Green”, also known as “Station X”. This was the cover-name for the secret military decoding station at Bletchley Park (of “Enigma” fame).

At Bletchley and the other surrounding “outstations” he worked on maintaining the early electro-mechanical decoding machines known as “Bombes” and also “Colossus”, the earliest form of computer.

He was “de-mobbed” in July 1946 with the rank of Flight Sergeant and returned to his studies at Heriot-Watt College, graduating in Electrical Engineering in 1947.

1947 was the same year he married “Effie” Thomson, formerly from Smeaton and they continued to live in Musselburgh. George and Effie subsequently had 2 sons.

George joined a major Insurance company as an Electrical Engineering Surveyor, becoming a Chartered Electrical Engineer and subsequently through his specialist knowledge of electrical furnaces, was elected an Associate Member of the British Institute of Foundrymen.

George joined Lodge St. John Fisherrow circa 1960 and was Right Worshipful Master thereof in 1968 and again in 1969.

In 1970 he was asked by the then Provincial Grand Master of Midlothian, Alex Steedman, to become Substitute Provincial Grand Master. On the appointment of John Aitken as PGM in 1975, he became Depute Provincial Grand Master and was himself appointed Provincial Grand Master of Midlothian and was installed by The Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason, Sir James McKay in the Lodge premises at Balcarres Road on the 10th October 1980.

In addition to his provincial and Lodge activities, he was also active in other masonic orders including The Royal Order of Scotland; the 18th and 32nd Degrees.

Out-with Freemasonry, George was an active Elder of St. Michaels Church, Inveresk for many years; enjoyed travelling abroad with his wife Effie and was a keen photographer.

George passed away, suddenly at home on 17th January 1983 at his home in Edinburgh aged 62 in the 3rd year of his appointment as Provincial Grand Master of Midlothian.