The Orange Institution spread throughout the English-speaking world and further abroad. It is headed by the Imperial Grand Orange Council. It has the power to arbitrate in disputes between Grand Lodges, and in internal disputes when invited. The Council represents the Grand Lodges of Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Ghana and Togo. There are entirely black lodges in Africa and a Mohawk lodge in Canada.
Most English lodges are based in the Liverpool area, including Bootle. An estimated 4000 Orangemen, women and children parade in Liverpool and Southport every 12th July, watched by thousands more.
The Orange Institution can claim many historical figures amongst its ranks. Orangeman Alexander James Muir (Ontario LOL 142) wrote both the music and lyrics to the former Canadian National Anthem "The Maple Leaf Forever" in 1867. He was also a soldier in the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto and was involved in fighting and defeating the Fenians at Ridgeway, Ontario in 1866. An obelisk there marks the spot where Orangemen died in defending the colony against an attack by members of Clan na Gael (commonly known as Fenians).
Orangemen fought with General Isaac Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights in the War of 1812.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ogle R.Gowan commanded the Queen's Royal Borderers. He was wounded at the Battle of Windmill, near Prescott, Ontario, in 1838 while Canadians were defending themselves from an attack from the United States.
Orangemen played a big part in suppressing the Upper Canada rebellion of William Lyon Mackenzie in 1837. Though the rebellion was but a skirmish and short-lived, nevertheless, 317 Orangemen were sworn in to the local militia by the Mayor of Toronto and then resisted Mackenzie's march down Yonge Street in 1837. Orangemen in western Canada helped suppress the rebellions of Louis Riel in 1870 and 1885.
In 1871, in New York City, Mayor Hall and Superintendent Kelso, head of the New York Police Department, issued a decree on 10th July banning the 12th July demonstration. Nine people had been killed and more than a hundred injured (including women and children) during the parade the year before, when a riot broke out after the marchers had taunted Irish Catholics with sectarian songs and slogans. The ban appalled many nativists, who saw it as bowing down to the wishes of the Irish Catholic immigrant community. The New York Times had a July 11 headline, "Terrorism Rampant. City Authorities Overawed by the Roman Catholics." The ban was revoked by State Governor Hoffman, after pressure from the city's elite. He promised the Orangemen protection by the state and Federal authorities if the city of New York could not provide it.
Over 1000 state militiamen (the mainly Catholic 69th Regiment had been confined to barracks) formed a protective barrier around less than 100 Orangemen. Thousands protested the march on Eighth Avenue, throwing bottles and rotten food at the marchers, and the day soon descended into mayhem when shooting broke out. The death toll of the day was 50 protesters and six policemen: 300 protesters were injured, and 60 police and army personnel. Only two Orangemen were injured. Almost 400 Irish Roman Catholics were arrested for various offences. There was no trouble in the 1872 demonstration in New York and no demonstration in 1873. At the second sessions of the State Grand Lodge of New York in June, 1874 there were discussions on further Twelfth marches in New York. The report concluded: "The prevailing opinion is that parading through the streets on the Twelfth of July is entirely unnecessary, and as the authorities have decided in favour of the society have the same rights extended to them as other societies -- the right to parade it is now deemed not at all necessary ... that instead each lodge should meet at their headquarters and celebrate the anniversary ... by a social reunion". The Twelfth, 1874, being a Sunday, the brethren attended services at Holy Trinity Church where the Rev. S. H. Tynge was the preacher. He said of the Orangemen: "They were American Protestants -- no longer Irish Protestants. They did well to remember the deeds of the brave men of Enniskillen, and sternness of Prince William, but he would beseech them to be done with the emnities, to cast aside the prejudices born in these hours of trial." The next Orange parade was in 1890 when there was a march with a picnic in Jones Wood at which 4,000 were present. The last New York parade was in 1900 when the Imperial Grand Orange Council of the World had its sessions in the city.
The best-known Orangeman of the Boer War was probably Sir James Craig, later the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Craig, who often declared that he was an Orangeman first and Unionist second, served with 'distinction' in South Africa. He served with the Royal Irish Rifles, and also the Imperial Yeomanry, and it was while fighting with the latter that he endeared himself to this comrades. The Irish Squadrons of the Imperial Yeomanry were badly mauled at a place called Lindley in the Orange Free State by a large force of Boer Commandos led by Piet De Wet. When the war was over, Craig presented a flag captured from the Boers to an Orange lodge in County Down. He often expressed admiration for his Boer opponents and like many Ulstermen admired the Boers for their Calvinist religion and their courage and fairness in battle. James Craig (later Lord Craigavon) as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, at Stormont is quoted as stating on April 24 1934 - "I have always said that I am an Orangeman first and a politician and a member of this Parliament afterwards - They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State".
Bro. William Ferguson Massey, a native of Limavady who went on to be Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1912-1925, was a member of L.O.L. No.10 Auckland, New Zealand.
Orangemen fought in the Crimean War, Indian Mutiny and other conflicts.
On one occasion when men of the Royal Irish Fusiliers were granted an audience with the Pope, several Orangemen in the regiment wore their sashes under their army uniforms, rather than display them overtly and risk causing offence.
Orangemen fought in both World Wars. The most famous battle in the folklore of the Order is the Battle of the Somme which began on 1st July 1916. Many Orangemen had joined the 36th Ulster Division which had been formed from various Ulster regiments and had also amalgamated Lord Edward Carson's Ulster Volunteer Force (who were formed to oppose Home Rule for Ireland) into its ranks. But for the outbreak of World War I, Ireland had been on the brink of civil war, as Orangemen had helped to smuggle thousands of rifles from Imperial Germany (see Larne Gun Running). Several hundred Glasgow Orangemen crossed to Belfast in September, 1914, to join the 36th (Ulster) Division. Roughly 5000 members of the 36th Ulster Division died on the first day of the battle.
Built as a copy of the tower that the men had trained under near Newtownards in Northern Ireland, the tower marks the site of the Schwaben redoubt against which the men of Ulster advanced on 1 July 1916. There is a small cafe and museum to the rear of the tower, where visitors can watch videos, find a cup of tea and buy souvenirs. One of the paintings shows the men of the Division going over the top wearing their Orange Sashes.
At the entrance to the tower is a plaque commemorating the names of the nine men of the Division who won the Victoria Cross during the Somme.
Behind the tower and to its right is a small garden. There is a memorial here commemorating the part played by members of the Orange Order during the battle. The Orange institution throughout the world saw more of its members serve in the First World War than any other organisation.
The Inscription on the Memorial Reads :
"This Memorial is Dedicated to the Men and Women of the Orange Institution Worldwide, who at the call of King and country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of man by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in Freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten."
The Orange Memorial in France to fallen members not only recalls the service to 'King and Country' by members of the Orange institution from throughout the world in the "Great War" of 1914-1918 but in other conflicts before and since. The call to arms by Bro. Sir Samuel Hughes, the Canadian Minister for War and member of LOL 557 Lindsay Ontario, resulted in some 80,000 members from Canada volunteering.
They were followed by thousands of Australian and New Zealand Orangemen, Able Seaman Bro William George Vincent Williams of LOL 92 Melbourne, was the first Australian to be killed in the war. Thousands more from South Africa, the USA and lesser known countries and islands from throughout the Commonwealth answered the call to arms, losing their lives in many cases.
At least 5 Orangemen have been awarded the Victoria Cross although many lodge records have been lost and destroyed so this number is not certain.
The five known Orange VCs were Cavan-born Private George Richardson who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Indian Mutiny and was recommended on 3 other occasions for the same award. He served in the 34th Regiment of Foot, later the Border Regiment. Private Richardson later emigrated to Canada and served with the Prince of Wales Royal Rifles of Canada seeing action during an invasion of that country by members of Clan na Gael.
Bro. Robert Hanna, a native of Kilkeel, Co. Down, emigrated to Canada as a teenager, member of Ontario LOL 2226, he was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Lens, France, 21st September 1917, during the Great War, when serving with the Canadian Army.
The Rev John Weir Foote, VC, was a Captain, later Colonel, in the Canadian Chaplain Service, attached to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. A member of Fraserville LOL Ontario. He was with the Canadians during the ill-fated Dieppe Raid, and stayed on to minister to wounded when he could have escaped, being subsequently captured by the Germans. Bro Weir was awarded his VC February 1946 for services above and beyond the call of duty during WW2.
Riflemen Robert Quigg is perhaps the best-known Orange VC, and the Bushmills man was awarded the medal for his courage on the Somme on July 1, 1916.
Englishman Abraham Acton, a native of Whitehaven, Cumberland, and a member of the Orange Order was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Rouge Bances, 21th December in 1914. Acton was killed in action at Ypres in 1915 at the age of 22, and he has no known grave.
Robert Dixon I2442 Toronto serving with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and Bro. Lieut J McCormick also from Canada were recommended the VC