A freemason has won a top award for historical research on the Nazis.
David Peck, 68, of Haddenham, has been honoured for his exploration of the Nazi threat to British Freemasons in World War Two.
He has received the Norman B Spencer Prize, awarded by the world’s pre-eminent masonic research group, Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London.
Mr Peck, a former BAE SYSTEMS project director, of Wykeham Gate, Haddenham, won £100 for his efforts – and, more significantly, has been invited to join the research group.
He said: “It is a great honour. I am so pleased. I am the first member of Bucks Freemasons for many years to be asked to become a member of Quatuor Coronati.”
The research group has an important position in world freemasonry, as the exact origins of the craft, as it is known among members, has been lost in the shrouds of time.
Written records of very early masonic meetings were either not made or have not survived.
Mr Peck adds: “Freemasonry is all about friendship, decency, and charity, so it is important for future generations that historians document and examine the challenges the movement has had throughout its existence.
“Possibly the biggest threat it has seen in the last century was that of the Nazis. Far too many freemasons ended up in concentration camps as the German tanks rolled in, across national borders, throughout Europe.
“There is every reason to believe that we would have suffered similar persecution in England if Operation Sea Lion – Hitler’s plan to invade England – had gone ahead.”
The head of Bucks Freemasons, Gordon Robertson, says: “David is a wonderful advocate for our core values of friendship, decency, and charity, so I am delighted that his many years of devotion to the cause have been recognised in this way.
“He is the go-to guy for anyone in Berks, Bucks, and Oxon who wants to learn about the history of freemasonry.”
Mr Peck is a former master, or chairman, of Haddenham Lodge, which he joined in 1982. It is based at the Masonic Centre in Thame High Street, Oxfordshire.
He is chairman of the Bucks Association for Masonic Research. His previous projects include investigating the order’s origins and development in Malta.
Mr Peck is a chartered engineer and a Bradford University graduate. He has lived in his current home in Haddenham for more than 30 years.
He went on: “I shall donate the cash to the masonic library at Freemasons’ Hall in London, which is a mine of information about the craft.
“And I shall continue to research as much as I can. It’s a bug.”