The A.O.F.B. Membership
Book of Ritual
The first edition was not a Membership book of ritual but was a membership card, and these were 'snapped up' by ex-servicemen, many of whom knew Bert Temple from his time in the military. The Sporting Times newspaper reported that ‘of the first 200 memberships produced, 75 % were taken by members of the Aquarius Vat’ - the Vat being headed up by Mac Savage ( eventually to become a Grand Typhoon ) childhood friend of Bert. The membership cards were numbered from 1 through to 1700, the first booklet being numbered from 1701.
The cards and booklets were printed by FT Goulding & Co Ltd at two print works in London; evidence is coming to light that both works were printing booklets simultaneously during peaks of membership enrolment, as there are minor page changes although in similar booklet numbering ranges. The booklet contains a wallet like flap on the inside front cover where the cufflinks or Fairy Belle wristlet was stored in transit, and there cannot be any argument that the booklet design bears a very uncanny resemblance to Army Pay books of the time, reinforcing the military connection. There is now no doubt that the A.O.F.B. started out as being a fraternally military based order, which captured the imagination of many and quickly spread outside of military circles.
The booklets are bound in a hard cover with a cream coloured linen finish. The early books were not stapled but had pages that were held in by means of an elasticated cloth bound band that was attached to the booklet spine. An example of this can be seen here : Booklet 16397. Later booklets were stapled - it is not yet known when this transition took place, or during which numbering range, it is known that booklet number 44252 contains stapled pages.
At least 16 versions of the booklet were published, possibly more, the latter versions containing more pages with updated dialogue and increasing lists of Vats (a place for the Gatherings, Meetings of the A.O.F.B.'s.). Obviously as the membership grew so did the number of Vats , the early books containing no Vat information, until the Vat lists took up half of the book at the time the Order was voluntarily wound up – by this time the booklet had 66 pages , 68 if you include the front and rear covers.
The booklets contain a lot of humour and whimsical musings from Bert and a lot of the humour is still valid today , with Bert poking fun at the insurance trade, lager and it's drinkers, and America, it's people and its products to mention a few.
If you have a booklet and can help with the research please e-mail the FOFB
stating details of the book number, whether it is 'named', number of
pages and the value of the funds raised as stated on the inside of the
rear cover, assistance on this would be greatly appreciated.
If you have a booklet and can help with the research please e-mail the FOFB stating details of the book number, whether it is 'named', number of pages and the value of the funds raised as stated on the inside of the rear cover, assistance on this would be greatly appreciated.
The Membership booklet was copyright of the Bert Temple. As
Bert passed in 1931, the copyright statute ( 70 years
) has now elapsed.
The information has been reproduced in the interests of keeping alive.