September 28, 2021

Primo George Dunk K. O. M.

I wasn’t entirely sure what a “Primo” was or for that matter what the letters K.O.M. stood for but I did know this was an impressive medal and that George Dunk must have been an important member of the St Leonards R.A.O.B. lodge. So I thought I’d see if I could find out who he was and possibly find some living relations.

R.A.O.B Medal George Dunk 1893

For those of you who don’t know what the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is, I’ll let Wikipedia fill you in:

The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) is a Fraternal, Benevolent and Social Organisation that was founded in the United Kingdom and is more commonly known as the ‘Buffs.’The organisation has a Rule Book, Manual of Instruction and Ceremony Lectures issued and revised by the Grand Lodge of England based at Harrogate in England. It has no royal patronage, for a Royal Charter has never been issued to the Buffaloes; as in Masonry the Seditious and Riotous Assembly Acts of the late 1800s had a profound effect on Buffalo meetings, as it will have done on many clubs, societies and other bodies of the day.In order to show to the authorities that the Buffaloes were not subversive to the interest of the state,the Order decided to describe itself as the Loyal Order of Buffaloes. It only needs a slip of the tongue for ‘loyal’ to become ‘royal’ and in a very short time the ‘public’ accepted that the Order was indeed Royal.Moreover it is not a recognised Order of chivalry.

The medal itself is hefty thing, being made of solid silver, and the bars on the front show that Primo (head of the local branch) George Dunk was at the 3rd degree of the order (Knight Order of Merit) which is just one off the top spot. He was awarded the 3rd degree in 1893 so I thought I’d start with the 1891 census.

Now I have no idea how old George Dunk is but he must have been 18 before the 1st Feb 1890 as that was when he achieved the 1st degree of membership. St Leonards is in Hastings so he must have been living somewhere near there. From this I narrowed the search to Sussex which gave me 13 results for George Dunk of which 9 were over 18 and only 3 of those were in Hastings.

  1. George Dunk, aged 21, single, born in Hastings, no occupation shown, son of John Dunk (a coal merchant), living with his parents at 58 Lennox Street, Hastings.
  2. George Dunk, aged 26, single, born in St Leonards, a hall porter living at 1 & 3 Warrior Square. The address was some sort of club as the head of the household is shown as the club steward.
  3. George S Dunk, aged 19, marital condition not stated, born in Buxton, Middlesex, a shopman, a lodger with the Collins family at 26 North Street, Hastings.

My gut feeling says the one I want is the middle of the three as the others are probably too young. I’ll need to look at later and earlier census records to see if they give me any further clues but I think he’s my man. Proof needed though!

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