Stuart Christie mentions the military connection to the Freemasons.
'Freemasonry is particularly strong within the armed services, where it is seen as an extension of the fellowship of the regiment. There are 42 lodges in the British cavalry regiments alone, 25 in the Royal Regiment of Artillery and a number of Royal Marine lodges. The exclusive elite of the British Army, the 22nd SAS and Artists Rifles (21st SAS), have a lodge (Byfield) which meets on the second Monday of every month at the Duke of Yorks HQ in Chelsea. The Senior Service have their own exclusive lodges such as Royal Navy Lodge 2612, whose members include such worthies as the Duke of Edinburgh and the present Grand Secretary, Commander Michael Higham.
Hopeful squaddies and matelots looking for rapid advancement or simply good Masonic friendship should know, however, that since 1815 naval and military lodges have introduced by-laws excluding all civilians and stating that no sailor below the rank of Petty Officer or no soldier below the rank of Sergeant is eligible for initiation into the Brotherhood. Masonic researcher John Dewar, author of the authoritative study of contemporary Freemasonry, The Unlocked Secret, was told by a spokesman for a large Masonic outfitter in Great Queen Street that much of the firms successful business rested on export orders for regalia received from NATO troops in Europe, an indication as to the extent of Masonic strength among the officer corps of the British and other NATO armed services. 'http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/51c5t6
There is even a military masons website.http://www.militarymasons.org.uk/
A Canadian lodge, the Zetland Lodge has this to say about masonic activity in the opposing armies.
'During the American War of Independence it was not uncommon for a field lodge's warrants and regalia to be captured by the opposing force. Invariably they were returned. One such occurrence was the capture of the warrant of the British 17th Regiment of Foot. The warrant was returned with a letter signed by Continental General Samuel Parsons. It stated,
Brethren, When the ambition of monarch's, or the jarring interests of States, call forth their subjects to war, as Masons we are disarmed of that resentment which stimulates to undistinguished desolation, and however our political sentiments may impel us in the public dispute, we are still Brethren, and (our professional duty apart) ought to promote the happiness and advance the weal of each other. Accept, therefore, at the hands of a Brother, the Constitution of the Lodge 'Unity, No. 18' held in the 17th British Regiment, which your late misfortunes have put in my power to restore to you. - I am, your Brother and obedient servant, Samuel H. Parsons.'http://www.zetlandlodge.com/page.aspx?PageID=204