W Bro Danny Kleinman celebrated his 100th birthday on 25th March 2021. Loyalty Lodge 4971 made sure such an occasion was not missed and joined in to mark this milestone to one of their most senior and respected brethren. On the 24th March, a special Zoom meeting was arranged to mark the eve of this very special day. This was well attended by the brethren of Loyalty Lodge who enjoyed memories, stories, and jokes from their beloved birthday boy. WB Kleinman showed us his birthday card from the Queen and read the message, which was of course extremely special. The following day several members of the Lodge presented him with a hamper of all his favourite ‘goodies’, a stunning chocolate birthday/masonic arrangement and a card personalised from the Lodge. The presentation was conducted outside WB Kleinman’s house on a backdrop of celebratory balloons. All in all, this very special day was marked and celebrated in the best way possible under the circumstances. WB Kleinman had a most enjoyable time as did his wife Gilda.
W Bro Daniel (Danny) Kleinman was born on the 25th March 1921. A keen athlete as well as a scholar, he suffered a badly broken leg playing rugby and was unable to join the West Yorkshire Regiment into which he was enlisted, and by the time his leg had healed, the “West Yorkshire’s” had already left without him. Sadly, many of the soldiers in that regiment never returned.
Once fully fit, he went to a War Office Selection Board in Edinburgh and having passed he was given a commission and joined the Pioneer Corps (soon thereafter renamed the Royal Pioneer Corps). The Royal Pioneer Corps was a British Army combatant corps used for light engineering tasks. It was formed in 1939. Pioneer units performed a wide variety of tasks in all theatres of war, including full infantry, mine clearance, guarding bases, laying prefabricated track on beaches, and effecting various logistical operations.
Danny remembers that when they were sent from Newhaven to Dieppe, the boat crossing was particularly rough. On arrival at the quay, as he and his adjutant were so violently seasick during the journey, all they could do was disembark and lie on the quayside. Whilst lying down they spotted a troop of 30 German soldiers marching towards them. In his own words ‘he thought they were done for’, but as they approached, a British Sergeant, the only one with a gun, announced that he was escorting 30 captured German prisoners and was instructed to hand them over to Captain Kleinman. Straight back to the boat and another stormy Channel crossing!
On another occasion, he was returning to the base along with his driver. At a T-Junction he thought they ought to turn right, but the driver, who said he knew the area well, said they needed to turn left. After a couple of unfamiliar miles, they were heading straight towards a formidable German Panzer tank. He said the staff car turned around so quickly ‘on one wheel’ and they were gone before the German tank had chance to load its gun! Having assisted the Royal Engineers with the crossing of the Rhine, he was de-commissioned in 1946 with the honorary rank of Captain, which he can use to this day - see attached letter from the War Office.
Danny studied law at Leeds University and graduated with an LLB. Although a distinguished career in the legal profession beckoned, Danny put family first and decided his father needed help with the family Fabric & Haberdashery post War business. He opened several shops under the name of Daniel John in Hull, Beverley, Otley, Morley, Horsforth, Armley, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
In 1964 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace (JP) becoming a familiar face and Chairman of the Bench for many years He gave distinguished service as a magistrate until the maximum age of 70.
Since retiring from business, Danny became a member of the Leeds Luncheon Club, which met at the University site at Devonshire Hall, Leeds and the 52 Club which met at Wike Ridge Golf Club, Leeds.
Danny has always been a keen golfer who loved ‘picking up his sticks’ and having a round with friends. He was Captain of Moor Allerton Golf Club in 1968 where he played for 58 years and is their oldest living Past Captain. He was appointed to the prestigious position of ‘Captain of Captains’ for the Leeds & District Union of Golf Clubs in 1976 and again is their oldest living Past Captain. He always looked forward to the annual dinners where he wore his red coat and medals. Danny is fondly regarded by both his home club and Leeds & District Union. He has been made an honorary member of both establishments.
Danny married his wife Gilda in 1950 and in 2020 they celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary. They have 2 daughters Stephanie and Janet.
Danny joined Loyalty Lodge 4971 in 1963. He was initiated on 20th February 1963, passed on 17th April 1963 and raised on 26th September 1963. He was WM in 1977/78.He received his first honours on 15th May 1987 PPJGD and promotion to PPJGW on 7th May 1996. He was made an honorary member of the Lodge on 21st December 2016. Danny has a detailed knowledge of our Masonic rules and regulations and his sound judgement and wise counsel has been sought on technical matters numerous times over the years. Danny is a much loved, admired, and respected senior member of Loyalty Lodge and an inspiration to us all.
We congratulate him on his centenary and wish Danny and Gilda health and happiness for the future. Loyalty Lodge 4971