Memorable Order of Tin Hats (MOTH)
The Memorable Order of Tin Hats or the MOTH as it is more popularly known is an ex-serviceman’s organisation founded in Durban, South Africa, in May 1927 by a remarkable man Charles Alfred Evenden by name. He was born in London on the 01st October 1894 and as a young man immigrated to Australia and served with the Australian forces in Gallipoli during World War I where he was wounded and evacuated to England. After returning to Australia, he was discharged from the army.
Witnessing the annual ANZAC parades, Charles Evenden turned his thoughts to the formation of an association of front line soldiers to perpetuate the comradeship gained from front line service. Later, he settled in South Africa where he worked as a cartoonist on the staff of the Mercury, a morning paper in Durban, under the pseudonym of “EVO” by which name he soon became popularly known to most people.
In 1927 he saw a war film that included an impressive scene of marching troops wearing tin hats, and muddy uniforms all carrying trench equipment. Looking at the scene, it made him wonder what had becom of his comrades in the army; where they were and what they were doing. This line of thought inspired a cartoon on forgetfulness of a comradeship that had apparently ceased to exist. From this one idea other ideas came to the fore, then discussions with colleagues and friends and, eventually, the founding on the 07th May 1927 of an ex-serviceman’s organisation known as the Memorable Order of Tin Hats or simply MOTH.
The Order is added on concord and harmony and operates independently of race, religion or politics in the same way as front line service, but with full democracy.
The three MOTH ideals
True Comradeship, Mutual Help, Sound Memory
T.C. (True Comradeship) by practising front line friendship in civilian life;
M.H. (Mutual Help) by acknowledging the personal and collective obligation to help each other as in front line service;
S.M. (Sound Memory) by remembering the fallen as a living companionship and to serve their memory in practical actions
which rise above divisions of social status, race, or politics.
To protect and advance the interests of war veterans and their kin by carrying out benevolent activities of an ex-service character.
The centre of the emblem of our Order is the Tin Hat, hallowed by the Light of Service. Our complete emblem includes the
crossed rifles of sacrifice, surrounded by 12 stars that signify Mutual Help, the whole within an unending circle, expressing
life and harmony without end
The Moth consists of the following:
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No little child will ever starve or suffer needless pain,
The aged will live their twilight years in sunshine, not in rain,
The crippled we will help to walk, the blind we’ll help to see,
The wonders of God’s handiwork in all its majesty.
To feed, to clothe, to build again, where hopes should shattered be,
This is the crowning MOTH ideal, to help humanity.
When you go home – tell them of us, and say
“For your tomorrow, we gave our today”.
Their gift was great, but you must give
A greater to complete the plan,
They died, now you must nobly live,
To make man brother unto man.
The White Knight
I shall pass through this world but once,
Any good thing that I can do
Or kindness I can show any human being,
Let me do it now and not defer it,
For I shall not pass this way again.