Master 1937 - Lt-Col. H P L Cart de Lafontaine O.B.E., T.D., F.R.I.B.A. (1884 - 1963) was born in Switzerland. Henry trained at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was articled to Guy Dawber in 1911. In 1914 he joined the 4th Royal Fusilier Battalion of the London Regiment which became the City of London Regiment. In August 1914 the 4th Battalion reached Mons, where they were attacked by German Infantry, eventually they retreated to Rouge Maison, Salient in September. By November 1914 the 4th Battalion was in Ypres. On 5th September 1916 Henry was promoted to Major and remained with the 4th Battalion throughout the war. Henry was awarded the Victory Medal, The British War Medal and was Mentioned in Despatches - awarded the Oak Leaf Emblem for gallantry or meritorious action in the face of the enemy. In general no recommendations for Mention in Despatches survived for the army during WW1.
Lt-Col. Cart De Lafontaine on 27/07/1919 was appointed 'Inspector or Works' for the Commonwealth War Commission Graves and designed the coloured and gilded gesso memorial tablets placed in French and Belgian Cathedrals.
It was in October 1917 that a Royal Charter for the Imperial War Graves Commission was approved by the Imperial War Conference. The War had exacted such a terrible toll that for the first time in history a permanent organisation for the care of their graves was needed. The graves which were to be in its care were those of many nations and religions. The Commission had therefore to be free from both religious and political partiality. The obvious Masonic character fundamental to the work was recognised by those Brethren who had been appointed to the Commission and led inevitably to the foundation of a Lodge. The Lodge was subsequently consecrated at St Omer on 7th January 1922 in both the French and English Rites, as Lodge No.12 in the constitution of what is now known as La Grande Lodge National Francaise, under the jurisdiction of the Province of Neustrie (the ancient French name of the area lying between Flanders and Normandy). It was in 1929, owing to the formation of a new Commission Head quarters in Arras, that the Lodge moved to its present home in Lille.
Among the founder members of No 12, one of which was Henry Cart de Lafontaine, was Rudyard Kipling. It was he who gave the Lodge its title. As one would expect from a writer of Kipling's stature, it was both inspired and moving, summing up, reverently and with beautiful simplicity the awe inspiring task of the Brethren. 'The Builders of The Silent Cities' Lodge was born. Many of the masons were responsible for the actual making of the headstones in the war cemeteries.
Freemasons' Hall, London was built as a memorial to those Brethren who lost their lives in the First World War. The Fund, called the Memorial Million Fund was open from 1921 to 1933. Lodges subscribing with a minimum of 100 guineas were entitled to become Hall Stone Lodges and receive the Hall Stone Jewel.
Henry was also a Foundling Member of the Franco-British Union of Architects formed in order to give effect to a resolution passed at the Conference on Architectural Education held at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in November 1921, under the presidency of M. Paul Leon, Directeur des Beaux Arts, on behalf of the French Ministry. The objects of the Union were essentially social, a strong opinion had been expressed by delegates at the Conference that closer personal relationship between French and British architects would benefit education and methods of practice in both countries. Its organisation was accordingly directed to that end.
In 1939 Henry designed the Commonwealth Building in Holborn and in 1950-52 became President of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
In 1939, at the age of 55 he still belonged to the Territorial Army Reserve of Officers - Infantry Recorded in the London Gazette 26 July 1940 was the following notice: 'Lt-Col. H.P.L. Cart de Lafontaine, O.B.E., T.D. having attained the age limit, retires and retains his rank with permission to wear the prescribed uniform. 30th Mar 1939'.
Away from his military and architectural careers there is an entry under the Victoria & Albert Museum - category 'Children & Childhood' of the Christening Robe worn by Henry Philip Cart de Lafontaine - Date: CA. 1884 (made) - Maker: Unknown - Material: Lawn, overlaid and trimmed with lace, England, hand-sewn - Dimensions: Length 37 inches - Object: Made for the donor for his christening in 1884 - Credit Line: Given by Lt. Col. H.P.L. Cart de Lafontaine - Museum number: CIRC.278-1958 - Labels: British Galleries: A christening was an important public occasion for the family and relatives of a child. This traditional robe is decorated with lace made in Honiton, Devon. Lace of this quality was often worn at royal christenings or by children of wealthy families - Gallery Location: In Storage.