Next Meeting: Monday 17th September ‘An Update on Broadway Station’

The next meeting of the Broadway History Society and the first of the 2018/19 Programme of Events, will take place on Monday 17th September with an illustrated talk by Richard Johnson from the GWSR. Richard will be updating us on Broadway Station which reopened in March.

The meeting will start promptly at 7pmand will take place in main hall in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway. Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting.

During the meeting Hon.Treasurer Mary Smith will be collecting subs for the 2018/19 year, £10 for individual membership and £15 for a couple (cheques payable to ‘Broadway History Society’).

Debbie Williamson

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“Violent Debacles”: The Turbulent Ice Age History of Worcestershire Talk at Broadway Museum & Art Gallery 13th April 2018

Talk by Rob Hedge, Find Specialist at the Broadway Museum & Art Gallery: The Lost Landscapes Project is examining two centuries of research into Ice Age natural history and archaeology in Worcestershire. From hippos in Cropthorne to the Chadbury rhinoceros, the talk will examine the significance of Bredon Hill, the Cotswold edge and the Vale of Evesham to the story of Ice Age Worcestershire.

Rob is a public archaeologist and finds specialist for Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service. He is currently working on the Lost Landscapes project. Throughout 2018, the project will be holding events and exhibitions exploring over half a million years of Worcestershire’s prehistory, from the time our ancestors arrived until the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

Admission £10, includes a refreshment. Doors open at 6.30pm, talk starts at 7pm.

Venue: Broadway Museum & Art Gallery, Tudor House, 65 High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DP

Next Meeting: Monday 15th January ‘Battle of Worcester’

Broadway History Society Talk on the Battle of Worcester Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester

The next Meeting of the Broadway History Society will take place on Monday 15th January 2018 starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway.

During the meeting, historical performer and founder of Discover History, Paul Harding, will be giving a talk on the Battle of Worcester. The Battle took place on 3rd September 1651 and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian New Model Army, some 28,000 strong, defeated King Charles II’s 16,000 Royalists, of whom the vast majority were Scottish.

All welcome. Non-members £3. Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting.

 

 

 

Able Seaman Robert Warner Clarke and the Sinking of Submarine HMS P311 January 1943

Today we remember Able Seaman Robert Warner Clarke of Broadway who died, aged 19, 75 years ago during the Second World War. Robert, known as Bob, was a member of the crew on submarine HMS P311 when she was sunk by a mine on 8th January 19431 off the coast of Tavolara Island, a small island to the north east of Sardinia.

Bob, was born in Broadway, one of nine children of Frank Thomas Clarke and May Clarke (née Meadows). After the outbreak of the Second World War, Bob enlisted with the Royal Navy Submarine Service and was posted to serve on HMS P311.

On_Board_the_Submarine_Depot_Ship_HMS_Forth,_Holy_Loch,_Scotland,_1942_TR526

1942: On board Submarine Depot Ship HMS Forth, Holy Loch, Scotland. The depot ship HMS Forth is transferring a practice torpedo to the HMS P311. HMS Sibyl (P217) is seen alongside and another submarine can be seen in the background.

HMS P311 was a T-class submarine and the only boat of her class never to have been given a name. She was launched on 5th March 1942 and commissioned 5 months later on 7th August. HMS P311 was supposed to have been assigned the name Tutankhamen but was lost before this was formally done. She had joined the 10th Submarine Flotilla at Malta from Scotland in November 1942 and was attacked and sunk whilst en-route to Maddalena, Sardinia sometime between her final signal on 31st December 1942 and her failure to report on 8th January 19431.

When HMS P311 was lost she was carrying a crew of 71 men, commanded by Richard Douglas Cayley, DSO, RN2. The wreck recently found by divers on 21st May 2016 close to Tavolara Island in the Mediterranean. The vessel is reported to be in good condition with only her bow damaged by the mine explosion and all the bodies of the men are reported to be still on-board having died of suffocation.

Prior to her sinking, whilst in Malta, Able Seaman (no. P/JX 321879) Robert Clarke sent the following letters3 home to his family in Broadway:

4th December 1942

Dear Mum, Dad and all at home,

I hope you received the cable alright & that you are having some good weather & keeping well. I am feeling lovely as where I am the weather is scorching hot. How is everyone down Broadway, tell Dennis Cook4 I will drop him a line very soon but it’s hard to say how long it will take to reach him. When you write to Sid5 tell him I am ok but I don’t expect to see him for a very long time. I wish I could tell you where I am & what this place is like but I can’t.

When you write to me it is best to send it by CW Graphs as they don’t take long to travel.

I am only allowed to send one page so for now I will close with lots of love to all.

From Bob.

20th December 1942

Dear Mum, Dad and all at home,

I hope this short letter finds you in the best of health as it leaves me. I hope you all had a good Xmas as I didn’t do so bad myself accordingly. Last night I had a great surprise I walked into a club with my mate and met Eddie Procter6 the chap from Willersey who married Kathleen Keyte from the bottom of our avenue, he looks well and seems quite happy, him and I are going out together tomorrow if everything is ok.

Has Sid been home on leave lately or has he gone abroad? I would like to see him now. I expect it will be a long while before I am home again but when I do come I hope to have some money saved up. Did you get the £2 I sent to go on my Savings Book that Auntie has got? I will send some more as soon as I can if you will put it on the Book for me.

Give my best to Nibs and all the rest, and tell Kathleen Keyte I saw Eddie.

With all my love Mum,

From Bob.

Bob and the rest of the crew of HMS P311 are commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval War Memorial (Panel 74, Column 1) in Hampshire and Bob is commemorated on the War Memorial in Broadway.

portsmouth-naval-war-memorial2

Portsmouth Naval War Memorial, Hampshire

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:

  1. HMS P311 was reported overdue on 8th January 1943 when she failed to return to base and it is now presumed that she was sunk by Italian mines on or around 2nd January 1943.
  2. Richard Douglas Cayley (1907-1943) was one of the most decorated British submariners of the Second World War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1941. His prowess earned him the nickname “Deadeye Dick”.
  3. Bob’s letters are published with the permission of Andy Clarke.
  4. Dennis G. Cook (1922-1977).
  5. Sid was Bob’s older brother born in Broadway in 1921. Lance Corporal 11416496 Sydney Richard Clarke served with the 7th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. during the Second World War. He died, aged 24, on 1st April 1946 and is buried in the churchyard at St Eadburgha’s Church, Snowshill Road, Broadway, and is commemorated on Broadway War Memorial.
  6. Edgar William Proctor served with the 44 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner. He was killed, aged 22, on 22nd January 1944 and is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany, Collective Grave 6. L. 1-7. Son of Thomas and Emily Proctor and husband of Kathleen Elsie Proctor of Broadway, Worcestershire, he is commemorated on Broadway War Memorial.

Next Meeting and Talk: Monday 20th November 2017 ‘A Victorian Christmas’

Our next meeting and talk will take place on Monday 20th November 2017 in the Parlour at the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway. The meeting will start at 7pm and our guest speakers will be giving a talk on ‘A Victorian Christmas’.

Everyone is welcome to our meetings. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments are served at the end of the meeting.

 

 

1961 Toc H World Chain of Light at Dor Knap, Broadway

The World Chain of Light is conducted annually by Toc H members worldwide. It takes place on the 11th – 12th December to commemorate the first opening of Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium, and the birthday of Toc H Founder Padre Tubby Clayton.

The first Chain of Light was started in 1929 in Perth, Western Australia. In 1961 the Chain was started at Dor Knap (which had been acquired by the movement in 1959) on the edge of the Cotswold Hills above Broadway.

At 9pm local time on the 11th December the host Lamp at Dor Knap was lit and a vigil held for 24 hours. The chain then moved westwards around the world with branches all lighting their lamps at 9pm local time until the chain of light was completed at 9pm on the 12th December. A short service was prepared by the members of the host Broadway Toc H Branch which included a message that was circulated worldwide for use during the observance.

Next Meeting and Talk: Monday 18th September 2017 ‘On a Wing and a Prayer – the Cathedral Builders’

Our next meeting and talk, the first of the 2017/18 season, will take place on Monday 18th September 2017 in the Parlour at the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway. The meeting will start at 7pm and our guest speaker will be Keith Cattell who will be giving an illustrated talk ‘On a Wing and a Prayer – the Cathedral Builders’.

All are welcome to our meetings. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments are served at the end of the meeting.