Our speaker this month was Doug Eyre, whose subject was “HMS Broadway”. Doug had been a former member of the Rotary club Chipping Campden and District Club. Doug is currently the resident artist at the Broadway Museum.
Doug described HMS Broadway, built in America in 1920 and made available to Britain under Lease-lend scheme. In 1941, she was on North Atlantic duty in a group of 15 Destroyers escorting 38 ships. Doug recounted with passion and emotion the events of 9 May 1941 starting at 1158am. Two ships in the middle of the convoy were torpedoed by a U-Boat. HMS Broadway working with HMS Bulldog and HMS Aubretia disabled the U-Boat which floated to the surface. The crew abandoned the boat which was then boarded initially by one 20-year-old officer from HMS Broadway with great courage and skill and later by a Naval party from the same ship. Many articles, including a naval Enigma machine were saved before the U-boat sank. This heroic operation resulted in Britain gaining the Enigma machine, which is thought to have shortened the war by 2 years.
The bell from HMS Broadway was later given to the Lygon Arms which had been a convalescent hospital for military personnel during the war. Doug’s fascinating and impressive talk was illustrated by his own paintings of the scene.