Broadway’s Returned Soldiers Entertained During the evening of Thursday 21st August 1919, starting at 6.30pm, Broadway Parish Council held a dinner for the discharged and demobilised service men of Broadway who had returned home at the end of the First World War. The dinner, held in the Lifford Memorial Hall, was suggested and planned by Parish […]
Thomas Raymond ‘Ray’ Ingles was the youngest son of Dennis Ingles and Mabel Christina ‘Chrissie’ Ingles (née Newbury) of Church Street, Broadway. He was born in Broadway in 1923.
Ray was educated at Broadway Council School and was a keen sportsman. He played cricket for Worcestershire County Cricket Club, Evesham and Broadway. He was also a handy footballer and played on the left wing for Broadway Football Club.
After leaving school Ray worked for Gordon Russell Limited in the village. He was a member of Broadway’s ATC and Home Guard before leaving Russell’s and joining the Royal Navy in 1942. The same year he married Majorie May Ferris the eldest daughter of Mr & Mrs Ferris of Evesham.
The Sinking of HMS Kite
Ray served on the sloop HMS Kite (U87). HMS Kite was launched on 13th October 1942 and commissioned on 1st March 1943. On 20th August 1944 she was on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. She was escorting aircraft carriers HMS Keppel and HMS Vindex, which were escorting another convoy to Northern Russia, when German U-Boats were detected in the vicinity. The U-Boats were attacked with depth charges and hedgehogs, resulting in the destruction of three of the U-Boats. However, early on the morning of 21st August, HMS Kite had slowed down to 6 knots in order to clear equipment that had become tangled, this left her vulnerable to attack. Torpedoes fired from the German U-Boat U-344 struck the ship on the starboard side causing HMS Kite to sink beneath the waves.
A total of 217 crew, including Ray, aged 22, lost their lives that day. Of the 60 men who survived the sinking, 14 were rescued from the icy Atlantic waters, 5 of whom died shortly afterwards. Only 9 men survived the attack.
Ray’s body was never recovered from the sea. He is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, the Broadway War Memorial and on Broadway’s Roll of Honour in St Michael and All Angels Church.
Pte Horace George Ingles (1913-1944) and Pte Ronald Herbert Ingles (1915-1944)
Two of Ray’s older brothers also served in the Second World War. A month after Ray’s parents received notice of Ray’s death, they were informed that their eldest son, Private Horace George Ingles (1913-1944), who had also worked at Russell’s, and was serving with the 1st Worcestershire Regiment, had been wounded during the Battle of Normandy following the D-Day landings. Horace died of his wounds on 9th August 1944 and is buried in St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux, France. Private Ronald Herbert Ingles (1915-1984) was a prisoner of war from 1942, firstly in Italy before being moved to a PoW camp in Germany. Ronald returned home and lived on Springfield Lane, Broadway, after the war.
We will remember them.
Frederick ‘Fred’ Cross was born on 7th March 1911, the son of Thomas Cross and Ellen Cross (née Pinchin). Fred married Alice Mary Green in Broadway in 1939 and they had two sons. Their eldest son Frederick was born the following year but sadly died shortly after birth and he is buried in St Eadburgha’s churchyard, Snowshill Road. Their second son, Peter, was born in 1942.
Fred served with the 1st Worcestershire Regiment (HQ Company) in the Second World War and took part in the D-Day Landings in June 1944. Fred was killed in action during the Battle of Normandy at Berjou, France, on 16th August 1944, aged 33.
Private Frederick Cross is buried in Bannevile-La-Campagne War Cemetery, France, and is commemorated on the Chipping Campden Roll of Honour and War Memorial, the Broadway War Memorial and the Roll of Honour inside St Michael and All Angels Church, Broadway.
We will remember them.
A recent posting on Facebook of a photograph of a 1960’s fish and chips van, owned by Norman Tayler DFC, of Smallbrook Road, Broadway (see image below), brought back a lot of good memories to many people in the village. This led me to research Norman’s background, his participation in the Second World War and why he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Flight Officer Norman Leslie ‘Buck’ Tayler, DFC 565003 RAFVR
Norman Leslie Tayler was born in Wareham, Dorset in 1914. Norman entered the RAF straight from school, qualifying as a fitter after 2 years’ service. He later reached the rank of Sergeant and applied to train as a pilot, training on old bi-planes. He married Mary Jarratt in 1939 in Hornsea, East Yorkshire, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.
During the war, Norman (565003 RAFVR) served with bomber squadron No. 7 Squadron based at RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire. He was affectionately known as ‘Buck’ by his crew. During the 6th/7th June 1942, whilst conducting a night-time operation to bomb the city of Emden in north west Germany, Norman’s plane was shot down, one of the 11 aircraft lost that night and Norman was one of 14 crew made prisoner of war.
The Short Stirling I W7471 MG-J ‘Johnnie’, a four engined bomber piloted by Norman, took off from RAF Oakington at 11.35pm on 6th June. The Stirling was intercepted by the Luftwaffe near Schiermonnikoog, West Frisian Islands, Holland, and was shot down by German Ace Oberleutnant Ludwig Becker II/NJG 2 (known as the ‘Professor’) flying a Messerschmitt Bf100 night-fighter. The Stirling came down in fields belonging to Mr Willem Jansma in an area called Blijaer Mieden between Blija and Holwerd in Friesland at 1.08am on the 7th June. All the crew survived the crash (and went on to survive the war) but were all made prisoners of war.
The crew of the Short Stirling I W7471 MG-J ‘Johnnie’
The members of the 8 crew on the Stirling were:
Wireless Operator John Henry ‘Jack’ Arnold, DFM (1911-1993) – Rear Air Gunner later promoted to Warrant Officer
Flying Officer Edward Jospeh ‘Ted’ Earngey (b. 1914) – Observer/Navigator (Australian) later promoted to Flight Lieutenant
Sgt. William Edward ‘Bill’ Goodman (1922-2002) – Front Air Gunner later promoted to Warrant Officer
Sgt. Clarence Francis ‘Frank’ Henigman (1920-1994) – Canadian promoted to Warrant Officer whilst in captivity
Sgt. Sidney John McNamara (1920-1978) Flight Engineer later promoted to Warrant Officer
Flying Officer Harry Douglas Spry (1911-1978) – Mid Upper Gunner later promoted to Flight Lieutenant
Flying Officer Norman Leslie ‘Buck’ Tayler DFC – Captain later promoted to Flight Lieutenant
Pilot Officer Frank St. John Travis (1915-1978) – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Rhodesian but born in England) later promoted to Flight Lieutenant
Norman ‘Buck’ Tayler PoW No. 560
After the crew were captured they were taken via Cologne for interrogation and processing at Dulag Luft (near Frankfurt). The Officers, including Norman (PoW no. 560), were sent to Stalag Luft III near Sagan, Poland, a camp for Allied Air Force Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers. The Non-Commissioned Officers on the Stirling were sent to Stalag 357 Kopernikus and John Arnold was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug after a spell at Stalag Luft III and Stalag XX-A Thorn.
Stalag Luft III became famous because of the two “tunnel” escapes; The Wooden Horse Escape and The Great Escape. Two of the crew members, Ted Earngey (‘Little S’) and John Travis (‘The Dapper Rhodesian’), were involved in The Great Escape. John was an important member of the Escape Committee although he declined to take part in the actual escape. John was a mining engineer before the war and possible contributed tunnelling advice assisting with the construction of the bellows for the tunnels.
Whilst in Stalag Luft III (a prisoner in the North Compound), Norman was awarded the DFC for his service with 7 Squadron and his part in a daylight raid on 18th December 1941 on two German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that were in dry dock in the French port of Brest. On 9th December 1942 the following report appeared in the London Gazette:
One day in December, 1941, a strong force of Bomber aircraft carried out a determined attack on the German warships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst at Brest. The operation was carried out in the face of extremely heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire and determined attacks by enemy fighters. Nevertheless the air crews engaged pressed home their attacks to the utmost and-succeeded in scoring hits on their objectives. Several enemy aircraft were shot down. The success of the operation, which demanded the highest degree of skill and courage, reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of the following officers and airmen who participated in various capacities as leaders and members of aircraft crew.
After the War: the Move to Broadway
At the end of the war Stalag Luft III was liberated by the Soviet forces. Following the war Norman and Mary settled in Broadway, Worcestershire. They moved to 8 Smallbrook Road in 1947, after the houses were built, where they brought up their family, a son and two daughters. Norman was popular in the village, he was a keen gardener, a member of the local Broadway branch of Toc H, and was well known in the area for his delicious fish and chips, Tayler’s Fish & Chips, which he served from a 1960’s converted van.
Norman died in Broadway on 19th February 1993, Mary having predeceased him. A memorial bench for Norman and Mary is situated in the churchyard at St Eadburgha’s Church, Snowshill Road, a truly peaceful spot in the village.
In 2016, on the anniversary of the downing of the Stirling, a memorial panel to the crew, erected by the Stitchting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, was unveiled at Blije attended by the families of the crew.
Further reading and photos of Norman Leslie ‘Buck’Tayler and his crew:
A biography below of Able Seaman Robert ‘Robin’ or ‘Bob’ Warner Clarke, son of Frank Thomas and May Clarke, of Mill Avenue, Broadway, Worcestershire, who died during the sinking of the submarine HMS P311 on 8th January 1943. Robin was declared missing in action after the sinking, and notification that he was presumed dead was received by his parents the following March.
Robin was educated at Broadway Council School and after leaving school was employed by an Evesham firm of fishmongers until he signed up with the Navy just before his 18th birthday. He had only been in the Navy for a year when he was killed, aged 19, in the sinking of submarine HMS P311.
Robert is commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial and the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, England, Panel 74, Column 1.
Today we remember Able Seaman Robert Warner Clarke of Broadway who died, aged 19, 76 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.
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…
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Corporal William Horne, Royal Field Artillery (1889-1953)
William Horne was born in Broadway in 1889 when his parents, Francis and Elizabeth Horne were living in Bell Yard just off the High Street (Main Street) in the village. By 1901 he had moved with his widowed mother and younger brother, Percy, to the Silk Mill thatched cottages along the Snowshill Road. William later found work locally as a Railway Platelayer and at the time of the 1911 Census he had married Agnes Maud Turner (from Snowshill) and had one daughter, Eva, who was a week old.
William’s Cheery Letter Home with News from France
William enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery during the First World War. Whilst in France he wrote the following letter home to Agnes in June 1916:
Just a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the living. How is Tom getting on? I wonder if he can speak French yet? I can manage it all right till it comes to the words and then I have finished. I expect David2 has had a few tongue twisters by now. I was in a house one day, and a mate of mine came in and wanted some bread. In the phrase book it is ‘Ler Pang’ and would you believe it for the life of him he could not mouth it, but he said ‘Japan’ and it did just as well, for he got the bread. We are going on very well: get a few Taubes1 over now and then, but we soon get over small troubles like that. We just wait till one gets over us, and then make a noise like an anti-aircraft gun and its soon out of the way.
Last Autumn we were bothered a bit by mice; now it’s cats. Mother sent me a nice cake yesterday, and they must have got wind of it, for after I had been asleep half an hour something woke me up I saw two cats dragging the cake box towards the door. As luck would have it I had put the remains of the cake in my haversack, and only left a biscuit in the cake box. I just spoke, and they went out to try the next villa, we have now got a nice little place to live in; it’s not what you would call a palace, but it’s all right. It was all right anyway until last night some of us played a game on our next door neighbours. For a roof we had a wagon sheet, and after our game was up they let us get in bed and put the light out, and then cut the sheet just over where one chap was sleeping, and poured half a pail of water over his face. We all went into spasms laughing. He jumped up but could not find any matches. He knows a good bit of English and he didn’t slip it out, for he’s got a pretty good flow of language at any time.
It’s nice out here now. I mean the weather of course. I was up at a ‘certain place’ the other night, and got into conversation with two infantry chaps. One asked the other what he enlisted for, and he replied twelve years. The other said ‘Lucky chap; I’m in for the duration of the war!’ So he evidently did not think it was going to be a short one.
I must now draw to a conclusion or I shall be too late for the pictures.
William returned home to Broadway at the end of the war and died, aged 63 in 1953. At the time of his death he was living at 1 Mill Avenue in the village.
- A taube was a German monoplane aircraft.
- David Francis Horne (1875-1935), William’s older brother.
I recently saw on Facebook an image taken from the Evesham Journal of British prisoners of war in Stalag VIII-B (Stalag 344) Lamsdorf, Germany, in the 1942 (see image). Amongst the prisoners in the photo was Corporal Nelson George Thacker from Evesham (back row 3rd from left). The post piqued my interest as I have researched some of the men from the area that have served in either the First or Second World War so I decided to see what I could discover about Corporal Thacker.
Nelson George Thacker (1915-1994)
Known as George, he was born in Evesham on 28th September 1915. His parents, Percy John Thacker and mother, Sarah Jane (née Hampton), had married in Evesham late in 1914. His mother was from Bengeworth in Evesham and worked at the local jam factory. His father was a journeyman baker and the family lived at 4 Mill Street, Evesham. George had a younger brother, Frederick born in 1917 who died, aged 7, in 1924. His mother gave birth to a third son, Douglas, in 1927 but he also did not survive infancy.
George was named after his father’s brother Nelson Thacker (1892-1915). Just before George was born his Uncle Nelson had embarked for France having enlisted as a Private with the 1st Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). Less than two months’ later, whilst fighting on the Western Front Private Nelson Thacker was killed in action on 13th October 1915, and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial and the Evesham War Memorial.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, George enlisted with the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and in 1942, whilst in France, was captured by the German Army. The Evesham Journal reported on 21st March 1942 that George was a Prisoner of War in Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf.
Around 210 men from the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment are known to have been imprisoned in Stalag VIII-B at some point during the war. The stalag was the largest German Army prisoner of war camp in the Third Reich with thousands of prisoners, mostly Russian but with a smaller camp of some 16,000 prisoners from Britain, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa. The camp was located in the north east near Oppeln on the River Oder in Silesia near what was then the German Polish border. At the end of 1943 Lamsdorf was designated Stalag 344 and a sub-camp at Teschen, some 125 km to the south east, became the new Stalag VIII-B.
According to the Worcestershire Regiment’s records Lt/Cpl 1873046 Thacker was imprisoned in Stalag 383 as PoW 15320. Fellow serving soldiers from his battalion; Corporals H.H. Taylor, D.E. Williams, R.P. Evans and Sergeants C. Sargerson and R.W. Seager are recorded as being PoWs in the camp at the same time as George.
It was not unusual for prisoners to be transferred between camps. Private Les Foskett who served with The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, had been a prisoner at Stalag VIII-B in 1941 and was transferred to Stalag 383 a few months later so it is likely that George and a number of others were transferred between the two camps at some stage and that he may not have been in Stalag VIII-B for long. Click here for Les Foskett’s story.
Stalag 383 was located in Bavaria between Nuremburg and Regensberg in Germany. Until late 1942, the prisoners in the camp endured conditions what have been described by another PoW as bad but once the Swiss Red Cross became involved, and Red Cross clothing and food parcels supplemented PoW camp rations, the lives the PoWs improved and the camp was described as “far less depressing than Lamsdorf”. A Swedish delegate who visited the camp on the occasion of the centenary of the YMCA in July 1944 stated that he had seen “no better camp in Germany” (see extracts from the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, 1939-1945 for prisoners’ descriptions of the camp). The PoWs were released from Stalag 383 in early May 1945 by the American Army.
After his release, George returned home to Evesham. Following his discharge from the army in he started working as a Postman with Evesham Post Office in 1946 and he later joined the Evesham Town Silver Band. He married Gertrude Cynthia Padfield, known as Cynthia (of Burford Road, Evesham), at St Lawrence Church, in 1947. George died in 1994 and his wife, Cynthia, died aged 87, on 26th January 2012 and is buried in Waterside Cemetery, Evesham. Before her death Cynthia lived on Isbourne Crescent, Evesham.
If anyone has any information about George Thacker that could be added to this article then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.