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 Councillor Archibald Renfrew, MRCVS. Mrs Mary Renfrew was in charge of the catering with many villagers contributing to the supper, the meat provided by West End farmer and Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council Austin Williams. Nurses from Farncombe Red Cross Hospital and members of the Parish Council, amongst others from the village, waited on the tables. The Evesham Standard and West Midlands Observer reported:
About 170 sat down to a hot dinner of beef, mutton and two vegetables; a variety of tarts and sweets followed and beer and cigarettes haded round. The tables were beautifully and artistically decorated with flowers…..and flags and bunting.
Mr M. Murray-Davey2, the famous basso, came in and sang three songs, which were loudly applauded, the singer being recalled repeatedly. Dr Standring sang a topical ditty, causing much amusement.
Songs were given during the evening by the men, some capital comic songs being given by the Private George Smith3, who highly amused his comrades….. the harmony being kept up till past midnight.
Broadway History Society
1. Archibald Renfrew (1862-1930) moved to Broadway in 1892 when he took over Broadway’s Veterinary Practice. He was one of the first members of Broadway’s Parish Council and founded Broadway’s Working Men’s Institute. He rode with the North Cotswold Hunt, was a Member of Broadway Lawn Tennis Club, Golf Club and Bowling Club. He was a keen botanist and ornithologist, was one of the pioneers of the autochrome process of colour photography and the first owner of a motor-car in Broadway.
2. Opera singer, Michael Murray-Davey, lived at Willersey House, Willersey from 1912-1922. He was friends with the actress Mary Anderson de Navarro and her husband, Antonio de Navarro of Court Farm, Broadway. Murray-Davey studied singing in Paris under Ernest Masson and Jean de Reszke and made his debut at the Paris Grand Opéra in 1905. In 1909 he reached the London Covent Garden, where he was engaged till 1914 during several seasons. On 25th February 1912 he appeared as guest in a Sunday Night Concert at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and in 1922 he made guest appearance at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. He still appeared up to the beginning of the 1940s.
3. Private 9563 George Smith served with ‘A’ Company, 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (source: Broadway Remembers).