Rank: Lt-Commander; Temporary Acting Surgeon
Lt-Commander Harold Broadway features prominently in my book, “Blood in the Sea: HMS Dunedin and the Enigma Code”. His son (also Lt-Commander), Chris Broadway, very generously gave me access to all the letters his father had sent from HMS Dunedin. They give a fascinating picture of life on board Dunedin and also an insight into Chris’ father’s thinking during his many months away from his family before he was lost in the sinking. I am very grateful to Chris. Although there is much in the book about Harold Broadway, Chris has written the short summary below of his father’s wartime action.
Broadway was running the practice he had taken over from his father in Dorchester, when war broke out in 1939 and despite¬†a small family and the practice to be run, and paid for, he felt that it was his duty to¬†help deal with Hitler.¬† He therefore joined the RNVR and was sent to Chatham for the course that was called (and still is) the “Knife fork and spoon course” – designed to convert him from a Country Practice to a seagoing Doctor.¬† The instruction was continued in HMS MALABAR (Bermuda) and he was then given a “Pierhead Jump” to HMS DUNEDIN, as the second Doctor, probably because the man he relieved had chronic seasickness.¬†¬†This was three days after his family, after a bad crossing in a convoy in which a number of ships were sunk, arrived to join him.¬†¬†They did not see him again as the ship was sailed in a hurry for anti-invasion duties in the south of England as France collapsed.
On arrival in the UK the Principle Medical Officer, a Surgeon Commander, was replaced by an RN Surgeon Lieutenant, who lasted less than a week and was then replaced sick by another Surgeon Lieutenant RNVR, who because he was a few months junior left my father as the PMO of a Cruiser.
¬†He was an experienced doctor and rather than replace him with a Surgeon Commander, to which the ship was entitled, Captain Lovatt reported that he was well satisfied with his performance as PMO (Including a very nasty acute appendix that had to be removed in a bad seaway) and arranged for him to be promoted to Acting Surgeon Lieutenant Commander as a special case, although my father never knew he had been promoted as the ship was sunk and he was killed before the news reached HMS DUNEDIN,¬†and his family only knew because the telegram announcing his loss used his new rank.¬†