Pamela Davies (née James)
Pamela Davies was born Pamela James in London in 1926. She studied at London University and at Reading’s Graduate School of European Studies. After completing her degrees she taught French and German and visited the USA and Germany in connection with her teaching career. She met her future husband, Walter Davies, at a German evening class and they were married in 1969.
Pamela studied singing as a hobby and did some solo work as well as singing in various choirs. Coincidentally, her singing teacher was the mother of a young woman who appeared in And So to Bed with Anne and Webster in the early 1950s. Pamela and Walter retired to a 300-year old cottage in Worcestershire, the heart of Elgar Country. Walter died in the early 2000s.
Church House, Great Comberton.
Pamela was particularly interested in the music of Edward Elgar. Her other interests were antiques, historic houses, and reading French and German. She was a guide at a historic house in the Great Comberton area and visited China, Russia and New Zealand and Australia later this year. She was a cat lover and owned two rescued cats.
Pamela, as a teenage evacuee from London, first heard Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth singing on the radio in 1944. She took an immediate liking to their voices and became their firm fan, listening to their singing on the radio and attending many of their concerts, films, and the musical play in which they starred in 1945, entitled Sweet Yesterday. She obtained their autographs at one of these concerts and had a brief conversation with Webster.
She mentioned in her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? that she and her fellow teaching students gathered round the radio to listen to the Victory Royal Command Performance in November 1945 to hear Anne and Webster singing. She made extensive notes of all their radio appearances and the concerts in which they had appeared and which she had managed to attend.
In 1956 Anne and Webster moved to South Africa for twenty-two years, but Pamela never forgot them. When she heard that they had returned to the UK in 1978 she wrote a letter of appreciation to them. This was the beginning of her correspondence with Anne. Pamela and Walter attended Webster Booth’s Memorial Service at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, which led to them taking Anne out to lunch whenever they were in the North Wales area, and the growth of their friendship with Anne.
I “met” Pam when she contacted me after Anne’s death in 2003 as she had read one of my articles on the internet. At the time I was writing my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. She too had hoped to write a book about her association with them. We decided to collaborate and her book Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? was published at the same time as mine in 2006.
We kept in touch with each other after the books were published and corresponded with Jean Buckley at the same time. Unfortunately, the postal system in South Africa was failing and Pam was not computer-literate so our correspondence faltered slightly until she obtained a tablet and gradually learnt to use it.
Pam became increasingly deaf which was very sad indeed as the music she loved was distorted by her deafness. Recently she left her beautiful cottage in Great Comberton and moved into a frail care home. She had a very bad fall and died a few days ago, at the age of 93. I will treasure all the beautiful letters she wrote to me when the postal system in South Africa was more reliable than it is today. I will always remember her with love.
Jean Collen – 13 December 2013.