Movie Stars, Politicians and Celebs

Discussion in 'General' started by morse1001, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    American actor Charles Durning was a genuine World War II hero; Durning served in the U.S. Army in WW II. Drafted early in the war at age 21, he was first assigned as a rifleman with the 398th Infantry Regiment, and later served overseas with the 3rd Army Support troops and the 386th Anti-aircraft Artillery (AAA) Battalion. He participated in the Normandy Invasion of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was among the first troops to land at Omaha Beach. For his valor and the wounds he received during the war, Durning was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Heart medals.

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  2. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1909-2000)
    During World War II Fairbanks became a lieutenant in the British Navy (where he made his way up to captain in 1954). He was posted to Lord Louis Mountbatton's staff where he devised gadgets to confuse the Germans. He later led a commando assault on the Casquet lighthouse on the coast of France. Two months later he conducted a desert raid on Sened Station in North Africa. He took part in the Allies' landing in Sicily and Elba in 1943. He also commanded a detachment of PT boats that sailed toward the coast of France to deceive the Germans about an invasion. He was awarded the Silver Star and the British Distinguished Service Cross.

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  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Bill Walker, well known to most Canadians as a CBC announcer and game show host. Joined the RCAF in 1943, he was assigned to RAF 77 Squadron in Yorkshire, where he piloted a Halifax bomber on 35 sorties in Bomber Command, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Just read an obituary in the newspaper for Efrem Zimbalist Junior (he died on the 2nd of May) - one of my earliest TV memories was watching the B&W series of The FBI

    Where we lived back then we only received one TV channel (ABC - the Government broadcaster here in Aus) and it was 99% news type shows and depressing British series (not many comedies to be had back then).

    This (American) show was the highlight of the week - gawd knows how it ended up on the ABC (or if my memory is playing tricks on me) but we loved that show.

    Anyhoo, the obituary mentioned that EZ picked up a Purple Heart during WW2 - I suppose I should wiki him to see if there are any details.

    Edit - I have wikied him (is that the verb?): Zimbalist attended Yale University in the late 1930s, worked as a page for NBC radio in New York, and served in the United States Army for five years during World War II, where he became friends with Garson Kanin. He was awarded the Purple Heart for a leg wound received during the battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  5. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

    John Addison, composer of the scores for The Cockleshell Heroes, The Charge of the Light Brigade and A Bridge Too Far was a 23rd Hussar until he was wounded during GOODWOOD.
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  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Athletes too!

    Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Johnny Bower lied about his age to enlist for the Second World War. He was just 16.
    “They wanted to see my birth certificate and I said ‘We had a big fire at home.’ And I said it was burned,” Bower recalled Monday with a healthy belly laugh. “I lied there just so I could get in.”
    “I wanted to go with my other buddies,” he added.
    Years later, the ugly truth of war remains with the former Maple Leafs great, who turned 90 on Saturday. Many of those friends didn’t come back.
    “I was lucky, very lucky to be back here,” said Bower, the laugh suddenly gone.
    The sacrifice of those and other hockey players is captured in a new Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit called “Hockey Marching As To War” which was unveiled Monday on the eve of Remembrance Day.

    The Hall says 40 of its inductees were First World War veterans, with another 31 serving in the Second World War.
    Some of those names live on via NHL and other trophies: Jack Adams, Conn Smythe, Frank Selke and Hobey Baker.
    The Memorial Cup, the symbol of junior hockey supremacy, was conceived as a way to honour young men who traded their hockey stick for a rifle and paid the ultimate price.
    Capt. James T. Sutherland, president of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, used the Cup to honour Allan (Scotty) Davidson and George Richardson whom he coached when they were Kingston Frontenacs. Both died in action in the First World War.
    The Hall of Fame exhibit showcases a quote from Sutherland:
    “With every man doing his bit, Canada will raise an army of brains and brawn from our hockey enthusiasts the likes of which the world has never seen. The bell has rung. Let every man play the game of his life.”
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Just been reading quite a good page on HW Bush's Service, as lightly alluded to here previously:
    Vice President Bush Calls World War II Experience "Sobering"

    DFC citation:

  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

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  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Bonhams : The Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar to Flight Lieutenant K.Wolstenholme, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and the famous BBC Sports Commentator, who's famous quote "They think it's all over" for the 1966 World Cup has become part of England's football commentating history,

    Kenneth Wolstenholme's wartime logbooks revealed | Daily Mail Online

    Wolstenholme (pictured in the bottom row, second from left) and the rest of the crew member in 107 Squadron

    Wolstenholme was an accomplished RAF pilot and was nearly killed in a bombing raid on Heligoland, a small German archipelago in the North Sea, in 1941

    His logbooks documenting sorties between 1941 and 1945, during which he completed over 1,500 hours of flying, have emerged for sale are set to go under the hammer alongside his bravery medals for £9,000

    An entry in his RAF logbook reveals his Blenheim bomber was badly damaged by flak in the raid and his air observer Sergeant John Wilson, who was nicknamed Polly, was killed

    His medals and logbooks have been consigned for auction by a 'private source' and this is the first time they have appeared on the market

    He enrolled with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in June 1939 and after completing his training joined 107 Squadron in March 1941 flying Blenheims
  11. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    The actor James Mason was a conscientious objector in WW2, working on a farm for period.

    Serenditipously, he was born on 15 May, now celebrated as International Conscientious Objectors' Day.
    Chris C likes this.
  12. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Writer and broadcaster Robert Kee - perhaps best known for being one of the original “famous five” presenters who started TV-AM. He flew bombers with the RAF and was shot down over Holland. He became a POW and wrote a book about his experiences called “A Crowd Is Not Company”. I found out about him after seeing his name in my Great grandad’s POW logbook.
    Robert Kee obituary
  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

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  14. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    nigelstock.jpg nigelstock1.png

    Repeat of a previous note on this thread but this time with some photo evidence..

    Nigel Stock from Goodwood House in June 1941 with G Coy 2 Bn London Irish Rifles. Second row, third from the left, sitting next to my Dad...
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    There have long been raised eyebrows over Bogarde's claims to have witnessed the depravity of the Belsen Camp, but his biographer has shed a little more light on the topic.

    An interesting read and very much in the mould of the kind of research many users here are doing:

    Dirk Bogarde » Dirk Bogarde and Belsen
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  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    And while I'm on the topic, this may well interest:

    All songs of Sir Dirk Bogarde. Download free songs of Sir Dirk Bogarde in mp3 and listen online on

    The second interview down (1980) discusses his first novel, A Gentle Occupation, which is heavily autobiographical. It draws upon his time with the British Army in the Dutch East Indies in 1946. He makes clear what it fictionalised and what the atmosphere was like.

    Takes a few moments to load and you'll probably get an annoying pop-up advertising window to close.
  17. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Ironic that he would go on to play Rommel!
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Not on Monty's staff, but in India on the Willcocks Committee, which reported, ultimately, to Auchinleck as C-in-C.

    Here's a rather good photo of him at the time:

    Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 02.11.13.png

    He had tried, repeatedly, to be posted to the field, but ultimately he kept on making himself too useful (and once he had knowledge of ULTRA it was all but impossible to grant such requests). When in India he went as far as to jump in a taxi with Wingate--their one and only meeting--and thought that he'd made a good impression, but sadly, he recorded, 'Wingate was dead before I could cash the cheque."

    Only one of two men to rise from private to Brigadier, remarkably he was promoted L/C while still undergoing basic training, but even before that everybody called him Mister Powell ('Professor' really would have been ridiculous). Wikipedia has the other man to achieve the feat as Fitzroy Maclean, but I don't know whether this is true.

    Interestingly, he only managed to enlist (Royal Warwickshire Regt) by getting the Australian Embassy to write a declaration that he was 'An Australian' on the grounds that he had until recently been Professor of Greek at the University of Sydney.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  19. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    On Sir Fitzroy Maclean, 1st Baronet, besides Wiki also his obituary in The Independent mentions his rise from private to Brigadier during the WWII. See:
    Sir Fitzroy Maclean Bt: Obituary
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  20. Browno

    Browno Fake news challenger

    Maclean's progress from Foreign Office to private in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders at Cameron Barracks in Inverness is contained within his autobiography Eastern Approaches:

    "The processes of medical examination and enlistment took their usual somewhat lengthy course. What to me was the beginning of a new phase in my life was, to the clerks and doctors who took my particulars, so much dreary routine. After swearing the Oath and filling in a number of forms, I was given the King’s Shilling and a railway warrant to Inverness.
    I was a Private in the Cameron Highlanders, my father’s old regiment.
    I arrived at Inverness with a batch of several hundred other new recruits, for the most part nineteen-year-old youths from Glasgow. It was cold and grey and drizzling. In moist, undecided groups, we hung about the barrack square, our hands in the pockets of our civilian suits.
    Then, suddenly, we were pounced on by half a dozen N.C.O.s And given numbers. And divided up into squads. And herded into bleak-looking barrack-rooms named after battles in the Peninsular War: Salamanca, Corunna and Ciudad Rodriguez.
    And issued with things: boot brushes, tooth brushes, knife, fork, spoon, blankets, boots, overalls (denim), bonnets (Balmoral). And told not to —ing lose them. And told to look out and look sharp and hurry up, and use our —ing initiative.
    And given mops and pails and scrubbing brushes and told to —ing scrub the —ing floor.
    My military career had begun."
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