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Old 05-28-2010, 12:56 AM   #61
rkolinski rkolinski is offline
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Victor McLaglen (American actor)


Born on December 10, 1886, at 505 Commercial Road, Mile End, London. His father, an Anglican bishop, moved the family to Clermont, South Africa when McLaglen was a child. In 1900 he left home at fourteen to join the British Army with the intention of fighting in the Second Boer War. However, much to his chagrin, he was stationed at Windsor Castle with the Life Guards and was later forced to leave the army when his true age was discovered, before his father bought his release.

After living as a prize fighter, labourer, wrestler and railroad policeman in Canada, he graduated to exhibition boxing in circuses, vaudeville, and Wild West shows when touring in the United States—once going six rounds with world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. He went to Australia and joined the Kalgoorlie gold rush, travelled to Tahiti, Fiji, and Ceylon, and was physical training instructor to the raja of Akola in India. Early in 1914 he went to South Africa where his father was bishop of Clermont, near Durban. At the outbreak of WWI, he returned to England and served as a 2nd Lt (June 19, 1915), Lt (July 1, 1917) and as a Captain (acting) with the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, part of the The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires). He arrived in Basrah, Iraq on August 8, 1916, and served for a time as military Provost Marshal (and was apparently involved in espionage) in Sheikh Saad, 125 miles south-east of Baghdad along the Tigris, relinquishing the temprary rank of captain (March 4, 1919). He was wounded twice. He also continued boxing, and was named Heavyweight Champion of the British Army in 1918. At some point, he was demobbed as a captain. He later claimed to have served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers but this was apparently also a slight bit of embellishment to boost his Irish credentials in Hollywood.

Description Medal card of McLaglen, V A De B, Middlesex Regiment, Temporary Captain,
Date 1914-1920, Catalogue reference WO 372/13

William Bakewell (American actor)


During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He was stationed at the 73rd Evacuation Hospital and at the The Radio Section of the Special Service Division as the Post Intelligence Officer and, also worked under the department that handled distribution of recorded programs to overseas station circuits.

Pierre Fresnay (French actor)


A soldier in the French Army during World War I, he returned to his career a hero. However, under the German occupation of World War II, Fresnay worked for the Franco-German film company Continental, for which he made Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Corbeau and other films. After the war, he was detained in prison while allegations of collaboration were investigated. After being held for six weeks, he was released as a result of a lack of evidence. Despite Fresnay’s declarations that he worked in films to help save the French film industry in a period of crisis, the move damaged his popularity with the public.
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:57 AM   #62
rkolinski rkolinski is offline
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Claire Adams (Canadian silent film actress and benefactor)


Claire Adams worked briefly as a nurse with the Red Cross during World War I.

Karl Dane (Danish American comedian and actor mainly of the silent film era)


In 1907 he began compulsory military service in the First Artillery Battalion. He would be promoted to Lance Corporal. With the outbreak of World War I Dane was called back to duty. He was eventually promoted to Corporal before being discharged in 1915.

Carl Voss (Actor and film technical advisor)
[Show spoiler]


American World War I veteran (US Army staff sergeant),who besides appearing as a film extra and military film technical advisor commanded a private army of up to 2,112 former servicemen who acted as extra actors in 232 films from 1923 to 1940.

Last edited by rkolinski; 05-28-2010 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Forgot image
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:59 AM   #63
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Charlie Chaplin (English comic actor and film director)


Upon the U.S. entering World War I, Chaplin became a spokesman for Liberty Bonds with his close friend Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.

Chaplin's first talking picture, The Great Dictator (1940), was an act of defiance against Nazism, filmed and released in the United States one year before the U.S. abandoned its policy of neutrality to enter World War II. Chaplin played the role of "Adenoid Hynkel," Dictator of Tomania, modeled on German dictator Adolf Hitler. The film also showcased comedian Jack Oakie as "Benzino Napaloni," dictator of Bacteria, a jab at Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. He was nominated for Academy awards for Best Picture (producer), Best Original Screenplay (writer) and Best Actor in The Great Dictator.

Still, the final dramatic speech in The Great Dictator, which was critical of following patriotic nationalism without question, and his vocal public support for the opening of a second European front in 1942 to assist the Soviet Union in World War II were controversial. Chaplin declined to support the war effort as he had done for the First World War which led to public anger, although his two sons saw service in the Army in Europe. For most of World War II he was fighting serious criminal and civil charges related to his involvement with actress Joan Barry.
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:01 AM   #64
rkolinski rkolinski is offline
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Donna Reed (American actress)



Her "girl-next-door" good looks and warm on-stage personality made her a popular pin-up for many GIs during WWII. She personally answered letters from many GIs serving overseas.

and

http://www10.nytimes.com/2009/05/25/...onna.html?_r=5

Cameron Mitchell (American actor)


Mitchell served as a bombardier with the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

Jack Pennick (American actor)



Pennick joined the United States Marine Corps and served with the Peking Legation Guard in China in 1912. He was with the Marines in World War I and reenlisted in the United States Navy in 1942, at the age of 46. He served as Chief Petty Officer under Commander John Ford in the Field Photographic Unit and, according to Ford, was decorated with the Silver Star medal for action in which he was wounded at Majaz al Bab, Tunisia during World War II.

and from "Oral History of Commander Ford": http://www.navy.mil/midway/ford_o_h.html

"My Chief Petty Officer, Ronald J. Pennick, Jack Pennick, who was quite a well-known picture actor, happened on an old Marine pal. He [Pennick] was with the Pekin [Peking, China, U.S. Marine] Legation Guard in 1912. He's been with me for 20 years. He did a good job, proved he was a good soldier, did quite a stunt up there, was decorated by the Secretary of the Navy with the Silver Star, for gallantry."
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:19 AM   #65
Lord_Stewie Lord_Stewie is offline
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There is really a deep and rich history in Hollywood.

I salute everyone mentioned here.
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:53 PM   #66
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Esmond Penington Knight



"He was an accomplished actor with a career spanning over half a century. For much of his career Esmond Knight was virtually blind. He had been badly injured in 1941 whilst on active service on board HMS Prince of Wales when she fought the Bismarck at the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and remained totally blind for two years, though he later regained some sight in his right eye."

The Battle of Denmark Strait

"At the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead Esmond took up his duties as a divisional officer whilst welders and riveters hurried to finish work on “Job No. X”, as it was known. Apart from becoming familiar with the ship and his new duties, there was not a great deal to do and the first few months of 1941 were rather dull. But on 31st March Prince of Wales was considered "officially complete" and set sail for the first time, round the coast of Scotland on a series of "shake down" cruises which eventually took her up the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh docks. There, in early May, as Esmond celebrated his 35th birthday, she moored within sight of the pride of the British fleet, HMS Hood, the biggest warship in the world. Although "officially complete", Prince of Wales still had civilian contractors from Vickers-Armstrong on board who were hurriedly trying to sort out teething problems with two of her gun turrets. Meanwhile the less experienced crew members such as Esmond were learning important procedures such as what happens when “Action Stations” is called. Whilst Prince of Wales was docked at Edinburgh another actor joined the ship's crew, Robin Kempson, brother of actress Rachel Kempson and brother-in-law of Michael Redgrave. He too was a lieutenant in the RNVR, though with more experience than Esmond, having already seen active service and indeed a considerable amount of enemy action. Kempson had served onboard HMS Turquoise picking up evacuees from the beaches during the Dunkirk evacuation. He had been injured and suffered a breakdown and was now returning to duty on Prince of Wales having made a full recovery. Many years later, in the 1960s, Esmond appeared on stage with Robin's niece, Vanessa Redgrave.

On 18th May, British spies in Norway observed the huge new German battleship Bismarck heading out to sea accompanied by a heavy cruiser, Prinz Eugen, and reported the news to London. This caused great anxiety at the Admiralty. A ship with the firing capacity of Bismarck would cause havoc in the Atlantic amongst allied convoys and endanger supply ships that were already suffering heavily from U-boat attacks. She had to be intercepted and stopped at all cost. Prince of Wales had by now followed Hood up to Scapa Flow and her captain, John Leach, no doubt sensing that something was about to happen and not wanting to miss out, declared to his commanding officer aboard Hood, Admiral Tovey, that his ship was ready to take her place in the Home Fleet as a fighting ship, despite ongoing problems with the two turrets. On 21st May Tovey received confirmation that the German ships were on the move. Prince of Wales was ordered to sea with all haste, accompanying Hood to seek out the German ships. The two gun turrets were still not functioning properly and the civilian technicians were still on board.
Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were heading for the Denmark Strait, the stretch of sea that separates Greenland from Iceland, and aiming for the open waters of the Atlantic. At midnight on 22nd May the British ships set course to intercept, Hood leading the way with Prince of Wales slightly astern and to starboard. For two days they cruised at full steam in a north-westerly direction.

When not on duty Esmond felt constantly restless, as no doubt did all the crew. He tried to read and to draw and to think about anything other than what they were heading towards. But it was impossible to block out thoughts of what was to come. Late on 23rd May they were told to expect action before the night was out. In his cabin Esmond wrote two letters (one to Fran, one to Nora), wrapped pictures and photographs in his bedding to prevent damage, dressed in warm clothes and tried to keep his mind off the battle to come. "All the time there was a persisent little voice crying out from every nook and cranny in the ship that we were to be in action before many hours, and that nothing could avoid it."

In his letter to Nora, Esmond wrote: "Tonight we have received a report from another ship operating considerably to the North that she has spotted the Bismarck and a Hipper class cruiser. The Captain has just addressed the ship's company and we are going flat out in an attempt to intercept. The ship is vibrating like a mad thing and we, in company with Hood and escorting destroyer, are going 'everything wide open in the proper direction' as the Captain put it !! Everyone is very calm but there is a terrific intensity in the air. It is our first time on a real trip after working up so we are inevitably lucky! There seems every possibility that we shall meet! And that is going to be some party I think! As is customary before action stations, people have retired to wash and change into clean underclothes - we expect to be in action in about 2 hours - we shall see. Must away, my dear, and put myself straight. I shall hope to finish this later !!"

In the early hours of 24th May - Empire Day - the paths of the converging British and German ships met. Esmond was dozing on his bunk when “Action Stations!” sounded for real. Clutching his tin hat and Zeiss binoculars (the souvenir from his pre-war holiday in Austria) he rushed to his action station on the compass platform - or to be precise, above it, in an unarmoured anti-aircraft control position. There he made himself ready, adjusting his lifebelt, binoculars and director telescopes and, along with others, trying to make his tin hat stay on his head on top of the anti-flash hood which was intended to give protection from the effects of a shell blast. Looking up, he saw that the battle flags had been hoisted. At 5am, as dawn broke, Prince of Wales received a signal from Hood - "Instant readiness for action" - and 45 minutes later, with everyone gazing at the horizon to the north, including Esmond, came a cry from Knocker White, the lad who had been sent aloft up the mast to the foretop with extra clothing and a set of binoculars: "Enemy in sight!".
For a moment nothing could be seen as the foretop was so much higher than the compass platform and the horizon remained unbroken. Then, in Esmond's words:

"After minutes of staring at the blank distance, suddenly - and one could scarcely believe one's eyes - there appeared the topmasts of two ships! .... There they were in dead sharp silhouette on the horizon - Bismarck and Prinz Eugen - steaming in smokeless line ahead, unperturbed and sinister."
The British and German ships were still 17 miles apart which, as Ludovic Kennedy points out in is book Pursuit - The Sinking of the Bismarck, is about the distance between Piccadily Circus and Hampton Court Palace. However, at a combined speed of 60 miles per hour, they were closing rapidly and were in range within minutes. At 5.52am Hood signalled the order to open fire on Bismarck. Esmond saw the orange flashes and black smoke as Hood fired her first salvo, then felt the "pulverising crashing roar" as Prince of Wales opened fired seconds later. For a few moments Hood and Prince of Wales were firing at different ships, gunnery officers on Hood having assumed that Bismarck was in the lead whereas an experienced gunnery officer on Prince of Wales had identified her as the second ship. Having fired two salvos, Hood realised the mistake and turned her attention to Bismarck.

All four ships were now exchanging fire, both German ships concentrating on Hood and both British ships concentrating on Bismarck. The Germans found the range of their enemy quicker than the British, and through his binoculars Esmond saw the British salvos falling short of their target whilst flashes and smoke from Bismarck in particular were producing great spouts of water just astern of the Hood.

"Suddenly one became conscious of that unmistakable noise, which produced a horrible sinking feeling inside one - a noise growing in a gradual crescendo - something like the approach of an underground train, getting louder and louder and filling the air .......but at this moment the incredible happened: there had been that rushing sound which had ominously ceased, and then, as I looked, a great sprouting explosion burst from the centre of the Hood, enormous tongues of pale red flame shot into the air, while dense clouds of whitish-yellow smoke burst upwards, and gigantic pieces of brightly burning debris were hurled hundreds of feet into the air. I just did not believe what I saw - the Hood had literally been blown to pieces, and just before she was totally enveloped in that ghastly pall of smoke I saw her fire her last salvo. I felt quite sick inside and turned away .... I turned back and looked again, with a weak feeling in my knees - the smoke had cleared, and the Hood was no more; there was nothing to be seen of her."

At exactly 6.00am Bismarck had made a direct hit on the Hood's aft magazines. The force of the explosion tore the ship apart and she broke into two pieces. It took just three minutes for her to sink with the loss of 1,417 men and only 3 survivors. Remarkably, her forward turrets fired one last time whilst she was actually sinking, as witnessed by Esmond. "
"The loss of the Hood was the last thing Esmond Knight saw with perfect sight. With Hood gone, Bismarck and Prinz Eugen immediately turned their attention to Prince of Wales which had had to swerve sharply to avoid the Hood's wreckage and was dangerously exposed. Gunnery officers on Prince of Wales had found their range now and managed to fire off two salvos that hit their mark and caused significant damage to Bismarck. But Bismarck had also found her range - and it was the next salvo from the German battleship that was to change Esmond's life forever. "From that moment on everything seems hazy, except that I remember again hearing that great rushing noise, like the approach of a cyclone, and having a quite irrelevant dream about listening to the band in Hyde Park, and then being conscious of a high ringing noise in my head and slowly coming to. I had the sensation that I was dying. It was a strange feeling, and one that made me feel rather sad - no more. There was a lot of water swishing about- I was lying on my side with a great weight on top of me. What on earth had happened?" What had happened was this - at precisely 6.02am, a 15 inch shell from Bismarck ripped straight through the compass platform of the Prince of Wales, exploding only when it had passed out of the other side. Almost everyone on the compass platform was killed - 13 men in all. The exceptions were Captain Leach, the Chief Yeoman of Signals, the navigating officer and Esmond, the latter two both receiving facial wounds from flying debris, including molten metal."

As he came round, Esmond could not see but he could hear - "Stretcher bearers! Clear the way!" and what he described as "the uncanny noise that men make when they are dying." He could smell the blood as dead bodies were lifted off him. He was bundled down to the sick bay where a medical offer said: "Hallo, what are you doing here?" and "Open your eyes, old boy." Esmond tried to open them but everything was black. He lay there, still in his clothes, with bandages around his face, listening to "great roars which shook the ship as the fight was carried on ..." until a morphia induced sleep enveloped him.

Back on deck, Captain Leach, who had suffered no injury and was merely shaken, recovered quickly and Prince of Wales continued to fire at Bismarck. But alone now that Hood had gone, with guns malfunctioning and further hits from both Bismarck and Prinz Eugen taking their toll (seven in all), he had no choice but to turn his ship away, covering the withdrawal with a smokescreen. Official records show that both Prince of Wales and Bismarck ceased firing at exactly the same moment, 6.09am, as any further salvos would have been a pointless waste of ammunition. Ironically, throughout the brief battle, the crew of Bismarck did not know the true identity of the ship they were firing at alongside Hood. They thought she was King George V, as German intelligence sources were unaware that Prince of Wales had entered service.

The Battle of Denmark Strait had lasted just under 20 minutes and almost 1,500 men had lost their lives. Esmond came away from the confrontation with a serious facial injury. He was blind. But when you consider the devastation to Prince of Wales' compass platform caused by the shell from Bismarck and the body count around his action station, he was incredibly lucky to be alive at all."
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:55 PM   #67
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Jon Pertwee




Pertwee, an English actor, is best known for his role in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, in which he played the third incarnation of the Doctor from 1970 to 1974.

Pertwee was an officer in the Royal Navy, spending some time working in naval intelligence during the Second World War. He was a crew member of HMS Hood and was transferred off the ship shortly before she was sunk, losing all but three men. It was during his time in the Navy that Jon woke up one morning after a drunken night out while in port to find a tattoo on his right arm, which was occasionally seen during his time in Doctor Who.
Ordinary Seaman Jon Pertwee joined the crew of HMS Hood in November 1940 and was onboard Hood on 22nd May 1941 as she and HMS Prince of Wales left Scapa Flow. But at some stage during the two-day race to intercept Bismarck, it was decided to remove sixteen young crew members with Officer potential prior to the battle, Pertwee among them. They were told to pack their kit and be over the side in twenty minutes, where a trawler would transfer them to another ship and subsequently back to Portsmouth. Had he stayed on board he would certainly have been killed as his action station was "winding a small wheel in the bowels of the ship". Of the loss of Hood so soon after leaving her, he wrote: "It was a terrible, shocking thing, and I have never really got over it. To have had so many good friends die in the time it takes to snap your fingers." After the war he and Esmond became good friends."
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