All of the well known Stars and celebrities that are depicted on this page were all real combatants in real combat, which may not be common knowledge.
This is my tribute to them.
Please Note: Long Scroll Page... scroll down or click on a name.
1925-1971 / Aged 46
Audie Murphy was Americas most highly decorated soldier in World War Two, He was decorated no less than 33 times including The Congressional Medal Of Honor which is Americas highest award. Audie Murphy was accredited to killing over 240 enemy soldiers in direct combat and was wounded several times. He made an autobiographical film in 1955 of his exploits in the film titled To Hell and Back which was a super box office hit unbelievably right up to 1975 when it was superseded by the film Jaws. Audie was killed in a plane crash in 1971 aged 47.
1901 - 1960 / Aged 59
Following the tragic death of his beloved wife, actress Carol Lombard, who died in an airplane crash while she was returning home to California after performing at a war bonds drive, the over-aged Clark Gable joined the Army Air Force, and was assigned by General "Hap" Arnold to help produce a film about gunners in B-17 bombers.
General Arnold was concerned with the drop in moral amongst aircrews due to the high casualty rate at that time (1943). Mr Gable and a film crew made a film that highlighted the spirit and determination of the crews of the 351st bomber Group. In the course of that work, Mr Gable went along on some five missions, even though it was neither required of him nor expected. He got along well with the men of the 351st and was respected by them for his "guts " in joining several combat missions. He was awarded the DFC and Air Medal for services rendered. On June 12 1944 Major Gable was relieved from duty at his own request. He was over the age limit for combat missions anyway. He resigned his commission in 1947
1908 - 1997 / Aged 89
On March 22 1941 Jimmy Stewart was drafted into US armed forces , He went into the Army Air Corps and obtained a commission. James Stewart flew with the 453 Bomber Group over Europe and completed 20 successful combat missions flying B-24 s He was awarded the Croix De Guerre with palm leaves for exceptional service. When he retired from the USAF reserve in 1968 it was with the rank of Brigadier General.
Joe Louis : Boxer
1914 - 1981 / Aged 67
Boxer Joe Louis The Brown Bomber was drafted into the US armed Forces on January 14 1942. He held the rank of Training Sergeant and he went over to Europe in 1944 with the Special Services Unit. He made major contributions to the morale of over 2,000,000 soldiers with his frequent boxing exhibitions and was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit for upholding the true spirit of America during WWII. He was discharged from the US Army on 1 October 1945.
Robert Runcie : Archbishop
1921 - 2000 / Aged 79
The Most Reverend Dr Robert Runcie who later became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1980 served with the Scots Guards in WWII as a Tank Officer. He was awarded the Military Cross for courage and distinction for engaging the enemy in Winnekendonk, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany in 1945. During combat in which he lead an attack on an enemy position he was shot and wounded by a German sniper.
1922 - 2003 / Aged 81
Information about Mr. Bronson's WWII exploits have yet to be printed here. But it is known to me that he was a tail gunner in B17 bombers but how many missions flown etc are still not available at this time.
1910 - 1983 / Aged 73
At the outbreak of WWII David Niven joined the Rifle Brigade which was a detachment of the Light infantry and he saw service in Malta and also in Normandy 1944. he quickly worked his way up the ranks to achieve the title of Lieutenant Colonel and served quite notably with the Commandos. It is known that his service was one of valour and that his conduct was exemplary.
Mr. Niven never spoke about the war and didn't like being mentioned about his implications in it. Very little is known about his army career or exploits. It is said that he saw a grave containing a fallen comrade, it was amongst 27,000 other victims of the war and he was recorded as saying " This is 27,000 reasons not to talk about the war." He was awarded The Order of the Legion of Merit by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. amongst other distinctions.
1899 - 1957 / Aged 58
Humphrey Bogart served in the US Navy in the First World War. The ship that he served on was the Leviathan. He saw active service aboard her in 1918. Bogart received an injury to his face and more notably his mouth which left him with a slight lisp this was said to have happened when shrapnel had hit him from an exploding bomb. This is not true, in fact what actually happened was this...
...a Navy prisoner, whom Bogart was escorting, asked for a cigarette. Humphrey said " yeah sure " and reached for his packet, as he did the prisoner smashed Bogart hard across the mouth with his heavy handcuffs and made a run for it. Bogart's lip was almost smashed off, but despite the pain he was in he pursued and apprehended the man, refusing treatment until he had carried out his duty in getting the prisoner locked up.
John F Kennedy : President
1917 - 1963 / Aged 46
In October 1941, J. F. Kennedy was appointed an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and joined the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence. On 15 January 1942, he was assigned to a Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center, Melville, in Rhode Island. Seeking combat duty, Kennedy transferred on 23 February as a replacement officer to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2 and took command of PT 109. He was based at the US naval base on Tulagi Island in the Solomons.
Kennedy conducted nightly operations to interdict the heavy Japanese barge traffic that re-supplied the Japanese garrisons in New Georgia and patrolled the Ferguson and Blackett Straits near the islands of Kolumbangara, Gizo, and Vella-Lavella in order to sight and relay information about Japanese warships which came into the straits.
This is an image of a typical PT boat: Photo from the Alan Sandoval collection
PT 109 commanded by Lt Kennedy was one of the fifteen boats sent out on patrol on the night of 1 August in 1943 for interdiction operations against Japanese warships in the straits. Around 0200 hrs with Kennedy at the helm, PT 109 was creeping along silently in the dark of night when the Japanese destroyer Amagiri travelling fast at 40 knots collided with it. Although the big Japanese destroyer had not realized that their ship had struck an enemy vessel, they had severely damaged PT 109.
Three members of the crew were instantly killed in the collision. Kennedy was thrown into the cockpit and sustained injuries. As the destroyer steamed away, the deluge from its wake put out the flames on the floating section of PT 109 to which five of the crew clung, Kennedy yelled out for others in the water and heard the replies of six members of the crew, two of which were injured.
Although they were only one hundred yards from the floating wreckage, in the dark, freezing sea it took Kennedy three hours to rescue the two injured men and get them back to the wrecked PT. They found salvage on one of the Islands and were later rescued by another PT.
Kennedy was later awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroics in the rescue of the crew of PT 109, he was also awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in the accident. An official account of the entire incident was written by intelligence officers in August 1943. This was declassified in 1959. Kennedy retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve on physical disability in March 1945.
1919 - 2009 / Aged 90
Richard Todd was in the paratroopers during WWII and he fought with great distinction with them, more notably he fought at Arnhem in Holland in 1944, it was a military failure and cost the lives of many allied soldiers it has been depicted as The bridge too far. Information on this actors contribution to the heroic actions that took place there are somewhat scarce.
1924 - 1987 / Aged 63
Lee Marvin enlisted as a private 1st class with the Marine corps in 1941. He fought at the battle of Saipan in June 1944, and was wounded in the butt by Japanese fire which severed his sciatic nerve. He was invalided home shortly afterwards.
1892-1967 / Aged 75
He served in World War I with the London Scottish & Liverpool Scottish regiments. He was awarded the Military Cross on 1918.
1925-2002 / Aged 77
Rod Steiger Joined the US Navy and fought in the Pacific Fleet in WWII. Information is a little sketchy about his exploits except to say that he was a torpedo operator and that he fought in the Battle of Midway.
At 16, he was too young to join up without parental consent, so he lied about his age and wound up posted to China in 1946, just three months after enlisting. For the next six years, he served overseas in Shanghai, Japan, and Hawaii. Though honorably discharged in 1952, he was busted down from corporal three times during his term of service.
1888-1972 / Aged 84
Maurice Chevalier served in WWI he was wounded and captured and repatriated in 1916 when he conned the Germans into believing that he was a medic. In WWII he lived in France and because he had a Jewish girlfriend the Nazis threatened to send her to a concentration camp if he did not entertain the troops. He did this whilst spying for the French resistance and after the war was called a collaborator for his work for the Germans, but has recently been cleared of all charges when his secret work came to light.
1921-1999 / Aged 78
Dirk Bogarde served in the 2nd British Parachute regiment during WWII and served with some distinction. He served with General Frederick Browning and was discharged with the full rank of Major at the wars end.
1917-1981 / Aged 64
Richard Boone served as a tail gunner in Navy Torpedo planes and saw action during WWII.
1917 - 2012 / Aged 95
Ernest Borgnine served in the US navy from 1935 right up to the end of the war in 1945 and became a Gunners Mate 1st class Petty Officer. In the last few years the U.S Navy Dept made Mr Borgnine an Honorary Chief Petty Officer. In July of 2012 Ernest Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with his wife and children at his side.
1924 - 1963 / Aged 39
It may surprise many to learn that Sabu, The Elephant Boy actually flew 42 missions in Bombers during WWII and was heavily decorated for his bravery, receiving the DFC, the Five Air Medal and a high Presidential Unit Citation for exemplary service.
1909 - 2000 / Aged 91
Douglas Fairbanks Jnr Was in the Navy until 1928 and after leaving he went in to acting where he made his name as a fine actor, When WWII began he again enlisted in to the Navy and worked within Mountbatten's Staff to devise secret gadgets to fool the Germans in different devilish ways. He later joined a Commando unit and went on 4 missions. Later in the war he commanded a flotilla of PT boats that helped to fool the Germans into thinking that the Normandy invasion was a diversion.
He was decorated with the American Silver Star, The British DSC and the French Croix De Guerre.
1916-1988 / Aged 72
Trevor Howard served in the British Airborne Division and saw action in WWII. He was medically discharged after he received the Military Cross for Valor.
1912 -2004 / Aged 92
In 1941, at the start of World War II, Julia volunteered as a research assistant for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS was a newly formed secret government intelligence agency. She and her colleagues were sent on assignment to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), as a secret agent, Julia played a prime role in the communication of top secret documents to the U.S. Government and their intelligence departments. In 1945, she was sent to China, where she met fellow OSS agent Paul Child and began a relationship. Following the end of World War II, the couple returned to America and were later married.
Mel Brooks was in the Combat Engineers and saw action in the Ardennes in The Battle of the Bulge He de-activated mines and helped to clear mine fields. He used to answer German propaganda that was broadcast at regular intervals with a loudspeaker shouting " Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye "
1920 -1992 / Aged 72
Neville Brand fought in the European theater of operations in WWII from December 16th 1944 onwards, he fought in the Ardennes aka The Battle Of the Bulge, also in the Rhineland and Central Europe.
He received the Silver Star for Gallantry whilst in hospital for his actions in combat (see below). Also he was awarded the Purple Heart, The Good Conduct Medal, the American defense Ribbon, the European/African/Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
In 1966 Neville Brand was interviewed about his wartime career, Brand recalled how he earned his Silver Star when his unit came under intense fire from German machine guns located within a hunting lodge. " I must have flipped my lid, " he said, for " I decided to go into that lodge." Disregarding his own safety, he worked his way around to the rear of the lodge/command post, burst in through the back and single-handedly dispatched the enemy within.
Later, on April 7th, 1945, exactly one month and a day before the official German surrender, Sergeant Brand was wounded in action by the Weser River. Felled by a gunshot to his upper right arm, and pinned down by withering enemy ground fire, Brand lay there slowly bleeding to death. "I knew I was dying," he said, " It was a lovely feeling, like being half-loaded." Rescued and treated, Brand was evacuated to a military hospital and, on September 17th, 1945, he departed for the United States. Less than a month later, Staff Sergeant Brand was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
1919-1995 / Aged 76
Donald Pleasance was in the RAF as a pilot and was shot down and captured by the Germans, interrogated and held prisoner until the end of the war.
1920-2005 / Aged 85
James Doohan landed in Normandy in 1944 with the US Army.
1914-2000 / Aged 86
Alec Guinness was in charge of a landing craft on D-Day whilst serving in the Navy.
1906-2005 / Aged 99
Eddie Albert was a US naval Officer and was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery in assisting Marines in the fight with the Japanese on the Pacific Island of Tarawan in November 1943.
1927-1999 / Aged 72
George C Scott was a decorated Marine who fought in WWII.
1921-1997 / Aged 76
Brian Keith served as a USN Rear Gunner in aircraft in the battle for Rabal in the Pacific.
1921-1991 / Aged 70
John Russell enlisted in the Marines in 1942 and was highly decorated for heroic action in Guadalcanal. A battlefield commission was awarded along with the purple heart after he got wounded in action.
1909-1973 / Aged 64
Robert Ryan was in the Army and served as an undercover agent with the OSS in Yugoslavia.
1914-1958 / Aged 44
Tyrone Power joined the USN as pilot and served especially well during the battle for Iwo Jima and Okinawa flying supplies in and getting wounded soldiers out.
Charles Durning was in the US Rangers and fought in Normandy...being in the thick of action during WWII. He was actually amongst the first wave to hit Omaha beach on D-Day and was lucky to survive the initial impact as most first waves troops were decimated in their droves on that fateful day.
Durning was severly wounded by a German "S" anti-personel mine on June 15th, 1944, whilst fighting at Les Mare des Mares in France. He was taken to the 24th Field Evacuation Hospital to be "patched up". On June 17th, Durning was shipped to the U.K and was sent to the 217th General Hospital. Durning had wounds to both legs, right hand, left chest cavity and parts of his head.
Durning was not one to languish in hospital and demanded he be sent back into action. His wish was granted and 6 months later on December 6th, 1944 he duly arrived back at the front line to fight in The Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium.
Durning was wounded again, this time taking a hit in the chest from enemy shrapnel. He was again back on the boat to the U.K hospital, this time though, when he partially recovered from his wounds he was sent back to the States. On January 30th, 1946, Durning as finally discharged from the Army with the rank of Pfc. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery and the purple heart for his wounds.
Special thanks to Mr Gary Nelson from Glen Dale, Maryland USA for additional information on this page.
Special thanks to Mr Chuck Pride former Captain in the Army Medical Corps U.S.A for help with research about Mr N Brand.
Special thanks to ' Stan ' ( he knows who he is ) for information about Clark Gable.
Special thanks to Dee Shneiderman for help with the Julia Child information
Page created November 6th 2000. Updated July 11th 2012.