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This Day in WWII 8 May 1940 - 1945

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Packard-May1944.jpgPackard Ad - May 1944

 

1940: Opposition censure motion against Chamberlain's conduct of the war; rejected by 281 to 200, but over 30 government MPs vote for it.

 

1940: German commandos in Dutch uniforms cross the Dutch border to hold bridges for the advancing German army.

 

NancyOlson1.jpg *Nancy Olson

 

1941: During an attack against convoy OB318, U-110 commanded by Julius Lemp suffers serious damage and is forced to surface and scuttle. Unfortunately for the Germans, the scuttling charges failed to detonate, allowing the British destroyer HMS Bulldog to put across a boarding party and seize an enigma machine and other vital secret material. The British put U-110 under tow, but the damaged U-boat later sinks.

 

1941: The German raider Penguin is sunk by HMS Cornwall off the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.

 

NancyOlson2.jpg Nancy Olson

 

1942: The German 11th Army begins its summer offensive in order to clear the Eastern Crimea. The 11th Army has thirteen Infantry, one Panzer, and one Cavalry division. Luftwaffe support is provided by Fliegerkorps 8 and naval support comes from German E-boats and Italian midget submarines, which attack Russian supply ships reinforcing Sevastopol. The Germans hit Gen. D.T. Kozlov's Crimean Front along Feodosiya Bay and crash through the 44th Army's two divisions, relying on Junkers 87 Stukas to do the damage.

 

1942: The aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and USS Wasp fly off Spitfires from positions in the Western Mediterranean to reinforce the air defences of Malta.

 

1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea between the Japanese Navy and the U.S. Navy ends. At about 0800 hours both the Japanese and American carrier groups spot each other and send out attack aircraft. The Japanese succeed in torpedoing the Lexington, which severely damaged and later abandoned, while the Americans disable the Shokaku, which is withdrawn to Truk. Later in the day, the Japanese launch more attacks to destroy the remainder of Admiral Fletchers force, but this had withdrawn out of range.

 

1942: Japanese troops capture Myitkyina in northern Burma.

 

NancyOlson3.jpg Nancy Olson

 

1943: Thousands of Korean-Americans petition to have their status converted from that of enemy aliens to friendly aliens. In December 1943, this is granted.

 

1943: British forces withdraw from Buthidaung, just inside Burma.

 

1943: Joint Strategic Plan approved at Cairo: South Pacific to the Philippines (MacArthur); China to Hong Kong (Chiang); Central Pacific to Formosa (Nimitz)

 

Packard2-May1944.jpg Packard Ad - May 1944

 

1944: Eisenhower decides that D-Day will be the 5th June.

 

1944: Rudolf Höss returns to Auschwitz, ordered by Himmler to oversee the extermination of Hungarian Jews.

 

NancyOlson4.jpg Nancy Olson

 

1945: VE-Day (Victory-in-Europe Day). Germany surrenders unconditionally, and the war in Europe ends. The Royal Observer Corps is also stood-down from its war footing and assumes its peacetime role. At this time there were 32,000 observers based at 1,420 posts around the UK. (WATCH VIDEO)

 

1945: An RAF Catalina damages U-320 near Bergen off the coast of Norway. The boat is then scuttled by the crew, no hands lost, becoming the final German submarine lost as a result of combat action in World War 2. German unconditional surrender signed in Reims, France on 7th May takes effect fifty-nine minutes before midnight this date (VE Day--Victory in Europe Day). Allied merchant shipping sunk to U-boats, world-wide from January to the end of hostilities is 103 ships, equaling 403,760 gross tons. 120 U-boats were lost worldwide in the same period. For the entire war the allies lost 3,500 ships. equaling 17,467,818 gross tons, whilst the Germans lost 769 U-boats.

 

1945: In deference to the Russians, the surrender ceremony to the western allies at Rheims of the previous day is repeated before Marshall Zhukov and other Soviet generals at Karlshorst, a suburb of Berlin. After radio appeals early in the day for protection against heavy German shelling, the Prague resistance reaches an agreement with the Germans for the capitulation of the city, as the U.S. 4th Armoured Division from the West and Koniev's troops from the East approach.

 

1945: The last convoys of German refugees from Eastern Germany arrive in western Baltic ports, ending the largest rescue operation by sea in history. Since the 25th January, a total of 420,000 civilians and wounded soldiers have been evacuated.

 

NancyOlson5.jpg Nancy Olson

 

*Nancy (Ann) Olson was born on Saturday, July 14 1928 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Henry, a physician, and Evelyn Olson, and educated at the University of Wisconsin. She cast such a sunny, positive glow in 1950s and 1960s films that you wonder how her promising career might have turned out had it not taken a sudden family detour. Discovered on stage after transferring to California's UCLA, the pretty, peaches-and-cream blonde was quickly signed by Paramount Studios in 1948 and almost immediately handed co-starring parts after an unbilled bit part in "Portrait of Jennie" (1948).

 

Earning a prime role in the picture "Canadian Pacific" (1949), the relatively inexperienced starlet was given the role of a lifetime as script girl Betty Schaefer, who attracts ne'er-do-well writer William Holden and irks reclusive diva Gloria Swanson in the towering classic "Sunset Blvd." (1950). A bright and animated presence who held her own in a film rich with scene-stealers, Nancy won a deserved Oscar nomination for "best supporting actress" as one of the more sane characters in the film. Her pairing with Holden, in fact, went over so well they were teamed in a succession of standard features: "Union Station" (1950), "Force of Arms" (1951), and "Submarine Command" (1951), none holding a candle to their "Sunset" pairing. Other male co-stars during this active period included John Wayne as "Big Jim McLain" (1952), Sterling Hayden in "So Big" (1953) (one of her finer post "Sunset" roles), and Will Rogers Jr. in "The Boy from Oklahoma" (1954).

 

Nancy's increasing status in Hollywood came to a virtual halt in the mid-1950s, after marrying renowned lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (who later wrote "On a Clear Day..." and "Camelot"). She abruptly put her acting on hold in favor of raising their two daughters and her career never fully recovered. While the couple divorced in 1957 and she decided to return full-time to acting, the writing was already on the wall. An actress' prime can be ruefully short; by the late 50s Nancy was perceived as too mature to now play the fresh-faced, girl-next-door type for which she was so identified.

 

Disney Studios came to the rescue, however, in the early 60s and gave her mid-career an added luster by playing Fred MacMurray love interest in both "The Absent Minded Professor" (1961) and "Son of Flubber" (1963). Her poise, charm and ever-animated appeal was absolutely in sync with the studio's squeaky-clean image, and adding just the right amount of feisty, feminine starch for the light slapstick happenings around her. Other Disney films she sparticipated in included "Pollyanna" (1960) and "Snowball Express" (1972). She also made an unbilled cameo appearance in the "Flubber" (1997) remake starring Robin Williams, which is the last time she has been seen on screen.

 

Nancy went on to find sunny work on Broadway, notably in the plays "The Tunnel of Love," "Send Me No Flowers" and "Mary, Mary." In the 70s and 80s, she came back with a couple of secondary parts on regular series TV, but the shows were both short-lived. She retired for all intents and purposes in the mid-80s. Her second marriage in 1962 to record executive Alan Livingston, who also created the TV character of Bozo the Clown, was long lasting (he died in 2009) and their son, Christopher Livingston, is a sometime film director.

 

Packard-May1945.jpgPackard Ad - May 1945

 

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