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This Day in WWII 18 November 1939 - 1944


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ChevroletAd-Nov1943.jpg US Navy Recruitment Ad - November 1942

1939: The Dutch ship Simon Bolivar hits an 'un-notified' mine in the North Sea, killing 80. Several other neutral ships also sunk by mines.

Kay%20Kendall-1.jpg *Kay Kendall

1941: British night commando raid on the German HQ in Libya.

1941: At 6am 'Operation Crusader', the British Eighth Army's offensive to relieve Tobruk begins. Rommel, who arrives back from Rome that day, is caught by surprise, allowing the British XXX Corps to advance 50-miles and capture the axis airfield 10 miles south of Sidi Rezegh. The Germans, believing that the British are about to encircle Bardia, send the Afrika Korps on a wild goose chase in that direction.

Kay%20Kendall2.jpg Kay Kendall

1942: Laval is given absolute power by Vichy in Africa.

GM-Nov1943.jpg General Motors Ad - November 1943

1943: The RAF begin the 'battle of Berlin' with 700 tons dropped. Other areas also pounded in the biggest RAF operation so far. Over the next 4 months, 16 major attacks were launched against the German capital, involving a total of 9,111 sorties. During this period, 492 aircraft failed to return, and 954 were damaged.

1943: A German counter offensive recaptures Zhitomir.

Kay%20Kendall3.jpg Kay Kendall

1944: The U.S. Third Army crosses the German frontier. Metz is cut off and surrounded by the U.S. Third Army's, XX Corps.

1944: A German hospital ship, Tübingen is sunk accidentally by allied aircraft in the Adriatic, but luckily no wounded were onboard. The British express regret to the German authorities about the mistake.

Kay%20Kendall4.jpg Kay Kendall

*Kay Kendall was born Justine Kay Kendall-McCarthy on May 21, 1926 at Stanley House, Hull Road, in Withernsea, a coastal resort in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Her maternal grandmother was Marie Kendall, a musical-comedy star known for her vivacious personality and diction while singing. Her father was Terry McCarthy, a vaudevillian. She was commonly known to family and friends as Kate, according to the memoirs of the actor Sir Dirk Bogarde. Her brother, Cavan Kendall (born Cavan McCarthy), who died on 30 October 1999, was also an actor.

Kendall's distinctive nose, an aristocratic swoop, was the result of plastic surgery after a car crash. As she told Bogarde, the surgeon had only two noses in his repertoire, "this one and the other one." The one she chose, Kendall explained, made it difficult to photograph her in profile.

Kay Kendall's hometown of Withernsea has a lighthouse situated a stones throw from where Kendall once lived. The lighthouse is no longer in use but has been turned into a museum and has many interesting items associated with Kay Kendall's life and times.

Her first major screen role was in the Sid Field-Petula Clark musical "London Town" (1946), notable for being one of the costliest flops in British film history. She co-starred with Clark again in "Dance Hall" (1950), and was featured in a quick succession of minor films before gaining fame in "Genevieve" (1953).

Kay%20Kendall5.jpg Kay Kendall

Kendall appeared in the first film in the Doctor series, "Doctor in the House" (1954) with Dirk Bogarde, "Simon And Laura" (1955) with Peter Finch, "Abdulla the Great" (1955) with Sydney Chaplin and Gregory Ratoff, and the epic film "The Adventures of Quentin Durward" (1955), with Robert Taylor and Robert Morley. In 1958, Kendall won a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Lady Sybil Wren in "Les Girls", probably one of the best-known films of her career, the story of three showgirls in postwar Paris (the other actresses were Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg). The following year, she starred opposite Harrison in "The Reluctant Debutante". Kendall died in 1959 soon after completing her last movie, "Once More, with Feeling!" (1960), starring opposite Yul Brynner.

Early in her career, Kendall had a romantic relationship with Sydney Earle Chaplin, the second son of Charlie Chaplin by his second wife, Lita Grey Chaplin. In 1955 she starred opposite Rex Harrison in the comedy "The Constant Husband", and an affair soon followed. Harrison was married to actress Lilli Palmer at the time. However, when he learned from Kendall's doctor that Kendall had been diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, he and Palmer agreed to divorce so he could marry Kendall and provide for her care. Kendall was never told of her illness and ended up believing she merely had an iron deficiency. As for the divorce, Palmer said she was not upset because she had a lover, too. Palmer and Harrison planned to remarry after Kendall's death, but Palmer ended up falling in love with her companion, Carlos Thompson, and married him instead.

Kay Kendall succumbed to her illness on September 6, 1959 at the age of 33, and is buried in the churchyard of St John's Church, Church Row, Hampstead, north London.


Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Nickname: Katie

Personal Quotes:

"We British are so square we have to smuggle our tits past Customs."

ChevroletAd-Nov1943.jpg Chevrolet Ad - November 1943

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