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This Day in WWII 1 August 1940 - 1944


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CadillacAd-August1944.jpg Cadillac Ad - August 1944

1940: RAF bomb Krupp works at Essen.

1940: British Order in Council declares the start of the grouse shooting season to be August 5 instead of the 12th.

Veronica%20Lake1.jpg *Veronica Lake

1940: Hitler signs Directive No.17, requiring the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine to increase their attacks against Britain and her shipping, in preparation for 'Operation Sealion'.

1940: Russian Foreign Minister Molotov reaffirms Soviet neutrality and Russo-German pact and verbally attacks Britain and US.

Veronica%20Lake2.jpg Veronica Lake

1941: Roosevelt stops US oil supplies to the 'aggressors'.

1941: Fighting flares up around the perimeter of Tobruk.

Veronica%20Lake3.jpg Veronica Lake

1941: The Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo plane makes its first flight.

1941: Army Group Centre continues its liquidation of the Smolensk pocket. Soviet troops put up fierce resistance near Orsha and Vitebsk west of Smolensk. A powerful counter-offensive is launched at Gomel south of Mogilev against German bridgeheads over the Dnieper River.

Veronica%20Lake4.jpg Veronica Lake

1941: First convoy to Murmansk.

1942: Ensign Henry C. White, while flying a J4F Widgeon plane, sinks U-166 as it approaches the Mississippi River, the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Veronica%20Lake5.jpg Veronica Lake

1942: An interlocking convoy system is introduced along the entire US eastern seaboard, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

1942: The 15th Panzer Division fails to break through the British 8th Army's lines in the battle of Alam Halfa and advance toward Alexandria, 120km away. The German lose about 30 tanks and are forced to withdraw.

Veronica%20Lake6.jpg Veronica Lake

1942: Army Group A continues to fan out into the Caucasus region, while advance units reach the Kuban River. Army Group B continues its fight to cut off the Soviet defenders near Kalach in the Don bend near Stalingrad.

1942: Japanese establish puppet government in Burma.

MobilgasAd-August1944.jpg Mobilgas Ad - August 1944

1943: The USAAF loses 54 B24s out of 178 in a disastrous raid (the longest yet attempted) on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania while inflicting only superficial damage. (WATCH NEWSREEL)

1943: Increasingly heavy fighting continues on Sicily, with some of the fiercest fighting yet seen.

Broad%20Views4.jpg

Featured in the "HUMP EXPRESS", the official weekly newspaper of the India-China Division (ICD) of the Air Transport Command (ATC) of the U.S. Army Air Force in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of World War II - February 22, 1945

1943: Hitler orders the immediate evacuation of the Orel salient.

1943: Lydia Litvak, the top scoring Russian female fighter pilot of the war (12 kills), is shot down and killed.

Veronica%20Lake7.jpg Veronica Lake

1943: The Japanese destroyer Amagiri sinks USN PT-109 in the Solomon's, which is commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

1944: Patton's U.S. Third Army is activated.

Veronica%20Lake8.jpg Veronica Lake

1944: The Russians take Kaunas and cut all roads from Germany to Baltic States. Bor-Komorowski leads the Warsaw Uprising by the 38,000 strong Polish underground Army. They receive no support from Soviet forces who are already on the eastern bank of the Vistula opposite the city.

1944: The Finnish President Risto Ryti resigns, with his place is taken by Marshal Karl Gustav Mannerheim.

Veronica%20Lake9.jpg Veronica Lake

1944: U.S. Marines complete the capture of Tinian Island losing 389 killed for 9,000 Japanese.

Veronica%20Lake10.jpg Veronica Lake

*Born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman (later Keane) in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1919 (some sources list 1922 as her date of birth). Her father, Harry E. Ockelman, of Danish-Irish descent, worked for an oil company onboard a ship. Her father died in an industrial explosion in Philadelphia in 1932 when she was ten. Her mother, née Constance Charlotta Trimble (19021992), (listed as "Veronica F." on the 1920 census), married family friend Anthony Keane, a newspaper staff artist, a year later, and Lake began using his last name. Lake was sent to Villa Maria, an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Montreal, Canada, which she hated and from which she was expelled. The Keane family later moved to Miami, Florida. Lake attended high school in Miami, where she was known for her beauty. She had a troubled childhood and was, according to her mother, diagnosed as schizophrenic.

In 1938, Lake moved with her mother and stepfather to Beverly Hills, where her mother enrolled her in the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting. Her first appearance on screen was for RKO, playing a small role among several coeds in the 1939 film, "Sorority House". Similar roles followed, including "All Women Have Secrets" and "Dancing Co-Ed". During the making of "Sorority House", director John Farrow first noticed how her hair always covered her right eye, creating an air of mystery about her and enhancing her natural beauty. She was then introduced to the Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow, Jr.. He changed her name to Veronica Lake because the surname suited her blue eyes. She was still a teenager. In 1939, she was signed by RKO Studios, sometimes appearing in small roles before the studio dropped her contract. A few bit parts at MGM and 20th Century-Fox followed, and soon after marrying first husband John Detlie, Lake signed with Paramount. With her cool manner and 'peekaboo' hairstyle she created a sensation; millions of women copied her peekaboo bang.

Her breakthrough film was "I Wanted Wings" in 1941, a major hit in which Lake played the second female lead and was said to have stolen scene after scene from the rest of the cast. This success was followed by "Hold Back the Dawn" later that year. Lake's biggest year in films was 1942, when she starred in a string of hit films for Paramount, including "Sullivan's Travels", "This Gun for Hire", "I Married a Witch", "The Glass Key", and "So Proudly We Hail!". For a short time during the early 1940s, Lake was considered one of the most reliable box office draws in Hollywood. She became known for onscreen pairings with actor Alan Ladd. At first, the couple was teamed together merely out of physical necessity: Ladd was just 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and the only actress then on the Paramount lot short enough to pair with him was Lake, who stood just 4 feet 11½ inches (1.51 m). They made four films together.

Although popular with the public, Lake had a complex personality and acquired a reputation for being difficult to work with. Eddie Bracken, her co-star in "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1942) was quoted as saying, "She was known as 'The Bitch' and she deserved the title." In that movie, Lake took part in a song lampooning her hair style, "A Sweater, A Sarong and a Peekaboo Bang", performed with Paulette Goddard and Dorothy Lamour.

Lake's career stumbled with her unsympathetic role as Nazi spy Dora Bruckman in 1944's "The Hour Before the Dawn". During filming, she tripped on a lighting cable while pregnant and began hemorrhaging. She recovered, but her second child, William, was born prematurely on July 8, 1943, dying a week later from uremic poisoning. She and Detlie divorced shortly thereafter, and Lake then married prominent director André De Toth in late 1944. Meanwhile, scathing reviews of "The Hour Before Dawn" included criticism of her unconvincing German accent.

Lake earned her pilot's license in 1946 and was able to fly solo between Los Angeles and New York.

VeronicaLake11.jpg Veronica Lake

Nonetheless, Lake was earning $4,500 per week under her contract with Paramount. She had begun drinking more heavily during this period and people began refusing to work with her. Paramount cast Lake in a string of mostly forgotten films. A notable exception was "The Blue Dahlia" (1946), in which she again co-starred with Ladd. During filming, screenplay writer Raymond Chandler referred to her as "Moronica Lake". Paramount decided not to renew her contract in 1948.

Although Lake proved to be a good actress, especially in comedy and film noir, her career began to fade soon after the end of World War II. She gave birth to her son with De Toth late in 1945. Several more films followed, and Lake gave birth to another daughter, born in late 1948. By then, however, Paramount had dropped her contract following the release of the comedy "Isn't It Romantic?" (1948).

Veronica Lake's film career came to a halt in the late 1940s; she made just three films afterward. Lake divorced De Toth in 1952, and she left California to settle in New York, where she did quite a bit of stage work and made a number of appearances on early television. However, mental illness and her increasing use of alcohol chipped away at her career, and by the late 1950s or early 1960s Lake was working as a bar maid. By chance she was rediscovered, and in the early 1960s Lake was offered a job working in Baltimore as a TV host. She made two more films: "Footsteps in the Snow" (made in Canada and released in 1966) and "Flesh Feast" (shot in Miami in 1967; not released until 1970), a film which she also produced. Lake wrote a sensational autobiography, which made waves when it was published in 1969. Sadly, she passed away in Burlington, Vermont, on July 7, 1973 (aged 50), from hepatitis and acute renal failure (complications of her alcoholism). She was survived by her fourth husband, two daughters, a son, and her mother.

TRIVIA:

Height: 4' 11 1/2" (1.51 m)

Her height variously given as "barely five feet" to 5' 2" Photos indicate the shorter height.

During World War II, the rage for her peek-a-boo bangs became a hazard when women in the defense industry would get their bangs caught in machinery. Lake had to take a publicity picture in which she reacted painfully to her hair getting "caught" in a drill press in order to heighten public awareness about the hazard of her hairstyle.

Her ashes sat on a funeral home's shelf until 1976 when her cremation was paid for and supposedly spread on the Florida coastline. Some 30 years after her death, her ashes resurfaced in a New York antique store in October 2004.

Her son Michael died on February 24, 1991, aged 45, in Olympia, Washington.

Her third husband, Joseph Allen McCarthy, wrote lyrics for many Cy Coleman songs, among them "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life" and "Why Try To Change Me Now?" sung by Frank Sinatra. McCarthy's father, Joseph McCarthy, was also a lyricist; his most famous songs are "You Made Me Love You" and "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows."

CamelCigaretteAd-August1945.jpg Camel Cigarette Ad - August 1945

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