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This Day in WWII 16 October 1939 - 1945 **1946


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OldsmobileAd-Oct1942.jpgOldsmobile Ad - October 1942


1939: A German air attack damages the British cruisers HMS Southampton, HMS Edinburgh and the destroyer HMS Mohawk in the Firth of Forth, in Scotland.


1939: Heavy German attack on Western Front halted.


1939: German bombers attack Forth and Rosyth bridges.


Barbara%20Bates1.jpg *Barbara Bates


1940: Benjamin O. Davis becomes the U.S. Army's first African American Brigadier General.


1940: U-124 torpedoes and sinks the merchant ship Trevisa of Convoy SC-7 south of Iceland, 7 are killed. Convoy SC-7 (30 ships) is on the final leg of its journey from Sydney to Aberdeen, and is attacked by 7 U-boats in the North Atlantic between the 16th and 19th October. Losses amount to 20 ships for 79,646 gross tons. No U-boats were lost.


Barbara%20Bates-Yank.jpg Barbara Bates - Pin-up Girl in the Jun. 1, 1945 Issue of YANK, the Army Weekly


1941: Moscow now considered in real jeopardy. Following the evacuation of the Soviet government and diplomatic corps from Moscow to Kuibyshev, panic begins to spread among the civilian population, with thousands fleeing the city to places further east, but Stalin decides to stay. Odessa falls to the Romanians after a Soviet evacuation by sea. During the 2 month siege, the Romanians have suffered 98,000 casualties.


1941: The Japanese government falls. Prince Konoye is replaced by Hideki Tojo, Japan's minister of war.


1941: Admiral Harold R Stark, US chief of Naval Operations warns of potential hostilities between Japan and the USSR and possibly between Japan and the USA.


Barbara%20Bates2.jpg Barbara Bates


1942: The naval convoys assemble for Operation 'Torch', the Anglo-American landings in French North Africa.


1942: The Japanese are forced back by Australians at Templeton Crossing, New Guinea. The shelling of Henderson Airfield continues.


OldsmobileAd-Oct1943.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - October 1943


1943: Vatutin launches a 4-day breakout attempt from the Bukrin bridgehead south of Kiev. Koniev launches an offensive to cut off the First Panzer Army on Dnieper River.


1943: Jews in Rome rounded up, with over 1,000 sent to Auschwitz.


Barbara%20Bates3.jpg Barbara Bates


1944: The U.S. First Army surrounds Aachen.


1944: The Red Army enters German territory near Goldap in East Prussia. Thousands of German civilians flee the area in panic.


Barbara%20Bates4.jpg Barbara Bates


1944: U.S. Rangers land on islands in an approach to Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines.


1945: Peron returns to Argentine politics as a strong man.


Barbara%20Bates5.jpg Barbara Bates


**1946: Ten Nazi war criminals are hanged in Nuremberg, Germany. These including the Fuhuer's top military advisor, General Alfred Jodl. In a posthumous retrail in 1953, the courts rule that Jodl was involved only in regular military operations and clear his name of all charges.


Barbara%20Bates6.jpg Barbara Bates

*Barbara Bates, a lovely, demure, but very troubled young spirit, began her career at age 19. Groomed in obscure starlet bits, it wasn't until Warner Bros. signed her up in 1947 and perpetuated an appealing girl-next-door image that things started happening for her. Born the eldest of three daughters to a postal clerk on August 6, 1925 in Denver, Colorado, Barbara initially trained in ballet and modeled clothes as a teen. Fighting off a life-long paralyzing shyness, she nevertheless managed to be persuaded to enter a local Denver beauty contest with the winner receiving two round-trip train tickets to Tinseltown. Not only did she win but meeting husband-to-be Cecil Coan, a United Artist publicist, during that trip altered the course of Barbara's life forever. Settling in Hollywood, it took some time before she started making decent strides as a bobbysoxer ingénue. During her peak she appeared opposite a number of impressive leading men and ladies including Bette Davis in "June Bride" (1948), Danny Kaye in "The Inspector General" (1949), Elizabeth Taylor in "Rhapsody" (1954), and even Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis in their laugh-inducing vehicle "The Caddy" (1953), to name a few. Interestingly, the one role Barbara will always be identified with is also one of the smallest parts given her during her brief tenure as leading lady. In the very last scene of "All About Eve" (1950), she turns up in the role of Phoebe, a devious school girl/wannabe actress who shows startling promise as a future schemer, goaded on by the equally ruthless star she idolizes, Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter. Barbara's image is enshrined in the picture's last scene -- posing in front of a three-way mirror while holding Baxter's just-received acting award. It is this brief, breathtaking moment for which she will always be remembered.

Barbara%20Bates7.jpg Barbara Bates

Barbara's on-and-off stage life started unraveling not long after. She became a victim of extreme mood shifts, insecurity, ill health and chronic depression to the point of being taken off two important movies during filming. By 1954, she was washed up in Hollywood. She tried to salvage her career in England and was picked up by the Rank Organization for a time but her films were mediocre and she proved too emotionally unreliable to continue. She finally abandoned her career altogether in 1957 and was not heard of until her death. It was learned that she had retreated to Denver and worked in various minor job capacities including stints as a secretary, dental assistant and hospital aide. Her much older husband and chief supporter, Cecil Coan, died of cancer in January of 1967, and Barbara fell apart. Although she remarried in December of 1968 to a childhood friend, sportscaster William Reed, she remained increasingly despondent. On March 18, 1969, just months after her marriage to Reed, Barbara Bates committed suicide in her mother's garage by carbon monoxide poisoning. She was 43 years old. Another sad, tragic ending to a promising Hollywood beauty who seemed destined to have it all.

OldsmobileAd2-Oct1943.jpg Oldsmobile Ad - October 1943

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