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This Day in WWII 13 December 1939 - 1944 *1937


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BellAircraftAd-Dec1942.jpgBell Aircraft Ad - December 1942

 

1939: In the south Atlantic, the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, fights an action against three British cruisers, HMS Achilles, HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter, which results in serious damage to both sides. HMS Exeter is rendered a blazing hulk and the Graf Spee withdraws to the neutral Uruguayan port of Montevideo for repairs.

 

Joanne%20Dru1.jpg **Joanne Dru

 

1940: Petain dismisses his Vice-Premier, Laval.

 

1940: British General Richard O'Conner decides his tank raid against Italian troops is going so well he will make it a full-fledged offensive. One of O'Conners officers reports having captured "five acres of officers, 200 acres of other ranks," as the Italians surrender en masse.

 

Joanne%20Dru2.jpg Joanne Dru

 

1940: Hitler issues Directive No. 20, the order for the preparation of Operation 'Marita', the plan for sending German forces to revive the bogged-down Italian offensive in Albania.

 

1940: Twenty four German divisions begin their redeployment to Romania, through Hungary as part of Directive No. 20, Hitler's order for the preparation of Operation 'Marita', the attack on Greece.

 

Joanne%20Dru3.jpg Joanne Dru

 

1941: The Soviet press issues a triumphant statement on the repulse of the German Armies before Moscow. The Red Army launches a new counter-offensive using Timoshenko's South West Front in an attack northwest against the juncture of Panzer Group 2 and the German 2nd Army between Yelets and Livny. This results in Panzer Group 2's right flank being left open as the 2nd Army is forced to withdraw in order to save itself. Field Marshal von Brauchitsch meets Field Marshal von Bock, C-in-C of Army Group Centre and decide that Army Group Centre must withdraw some 90 miles west to take up a 'winter line'. Secret orders are passed to this effect.

 

1941: The British manage to turn back an Italian convoy, which is taking supplies to Libya, by making it believe that its under threat from the Mediterranean Fleet.

 

Joanne%20Dru4.jpg Joanne Dru

 

1941: The British Governor of Hong Kong rejects a Japanese demand for his garrisons surrender. British troops in the southern tip of Burma begin to withdraw north towards Rangoon.

 

1941: A US naval task force under Rear-Admiral Frank J. Fletcher sets sail from Pearl Harbour with orders to relieve Wake Island.

 

RCAVictorAd-Dec1943.jpg RCA Victor Radio Ad - December 1943

 

1942: Rommel begins to retreat from his positions El Agheila, as the Eighth Army continues advance in to Libya.

 

1942: The Japanese make successful new landings North of Buna.

 

Joanne%20Dru5.jpg Joanne Dru

 

1943: 54 Mustangs escorted B-17s 490 miles on a raid over Kiel, Germany, and for the first time in the war successfully defended the bombers for 40 minutes over the targets, shooting down enemy fighter planes.

 

1943: A war criminals trial at Kharkov accuses four Germans of murdering thousands of Russians in specially equipped carbon-monoxide murder vans. Army Group Centre becomes engaged in a series of heavy defensive battles in the area of Vitebsk.

 

Joanne%20Dru6.jpg Joanne Dru

 

1944: The USAAF make the first damaging raid on Japanese industrial targets.

 

1944: German forces of 7th Armee withdraw in to the fortified positions of the Westwall.

 

1944: The U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze suicide attack that claimed 138 lives.

 

*1937: The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China.

 

Joanne%20Dru7.jpg Joanne Dru

**Born Joan Letitia LaCock on January 31, 1922 in Logan, West Virginia, Dru came to New York City in 1940 at the age of eighteen. After finding employment as a model, she was chosen by Al Jolson to appear in the cast of his Broadway show "Hold Onto Your Hats". When she moved to Hollywood, she found work in the theater. Dru was spotted by a talent scout and made her first film appearance in "Abie's Irish Rose" (1946).

 

Over the next decade, Dru appeared frequently in films and on television. She was cast often in western films such as Howard Hawks's "Red River" (1948), and John Ford's "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949), and "Wagon Master" (1950).

 

She gave a well-received performance in the dramatic film "All the King's Men" (1949) and co-starred with Dan Dailey in "The Pride of St. Louis" (1952) about major-league baseball pitcher Jerome "Dizzy" Dean.

 

She appeared in the James Stewart drama "Thunder Bay" in 1953 and then a Martin and Lewis comedy "3 Ring Circus" (1954). Her film career petered out by the end of the 1950s, but she continued working frequently in television, most notably as "Babs Wooten" on the 1960-61 sitcom, "Guestward, Ho!".

Joanne%20Dru8.jpg Joanne Dru

After "Guestward, Ho!", she appeared sporadically for the rest of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, with one feature film appearance, in "Sylvia" (1965), and eight television appearances.

 

For her contribution to the television industries, Dru was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

She was the elder sister of Peter Marshall, an actor and singer best-known as the original host of the American game show Hollywood Squares.

 

Before moving to Hollywood, Dru met and married popular singer Dick Haymes. Joanne Dru had three children by her first marriage; Richard Ralph Haymes (born July 24, 1942), Helen Joanna Haymes (born May 13, 1944), Barbara Nugent Haymes (born September 19, 1947).

 

She was divorced from Haymes in 1949, then married John Ireland, who was also in "Red River", less than a month later. Dru and Ireland were divorced in 1957. She had no children from her subsequent three marriages.

 

She died in Los Angeles, California in 1996, aged 74, from lymphedema.

TRIVIA:

Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)

Spouse:

C.V. Wood (1972 - 14 March 1992) (his death)

George Rodgers Pierose (16 March 1963 - 5 January 1972) (his death)

John Ireland (7 August 1949 - 16 May 1957) (divorced)

Dick Haymes (21 September 1941 - 28 June 1949) (divorced) 3 children

Aunt of professional baseball player Pete LaCock and actress Suzanne LaCock.

 

WarAdvertisingCouncilAd-Dec1944.jpg US War Advertising Council - December 1944

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