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This Day in WWII 18 April 1940 - 1945


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Kodak-April-1943.jpg Kodak Ad - April 1943


1940: British submarine Starlet sunk off Norway.


1940: Germans advance further north of Oslo. More British troops are landed at Aandalesnes in Norway with the plan of co-operating with the British and French troops already at Namsos to surround and then retake Trondheim. However, the Norwegian commander, General Ruge persuaded the Aandalesnes force, to move south in order to give support to his troops still holding out at Lillehammer.


MaryCastle1.jpg *Mary Castle


1941: Britain warns that if Cairo is bombed, then the RAF will attack Rome.


1941: The German 12th Army forces a crossing of the river Aliakmon between the Greek First Army and the British forces. Athens is placed under martial law. Greek Prime Minister, Alexandros Korizis commits suicide.


MaryCastle2.jpg Mary Castle


1942: The entire US eastern seaboard is ordered to black-out its lights at night, in an attempt to reduce the success of the U-boats at night.



1942: Colonel James H. Doolittle leads 16 US Army B25 bombers from the carrier Hornet in first ever air raid on Japan. They took of from the carrier Hornet, about 750 miles east of Tokyo. Escort fighters were provided by the carrier Enterprise. Bombs were dropped on Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Nagoya and Yokosuka. Only one aircraft was damaged during the raid, although all 16 were lost on crash landings in China. The material damage inflicted by the raid was minimal, although the damage to Japanese prestige was considerable and gave the allies a boost when their fortunes in the Pacific were at a low ebb. WATCH VIDEO


1942: The Headquarters of the southwest Pacific theatre are established in Melbourne.


MaryCastle3.jpg Mary Castle


1943: The German 17th Army begins its attacks to eliminate the Russian beachhead at Novorossiysk, but fails and gives up on the 23rd April.


1943: U.S. code breakers pinpoint the location of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto flying in a Japanese bomber near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. "Operation Vengeance" is conceived to locate and shoot down Yamamoto. Eighteen P-38 fighters from the U.S. Army's 339th Fighter Squadron of the 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force, was given the mission. Their P-38G aircraft, equipped with drop tanks, would have the range to intercept and engage. (MORE INFO)


Kodak-April1944.jpg Kodak Ad - April 1944


1944: The Foreign Office bans all coded messages from foreign embassies and says that diplomatic bags are to be censored. Only the fighting allies are to be excluded from the ban.


1944: The Russians take Balaclava.


MaryCastle4.jpg Mary Castle


1944: The first reinforcements for the British garrison at Kohima begin to arrive. Japanese forces launch a new offensive in central China.


1945: The Ruhr pocket is finally annihilated, with 317,000 Germans being captured, including 29 generals. The U.S. Ninth Army takes Magdeburg. The U.S. First Army enters Düsseldorf. General De Lattre's French troops link up at Freudenstadt behind the Black Forest. The British Second Army captures ülzen and Lüneburg. The US Third Army captures Nürnberg advancing units across the German/Czechoslovakian frontier.


MaryCastle5.jpg Mary Castle


1945: Between Stettin and Schwedt the 2nd Belorussian front breaks through the Oder defenses, pressuring Army Group Weichsel even more. The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Forst on the Neisse river. North of Frankfurt, while the 1st Belorussian Front continues its attack to take the Seelow Heights, gradually wearing down the vastly outnumbered German defenders.


1945: The British Fourteenth Army in central Burma captures the Chaulk oil centre on the Irrawaddy.


1945: Famed American war correspondent Ernie Pyle, 44, was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, off Okinawa.


MaryCastle6.jpg Mary Castle


*Castle was born as Mary Ann Noblett on Jan 22, 1931 in Pampa, Texas. Her mother was one-sixteenth Quapaw Indian. Castle's Noblett ancestors originally settled in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. She was a third cousin of actress Irene Noblette Ryan, known for her role as Daisy Moses, a.k.a. Granny Clampett, of CBS's hit comedy, The Beverly Hillbillies.


Mary and Irene descended from Noblets who were Quaker immigrants to Pennsylvania from Ireland. This family were originally a long line of Norman lords known as Noblet and Noblette, traced back to their ancestor's days of service under William the Conqueror in 1066. Religious persecution as Hugenots drove this Noblet line from Normandy about 1700.


The Nobletts moved to Fort Worth, Texas, then Phillips, subsequently a ghost town in Hutchinson County, Texas, prior to relocating to Long Beach, California. At the age of nine, Castle was stricken with pneumonia. Her brother, Erby Noblett, Jr. (19271992), taught her trick riding and later became a police officer in Long Beach. In 1946, Castle gave birth to an out-of-wedlock daughter in Los Angeles. In 1955, the then eight-year-old child was reportedly seriously ill in a Long Beach hospital.


At nineteen, Castle was a model for a bathing suit company. A studio scout became interested in her after seeing her photograph in a magazine. In August 1950, she was dubbed the "lady who looks more like Hayworth than Hayworth does." Her first contract was said to have been granted solely on the basis that the red-haired Castle indeed resembled Hayworth. Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, was said to have envisioned Castle as a replacement for Hayworth, who had married Prince Aly Khan and was rearing a family.


Castles's first credited role was as Flo in the 1950 film "The Tougher They Come". In 1951, she appeared as Toni Eaton in "Prairie Roundup", as Rita Bagley in Gene Autry's "Texans Never Cry", as Elizabeth Leeds in "When the Redskins Rode", and as Gloria Lydendecker in "Criminal Lawyer". Her first television appearance occurred in 1952 as Marcia Thorne in the episode "One Angle Too Many" of the detective series "Racket Squad". In 1953, she appeared as Jane Brown in "The Lawless Breed" and as Yvonne Durante in "Three Steps to the Gallows". She then appeared in twenty-six of the thirty-nine episodes of "Stories of the Century", the first western to win an Emmy Award. The series focuses upon the capture of such western outlaws as Billy the Kid, the Dalton Brothers, the Younger Brothers, and Sam Bass. Castle left the series and was replaced by Kristine Miller.


MaryCastle7.jpg Mary Castle


In 1956, she appeared on "The Bob Cummings Show", also known as "Love That Bob", in the episode "The Trouble with Henry". In 1957, she guest starred in an unnamed role on ABC's "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", as Enid Shaw in "The Case of the Baited Hook" on CBS's "Perry Mason", and as Alice Wilson in "Test of Courage" of ABC's "Cheyenne", starring Clint Walker. She appeared too in Frank Lovejoy's detective series, "Meet McGraw". In 1959, she appeared on Rex Allen's "Frontier Doctor" syndicated series. In 1960, Castle appeared as Marianne in the episode "The Chinese Pendant" of CBS's crime drama "Tightrope" starring Mike Connors. Castle's last television appearance was as an unnamed saloon girl in the 1962 episode "Collie's Free" of James Arness's long-running CBS western "Gunsmoke". She had also appeared as Cora Dufrayne in the 1953 Audie Murphy film also entitled "Gunsmoke".


In September 1957, Castle was arrested for public intoxication after she allegedly attempted to kick and bite two deputy sheriffs, John Aiken and K.H. Smiley, in Hollywood. The officers said that they found Castle fighting with her first husband in a parked car while her ten-year-old daughter cried in the back seat. On September 14, 1959, Castle was revived by artificial respiration and taken to Malibu Emergency Hospital after being found lifeless and nearly nude on the beach in Malibu, Florida, after a gay midnight swim. She had been overcome after two different plunges into the surf. She and a friend, Carol Erickson, arrived from Houston, Texas, and decided to escape the heat wave. A bartender from their hotel, Roy Yiurria, went along with them for the dip. He claims he pulled her from the surf when he thought she was drowning, and when he returned after calling officers, he found her back in the water. The press reports she wore only panties and a bra and had to be rescued by a bartender. On October 28, 1959, she was arrested again and fined for drunkenness. A month later on November 26, she tries to hang herself in jail after being booked as a drunk in Beverly Hills, California. She twisted her dress into a noose and attached one end to a cell door and placed the other end around her neck. She is found in a semi-conscious state. She is revived and released on $105 bail. The police say she fought, bit, kicked, hit, and swore at officers when they arrested her as a drunk in an automobile at night. She claims she had been drinking heavily because she was despondent over divorce troubles.


Castle was involved romantically with several men, including the then young actor Richard Long. She ultimately had three short-lived marriages. From 1957-1958, she was wed to William France Minchen (December 5, 1930 August 3, 1997), who used the stage name William Grant. They soon divorced, and he remarried. He died at the age of sixty-six in Sugar Land, near Houston, Texas. Castle was married from 1960-1961 to Wayne Cote (January 2, 1931-January 22, 2000), of Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County, who died twenty days after his 69th birthday and on the day which would have been Castle's 69th birthday. Castle and her third husband, Erwin A. Frezza, location unknown, were wed fro 1971-1972. Castle spent her later years in Lodi in San Joaquin County, California. She died of lung cancer at the age of sixty-seven on April 29, 1998 in Palm Springs, California. At the end she had only one quarter of one lung to breathe from.


Kodak2-April1944.jpg Kodak Ad - April 1944

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