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This Day in WWII 29 May 1940 - 1945


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Studebaker-May1944.jpgStudebaker Ad - May 1944

 

1940: The British destroyer HMS Wakeful is hit and sunk by a torpedo from the German E-boat S30. HMS Grafton which was nearby try's to rescue the sailors from HMS Wakeful, but is itself hit by another torpedo from the same German E-boat and begins to sink. Another British destroyer, HMS Comfort moves up to help, but HMS Grafton fires on her in the mistaken belief that she is a German ship, sinking HMS Comfort. 15 other vessels are also sunk by Luftwaffe Stuka attacks near Dunkirk on this day.

 

1940: German 6th Army takes Lille, Ostend and Ypres in western Flander's. Luftwaffe activity increases as orders the Panzers to be switched south ready for main battle of France. 47,300 British and French troops are evacuated from Dunkirk today.

 

GraceMcDonald-Yank-July9-1943.jpg *Grace McDonald - YANK Pinup Girl - July 9, 1943

 

1941: During the evacuation of British troops from Crete, a Luftwaffe attack on the cruiser Orion inflicts 200 casualties and sinks British destroyers Imperial and Hereward.

 

1942: 'Fridericus I' is completed as the Russian pocket to the Southeast of Kharkov is finally wiped out and 214,000 Russians captured, along with 1,200 tanks and 2,000 guns destroyed. German casualties in the fighting around Kharkov amount to some 20,000.

 

GraceMcDonald1.jpg Grace McDonald

 

1942: Rommel is only 25 miles from Tobruk as a massive tank battle rages in the 'Cauldron'.

 

1942: The Chinese are defeated by Japanese forces at Kinhwa in Chekiang province south of Shanghai.

 

HigginsIndustriesAd-May1944.jpg Higgins Industries Ad - May 1944

 

1943: The RAF launches a major raid (719 bombers) against Wuppertal, dropping 1,900 tons of bombs and killing 2,450 civilians and claim that half of Wuppertal has been 'wiped off the map'.

 

1944: The U.S. escort carrier Block Island is sunk by U-549 off the Canary Islands. (MORE INFO)

 

GraceMcDonald2.jpg Grace McDonald

 

1944: Using its maximum range, the US 8th Air Force attacks aircraft production plants at Marienburg and Posen in eastern Germany.

 

1944: The British reach 'the factory', 10 miles North of Anzio.

 

GraceMcDonald3.jpg Grace McDonald

 

1944: The first U.S. armored battle of the pacific war occurs on Biak, with six tanks being involved. The Japanese manage to force the partial re-embarkation of U.S. forces.

 

1945: SHAEF in Paris says that there are an estimated 4.25 million displaced persons in the Anglo-American zone, of which only 1.39 million have so far been repatriated, most of these to Western Europe.

 

GraceMcDonald4.jpg Grace McDonald

 

*Between 1942 and 1945 there was a pert, sweet-faced "B"-level cutie who knew how to swing with the best of them at Universal. The beautiful dancer/singer might have gone on to better things but ended her career abruptly for marriage and never looked back. Grace McDonald, who was born in New York City on June 15, 1918, struck out into the local vaudeville scene at a young age with her equally talented brother, Ray McDonald. As a brother-sister dance team similar to the Astaires, their specialty proved to be tap. The twosome made it to Broadway with the hit musical "Babes in Arms" and stole part of the show with their version of "I Wish I Were in Love Again." This gave them a one-way ticket to Hollywood, where Ray got picked up by MGM and Grace by Paramount. Her first film, "Dancing on a Dime" (1940), stumbled a bit and she didn't make another film for two years when Universal decided to sign her up.

 

GraceMcDonald5.jpg Grace McDonald

 

Though her musicals were obviously hep and had lots of pep, they were pretty much assembly-line productions intended to boost the morale of a war-weary nation. The titles certainly said it all -- "Give Out, Sisters" (1942), "Behind the Eight Ball" (1942), "How's About It" (1943) and "Hat Check Honey" (1944). She also appeared frequently in vehicles designed for The Andrews Sisters. Grace was game for straight acting parts as well, playing opposite Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the comedy "It Ain't Hay" (1943), and also appearing in the dramas "Murder in the Blue Room" (1944) and "Destiny" (1944). After making "Honeymoon Ahead" (1945), Grace fell in love with Ralph Green, a WWII Marine, and retired to be his wife. They moved to Minneapolis, which is where he was from, and had three sons. Not much was heard of her until her death of double pneumonia on October 30, 1999. Although just a sliver of a memory in the Hollywood annals, Grace was a game trooper and added a little kick to life when it was certainly needed.

 

Studebaker-May1945.jpg Studebaker Ad - May 1945

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