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This Day in WWII 29 October 1940 - 1944


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ChampionSparkPlugs-October1943.jpgChampion Spark Plugs Ad - October 1943


1940: A blindfolded secretary of war draws the first number - 158 - in the Selective Service draft. (Not all men are willing to register. In one case, a man goes to his draft board posing as his own widow to announce his death.)


1940: British troops set sail for Crete. Italians claim to have made some advances but Greeks hold most positions.


Patricia%20Roc1.jpg *Patricia Roc


1940: RAF bomb Berlin for 25th time.


1941: Germans troops advance in strength, down in to the Crimea, forcing the Russians to fall back in to Sevastopol.


Patricia%20Roc2.jpg Patricia Roc


1942: The Germans capture Nalchik in the Caucasus, only 50 miles from the Grozny oil fields.


ChapStick-Oct1943.jpg Chap Stick Ad - October 1943


1942: The US retains control of all their positions on Guadalcanal. An Australian force completes the evacuation of the Templeton Crossing positions in New Guinea.


1942: The Japanese fleet forced to retreat in the Solomons.


Patricia%20Roc3.jpg Patricia Roc


1944: RAF Lancaster's attack the Battleship Tirpitz again with 12,000lb. 'Tallboy' bombs, this time off Tromso.


Patricia%20Roc4.jpg Patricia Roc


*Patricia Roc was born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold on June 7th, 1915, in London, England. She was a British film actress, popular in the "Gainsborough melodramas" such as "Madonna of the Seven Moons" (1945) and "The Wicked Lady" (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, "Canyon Passage" (1946). She also appeared in "Jassy" (1945), "The Brothers" (1947) and "When the Bough Breaks" (1947).


The adoptive daughter of a Dutch-Belgian father, André Riese, a wealthy stockbroker, and a half-French mother, she was educated at private schools in London and Paris, before joining RADA in 1937. She did not learn that she was adopted until 1949.


Roc began as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of "Nuts in May", in which she was seen by Alexander Korda who cast her in a leading role as a Polish princess in "The Rebel Son".


She was employed by the studio of J. Arthur Rank, who called her "the archetypal British beauty". She achieved her greatest level of popularity in British films during the Second World War in escapist melodramas for Gainsborough Studios. She played prominent roles in some patriotic films of the period, such as "Let the People Sing" (1941) with Alastair Sim and "We'll Meet Again" (1943) with Vera Lynn. She co-starred with Phyllis Calvert, Jean Kent and Flora Robson as an internment camp inmate in "Two Thousand Women" (1944).


"Love Story" (1944) allowed her to play the jealous rival of Margaret Lockwood. She later commented that although they were required to slap each other's faces, she and Lockwood were always the best of friends. They played rivals in two subsequent films, "The Wicked Lady" (1944) and "Jassy" (1945). Roc's more overt sexuality in such films as "The Wicked Lady" was downplayed for the American market; her décolletage led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it and "the Goddess of Odeons", whilst Noël Coward said she was "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled movie star who can act". She played the central role in "Millions Like Us", a powerful World War Two film, made by Launder and Gilliat, which portrayed the changes that wartime wrought on the 'home front', starring alongside Gordon Jackson.


Her brief move to Hollywood to film "Canyon Passage" (1946) was a lend lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors. During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame."


Patricia%20Roc5.jpg Patricia Roc

Roc returned to England later in the decade following the death of husband André Thomas. She produced only 3 more films and made a few television appearances, including the first episode of "The Saint".


Roc married for the first time at 24 in 1939, to the 44-year-old Canadian osteopath Dr. Murray Laing - they divorced only a few years later. She married again in 1949 to André Thomas, and moved to Paris, starting to work more and more in French and Italian cinema (along with a French-Canadian feature in Quebec). Thomas was unable to have children and so, when Patricia gave birth to Michael as a result of an affair with Anthony Steel in 1952 (while they were co-starring in "Something Money Can't Buy"), Thomas agreed to raise him as his own. Thomas died in 1954.


She married a third and final time, to Walter Reif, in 1962, and a year later retired. During her retirement, she moved to Locarno, Switzerland, where she later died of kidney failure on December 30th, 2003.




Goddess of the Odeons


Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)

She was one of Britain's 10 box-office stars for 10 consecutive years.


DodgeAd-October1944.jpg Dodge Ad - October 1944

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