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This Day in WWII 8 December 1939 – 1944


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MennenAd-Dec1942.jpgMennen Shave Products Ad - December 1942



1939: Two more U-boats are reported to have been destroyed as the British campaign to destroy three a week continues.


Pat%20Clark-Yank.jpgPat Clark - YANK Pin Up Girl (Date Unknown)



1940: Franco says Spain is not prepared to enter war.


1940: Italian Naval Chief resigns, to be replaced by Admiral Campioni.


1940: The Western Desert Force is now fully concentrated for 'Operation Compass'.


1940: Greeks take Argyrokastro and Delvino.


Pat%20Clark-Yank2.jpgPat Clark - YANK Pin Up Girl (Feb. 9, 1945)



1941: The Soviet offensive against Army Group Centre succeeds in breaking through the German lines in many places, causing hasty withdrawals by ill-prepared and frost-bitten troops that are forced to abandon much heavy equipment that was immobilized by the below-zero weather.


1941: In occupied Poland, near Lodz, Chelmno extermination camp becomes operational. Jews taken there are placed in mobile gas vans and driven to a burial place while carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust is fed into the sealed rear compartment, killing them. The first gassing victims include 5,000 Gypsies who had been deported from the Reich to Lodz.


1941: The Eighth Army officially relieves the Tobruk garrison.


Pat%20Clark3.jpgPat Clark



1941: US Congress declares war after personal address by Roosevelt. But the vote is not unanimous. The lone dissenting vote is cast by Representative Jeanette Rankin, who was a dissenter also when Congress approved U.S. entry into World War I.


1941: Britain and dominions declare war on Japan.


1941: Japanese aircraft bomb Singapore, which as yet has not blacked out. The raid inflicts about 200 casualties, mostly civilians. Japanese troops land at Singora and Patani on the Kra peninsula in southern Thailand, which surrenders the same day. Japanese make landings at Kota Bharu on the north eastern coast of Malaya, although troops of the 8th Indian Brigade put up strong resistance against these Japanese landings. However, rumors that the Japanese had broken through the defenders, caused the RAF to evacuate Kota Bharu airfield and forced the 8th Indian Brigade to withdraw to the south after dark. Japanese troops launch an offensive against the new territories, a part of the British colony of Hong Kong. The Japanese overrun the US garrisons in Shanghai and Tientsin.


ClarksChewingGumAd-Dec1942.jpgClark's Chewing Gum Ad - December 1942



1941: Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita begins his attack against the British army at Singapore. By nightfall, 60 of the 110 British and Australian aircraft defending Malaya and Singapore had been destroyed.


1941: The British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse, set sail from Singapore in an attempt to intercept and destroy the Japanese landings that are taking place at Kota Bharu on the north eastern coast of Malaya, while the RAF manages to damage three of enemy's transports.


1941: Japanese aircraft attack Guam and Wake Islands in the central pacific. The Japanese bomb the US controlled Philippine islands of Luzon and Mindanao from their bases in Formosa.


Pat%20Clark4.jpgPat Clark



1942: German troops occupy the port of Bizerte in Tunisia.


1943: Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz becomes the chief of U.S. strategic air forces in Europe.


1943: Australians troops capture Wareo in New Guinea.


1943: U.S. carrier-based planes sink two cruisers and down 72 planes in the Marshall Islands.


MotorolaAd-Dec1943.jpgMotorola Radio Ad - December 1943



1944: German troops evacuate Jülich on the Roer river.


1944: The Red Army begins an offensive aimed at encircling Budapest.


1944: A second Japanese airborne counter-attack on Leyte achieves some success against US airfields.


1944: The USAAF begins a 72-day bombardment of Iwo Jima Island 700 miles to the South of Japan.


Pat%20Clark5.jpgPat Clark



Patricia Cecelia Clarke was born to George L. Clarke and Cecelia C. Clarke in 1925 in New York City. Her younger brother George E. was born in 1930. The family first live din Orange, New York, and then In cca, 1937 moved to Los Angeles. In 1940, they were living in 756 1/2 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, California. Pat graduated from high school in Los Angeles, and due to her catlike brand of beauty, found success as a girl about town early, prior to 1944 she already had a mink coat in 1943, a sign of great social standing back in the 1940s and 1950s. That year she started her social life in the Hollywood circles, and this pushed her into an acting career.


Pat has a slim filmography, but quite a few of the movies she appeared in are hidden or forgotten gems worth discovering. Needless to say, she was uncredited in all of her roles except one. 20 year old Pat got her first taste of film making in Hotel Berlin, a At a time when Hollywood shamelessly belted out propaganda movie of us against them type, Hotel Berlin tried to shake off that rigid outlook on the morality of war, and showed Germans in a better light, trying to explain that not all of them are Nazis. Of course, it was easy to make this movie when the the victory for the allies was definite, and not during the dark days of the war, but the movie tries and succeeds to some degree in its cause. The cast is very impressive, made out of highly capable actors stuck in B movies - Faye Emerson, Helmut Dantine and Andrea King.


Pats next movie was one of the long string of WW2 women empowerment movies, Pillow to Post. Ida Lupino, a true woman dynamo, fittingly plays a woman who can do it better than a man can. This theme of a highly capable working girl at odds with her role as a homemaker was further explored in Too Young to Know, where it was Joan Leslie who was torn between her GI husband and her career.


Pat was transported to lighter fare by getting a role in Night and Day, a sugar coated and highly dubious version of a Cole Porters biopic. When Cary Grant play s a guy who looked more like Quasimodo than James Bond, you know just how over the top it really is.


The Big Sleep, one of the best film noirs ever made, could have been the impulse Pat needed to enter a higher sphere in Hollywood. The role of the mysterious, seductive Mona Maris was perfect for Pats general looks and attitude (both were girls about town who seduce powerful men), but due to some executive meddling, her shots were deleted and she was replaced by Peggy Knudsen. Neither she nor Peggy went on to have great careers, but Peggy is much better remembered today and had a filmography several notches above Pat. One often wonders what could have been if Pats role was left intact.


Pat made only one more Hollywood movie, Cass Timberlane, basically a story about a mismatched couple played by Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner. He is a straight laces judge living his upper crust life, and she a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, spending her days playing baseball, a primarily masculine game. While not as deep and poignant as the book, the movie is still a study of marriage, class differences and societal pressure extorted on every man and woman.


Pat was the typical girl around town when she arrived in Hollywood in 1943. News of her movie career were slim, but the news of her romantic escapades were rich and frequent. Pats first conquest was Luis Doc Shurr, a very influential agent who discovered Kim Novak among others. In June 1944, they were a solid altar bet, but he left her sometime after August 1944. In November 1944, as a gag she announced she would marry Ali Ipar, later the husband of the evanescent Virginia Bruce. The newspaper blew it over and she had to deny it for weeks afterwards. In December 1944, she started going out with producer Bill Girard. he proved to be a more stable man in her life, but it was not a smooth road in February they had a very public tiffing accident. he went home and she spent time with other men. In April she was seen with the bon vivant Bill Holmes. but she was soon back with Girard, dating him all the way to mid 1945. In January 1946 she was seen with a war hero, Jeff Jones. Not long after, she landed in hospital with an unknown ailment, and as soon as she left the sick ward, snatched the prominent West coast socialite, Dick Brown. In 1947, she was beaued by Peter Shaw, who was to become Angela Lansburys husband. After Dick came Arnold Kunody, insurance man who also dated quite a few pretty actresses (Andrea Leeds being his most famous escort). In 1950 she was noted a Madrid twosome with Don Luis Dominguez.


In December 1951 Pat finally wed, and wed well she did her husband became Rene Max Toriel, one of the richest living Egyptians at the time. He dabbled in the cotton business, and was in America for a good time. Little was written about their marriage, but it obviously failed spectacularly just months after the ceremony, as by 1953, Pat was still Mrs. Toriel but dating other men with an alarming frequency.


In 1953, she was seen on oilman Bob Calhouns arm. She then made a minor scandal as she slapped a man at a bar who annoyed her. Ditching Calhoun, she took up with Richard Melvin, a so called Florida sportsman (in other words, a wealthy socialite with a hefty inheritance and no day job), who was inconveniently married to June Horne, the ex wife of Jackie Cooper (everybody is connected in Hollywood, one way or another). Pat was in the middle of a nasty feud between them, but did not give up and continued to date Melvin for some time after.


Her next was Pierre Lamure, author of the Moulin Rouge book, but by February 1954, they were in a middle of a huge quarrel that had the tongues wagging. In may 1955, her furs were stolen and she offered a large reward for their safe return, seeing them in a more nostalgic light than pure garments.


In July 1955, Patricia almost died when she could not exit her apartment after an fire broke out. A broken key in one of four locks designed to keep out burglars was the culprit. Luckily, she survived and recovered quickly.


In 1957 she dated Jimmy Donahue, wealthy heir. Pat continued to generate news in society columns for some time after (she was seen in Chicago in 1957, she was bared from the Mocambo club in 1958 along with a fellow socialite Marian Schaffer, flew to Los Angeles for two hours just to go for a gown fitting and so on.) That same year she finally divorced Rene Max Toriel in Putman, Florida. There is no information to what happened to Pat after 1958.


CanManufacturersAd-Dec1943.jpgCan Manufacturers Institute Ad - December 1943


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