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This Day in WWII 1 January 1940 - 1945 *1937


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StudebakerAd-Jan1943.jpgStudebaker Ad - January 1943



1940: Conscription extended to 20 - 27 in Britain.


1940: Coastal Command aircraft are fitted for the first time with Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) radar detection sets and these were used primarily in the detection of German submarines.


Vera%20Ralston1.jpg**Vera Ralston



1940: The RAF introduces Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) signals to help identify Bomber, Coastal and Fighter Command aircraft on radar screens.


1940: The Finns change the numbers of 3 divisions in order to deceive the Red Army.


Vera%20Ralston2.jpgVera Ralston



1941: The Western Desert Force is renamed as the XIII Corps.


1941: Hitler, in his New Year's order of the day to the German armed forces, promises "...completion, on the Western Front, of the greatest victory in our history...".


1941: Germany begins negotiations with Bulgaria to allow German troops to use Bulgaria as a springboard for their attack on Greece.


Vera%20Ralston3.jpgVera Ralston



1942: The United Nations of 26 allied countries, sign a UN Declaration in Washington of co-operation and no separate peace.


1942: Jean Moulin, the mayor of Chartes, France, who escaped to England early in the conflict, parachutes back into the country in an effort to organize and unify the feuding Resistance factions.


StudebakerAd-Jan1944.jpgStudebaker Ad - January 1944



1942: British forces take Bardia, along with 8,000 Axis prisoners.


1942: Reinforcements arrive in the Far East to supplement the defensive air forces; 51 Hurricanes arrive in Singapore, 48 Hurricanes in Sumatra and 30 Hurricanes and Blenheims arrived in Burma from the Middle East.


Vera%20Ralston4.jpg Vera Ralston



1943: The 1st Panzer Army in the Caucasus begin withdrawing from the Terek front to avoid being cut off by Soviet forces attacking from the northeast toward Rostov-on-Don.


1944: Field Marshal Rommel is appointed C-in-C of Army Group B, the German forces in France north of the Loire river.


1944: General Mark Clark takes over the U.S. Seventh Army in addition to the command of the U.S. Fifth Army.


Vera%20Ralston5.jpgVera Ralston



1945: The Allies are caught by surprise by German fighter-bombers strikes on airfields in Europe (Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate)). A total of 465 aircraft are destroyed on the ground, but the Luftwaffe loses 62 aircraft to Allied fighters and 172 to light AA (including RAF Regiment gunners). Whilst Allied losses are quickly replace, the Luftwaffe fighters arm is effectively destroyed.


*1937: At a party at the Hormel Mansion in Minnesota, a guest wins $100 for naming a new canned meat--Spam.


Vera%20Ralston6.jpgVera Ralston



**Vera Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá on July 12, 1919 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was a Czech figure skater and actress. She later became a naturalized American citizen. She worked as an actress during the 1940s and 1950s. Her age was uncertain; Ralston at various times gave 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1923 as her year of birth.


As a figure skater, she represented Czechoslovakia in competition under her birth name Vera Hrubá.


She competed at the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 15th. Later that season, she competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she placed 17th. During the games, she personally met and insulted Adolf Hitler. Hitler asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." As she later recalled, "I looked him right in the eye, and said that I'd rather skate on the swastika. The Führer was furious."


Hruba competed at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 7th.


Hruba emigrated to the United States in the early 1940s and became a naturalized citizen in 1946.


She moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. Ralston later married the head of the studio Herbert J. Yates in 1952. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and had left his wife and children to be with Ralston. Yates used his position to obtain roles for Ralston, and at one point was sued by studio shareholders for using company assets to promote his wife.


During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston.


Ralston normally played an immigrant girl in films because of her limited English skills. Among the 26 films Ralston starred in were "Storm Over Lisbon" with Erich von Stroheim (1944), "Dakota" (1945) and "The Fighting Kentuckian" with John Wayne (1949), "A Perilous Journey" with David Brian (1953), and "Fair Wind to Java" with Fred MacMurray (1953). She retired from films in 1958.


Yates died in 1966, leaving his $10 million estate to Ralston. She suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, then remarried and lived quietly in southern California. She died on February 9, 2003, in Santa Barbara, California, after a long battle with cancer. For her work in films, Ralston has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



Height: 5' 5" (1.65 m)


Charles de Alva (16 June 1973 - 9 February 2003) (her death)

Herbert J. Yates (March 1952 - 3 February 1966) (his death)

The surname Ralston was taken from the name of a popular breakfast cereal.

Escaped her native Czechoslovakia on the last plane out before the Nazis closed the borders.


StudebakerAd-Jan1945.jpgStudebaker Ad - January 1945


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