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Celebrities at War


From Silver Screen to Serving in WW2 – Originally written for Military World Magazine by Kitten von Mew

So we all know about the honourable work that a lot of celebrities did, entertaining our troops throughout the war with ENSA, the USO and in the movies. What about those stars that actually served in WW2? I’m bring you just 6 of the many who did!

Attenborough 1942

Richard Attenborough 1942

Richard Attenborough in In Which We Serve, 1942. Image from http://vintage.tips

Winning 4 Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards, starring in blockbuster movies such as Jurassic Park and The Great Escape and directing classics such as Whistle Down the Wind, Oh! What a Lovely War, Gandhi and A Bridge Too Far…This is one man with a determined and energetic disposition! It is no wonder that he signed up for the Royal Air Force. He initially trained as a pilot and was then placed at the RAFFPU (Royal Air Force Film Production Unit) located at Pinewood Studios, under the command of Flight Lieutenant John Boulting. They produced propaganda films, showing bombed sites, RAF aircraft and aerial action. Attenborough volunteered to fly with the unit and qualified as a Sergeant after sustaining permanent ear damage during his further training. He flew several missions, recording from the rear gunner’s position. Although this is not technically classed as actually fighting in the war, can you imagine being up there, filming Bomber Command sorties and wondering when the next air raid would be???

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson, Around the World in 80 Days

Michael Anderson (left), Mike Todd Frank Sinatra Around the World in 80 Days 1956. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael Anderson is best knows for directing Dam Busters, Around the World in 80 Days, Orwell’s 1984 and Logan’s Run! In WW2 he served from 1942 to 1946 in the Royal Signal Corps, 48th Infantry Division. There is hardly any information about his time in the British army!

Bea Arthur WW2 Card

Bea Arthur WW2 Card

Bea Arthur WW2 Marines

Bea Arthur WW2 Marines

Bea Arthur (previously Frankel) is most famous for her ‘ tough chick’ character in The Golden Girls, but was also one of the first women to serve in the Marines in the war! After hearing that the Marines were enlisting in 1943 (at the age of 21), she hoped for a role in ground aviation, but became a truck driver and typist and made it to Staff Sergeant in her 30 month serve. In her Personality Appraisal interview sheets, she had been described as ‘Officious but probably a good worker – if she has her own way!” and her conversation as “Argumentative”.

Arthur always denied serving in the war, but this may have been a cover up of her one count of misconduct…contracting a venereal disease in 1944!

Gene Autry WW2

Gene Autry WW2

Gene Autry. From rgreyh.files.wordpress.com

Known fondly as the ‘Singing Cowboy’, Gene Autry appeared on television, radio and films such as In Old Santa Fe, always playing the same singing cowboy character. He was the fist of his kind, but was superseded by Roy Rogers when Autry enlisted.

Joining the US Army 1942, he already had a private pilot’s license that proved useful. He became Tech Sergeant but was hell-bent on becoming an aviator. 2 years later he earned his service pilot rating as a C-109 transport pilot as Flight Officer. Autry flew dangerous airlift operation as part of the 91st Ferrying Squadron of the 555th Army Air Base Unit, Air Transport Command. Their missions took them over the Himalayas, between China – India – Burma Theatre. He ferried ammunition, arms and fuel until the end of the war.

Jackie Coogan WW2

Jackie Coogan WW2

Jackie Coogan in the US Army, From amazonaws.com

Jackie Coogan was famously know for his role as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family in the 1960’s (bald head, made light bulbs glow by putting them in his mouth…you know the one), but did you also know that he was the little boy in Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid?

In the First World War, Coogan worked with Near East Relief and toured across Europe and the USA in 1924 on a fundraising drive. In March 1941 he enlisted in the US Army as a medic after being angered by the Pearl Harbour attack. He later requested to become part of the 1st Air Commando Group thanks to already having a pilot’s license. Coogan was the first glider pilot to land allied troops behind the enemy lines of Burma! One of the gliders he was aboard unfortunately crashed. Coogan’s troop was attacked by the Japanese and he was the only one to survive, due to being at the bottom of the pile of bodies. He served for 5 years before being honourably discharged in 1944 and given the Air Medal and several other war citations for his service.

Alec Guinness WW2

Alec Guinness WW2

Sir Alec Guinness, middle row, centre.

He didn’t just help Skywalker defeat the dark side as Obi Wan in Star Wars! No! He also served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve too! Also famous for such movies as Bridge Over the River Kwai, Kind Hearts and Coronets (one of my favourites!) and Hitler: The Last Ten Days of which he surprisingly considered his best film performance.

Guinness commanded a landing craft in the invasion of Sicily and Elba, later ferrying agents and supplies to the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia.

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War and Peace Revival 2014 Photos


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First World War Exhibit Entrance at War and Peace Revival 2014

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Always lots to gawp at!

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Some vintage stalls were just an old boar….

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This talented lady was crocheting berets. I bought the one she is just finishing here as it matched my Heyday coat!

The civilian tent

The civilian tent

Berlin Border Patrol!

Berlin Border Patrol!

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Hanging out with A Company in the reenactor’s field!

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You weren’t there maaaaan!

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German reenactment camp in the haze of a humid day

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poly-what?! David Burt outside the fabulous NAAFI Wagon!

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The Allo Allo cast! My darling Sue just after she has jumped up and down in greeting. I love the fact she recognises me each year, she is such a cutey!

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Mr & Mrs Mew plus shifty-eyed GI

Most of the War and Peace Revival Entertainment Crew! Swingtime Sweethearts, Scott Elvis, Adam Hoffman, Holly, Myself, Viv the Spiv, Luna Nightingale, Sincerely Yours, Peekaboos, our wonderful dancer friends and Rosy Apples

Most of the War and Peace Revival Entertainment Crew!
Swingtime Sweethearts, Scott Elvis, Adam Hoffman, Holly, Myself, Viv the Spiv, Luna Nightingale, Sincerely Yours, Peekaboos, our wonderful dancer friends and Rosy Apples

sincerely-yours-1950s-singers

Sincerely Yours and an adorable young follower

Scott Elvis

Scott Elvis!

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Mr Mew modelling a rather dashing look in ridiculous heat…but the boy was determined.

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Forget Woody’s Roundup, this is Patton’s version!

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Just reading our favourite military magazine!

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Visiting my wonderful friends at their stall. I look slightly Suffragette-esque!

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The gorgeous Luna at the Heyday stall wearing her ‘Poppy Nipple Hat’

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The staff at the show are always so attentive! Lee Parker either proposing to Luna’s big toe or massaging her foot. I will let you decide the most attractive scenario.

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My new half and half act!

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Taking in the scenery with my darling General Patton

Military World Magazine Cover Girl!


Military world magazine pinup

Kitten von Mew on the cover of Military World. Photo by Malcolm Davis

You can still purchase back copies of this Military World Magazine HERE! Don’t forget to bring yours to one of my performances and I will happily sign it for you!

Military World Magazine and Militaria Show


Kitten von Mew on the cover of Military World. Photo by Malcolm Davis

get your copy signed at the Militaria on 2nd of February!

Kitten Von Mew in Military World Magazine Issue 10


As many of you know, I regularly write articles for the magazine, but issue 10 has a rather big surprise in the middle! Taken by Candee Photography and modelling the Heyday Mary Dress, this pinup poster is perfect for your reenactment camp and already has an aged look to it!

Kitten von Mew with Military World Mag Issue 10

Kitten von Mew with Issue 10 of Military World Magazine

Military World Magazine Launching at Beltring!


military world magazine

As our beloved WWII Reenactors Magazine has bitten the dust (*sob*), it is about time someone filled that empty void for us!  Well, Dave King has saved the day with Military World Magazine!

I have kindly been asked to write some more articles, so look out for my tuppence worth in each issue. The first one is due out at the War and Peace Show, so make sure you get your copy and support a British publication!

The magazine will feature reenacting groups, history, suppliers and more!