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British Celebrities In The British Military, Post Them As You See Them.


patches
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Thought that this may be the start of a popular topic - British Celebrities who served in the British Military, in War and Peace.

 

So post them if you like here, from any time period.

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My first contribution.

 

Was watching Fawlty Towers tonight on DVD, and was watching one episode HOTEL INSPECTORS, the main guest star, is one Bernard Cribbins, a well know actor across the pond, I'm familiar with him as being in the 1967 Comedy CASINO ROYALE. Any way Cribbins it turned out was a Para in the Post War Army, volunteered for The Paras when he was drafted, served a tour in Palestine during The Troubles there.

 

He has a page on the British Site PARA DATA.

 

https://www.paradata.org.uk/people/bernard-cribbins

 

Cribbins in that  Fawlty Towers episode. Cribbins is still with us at 92, just says his back hurts sometimes is all 515292913_emoticonsmile.png.ae4f5f869132d21f619bd6c9b69327b8.png

 

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What a great thread to start here! I love this idea. :)

 

For starters, here's Donald Crisp -- that amazing character actor of the Golden Hollywood era. Born in London, he saw action with the 10th Hussars of the British Army at Kimberley and Ladysmith during the Boer War. He emigrated to the USA in 1906, joining a Grand Opera company for four years before becoming stage manager for George M. Cohan. By 1915, he was part of D.W. Griffith's original stock company -- portraying General U.S. Grant in "The Birth of a Nation". During WWI, he returned to England and served in Intelligence. After that, he went back to the USA and continued to act. During WWII, he served with the US Armed Forces Reserves, rising to the rank of Colonel.

 

He's quite memorable in "National Velvet"!

 

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Michael Gwynn

 

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Michael Gwynn actor, was in that 1960 Horror Classic, Village of the Damned, Gwynn a infantry officer fought in East Africa unit unknown, and later Burma with the 2nd (Nyasaland) Battalion King's African Rifles of 11th (East Africa) Division. Like most if not all,  Gwynn probably started his career as an officer in a British Regiment, and then was seconded to these units. Just like many American Celebrities when posted, we can not find a service photo of him

 

Here he is in a Fawlty Tower episode, the first episode as the Con Man Lord Melbury LOL.

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Going for my rather obscure British actors. here's one Donald Gray.

 

Were most familiar with him in his role in the 1939 Classic The Four Feathers, where he plays one of the officers in it, Lt Peter Burroughs.

kioo.png.c25e9dbcf6ea5e641e4335b2d2eece9c.png Gray, real name Eldred Owermann Tidbury, becomes an Infantry Officer in real life in WWII, he loses his left arm in Normandy with the  6th Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been meaning to come back to this thread for days and finally remembered to do it!

Here's another of my very favorites -- actor Herbert Marshall.

 

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He was born in 1890 (London) and served in the Great War. Shot in the knee at the Second Battle of Arras in 1917, he lost his leg and had to learn to walk with a prosthetic in order to get back to his acting. 

He's in some great films -- to name a few:

Dark Angel (WWI film)

Foreign Correspondent (WWII film)

If You Could Only Cook (fun film)

Kathleen (Shirley Temple film) 

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Another interesting item about Herbert Marshall . . . General Eisenhower stated that of all the celebrities he met during the war, he was most impressed with Madeleine Carrol and Herbert Marshall. Marshall worked with military amputees. In one of the few articles written at the time, a young soldier shared the story about meeting Marshall at the military hospital:

 

Herbert Marshall gave me back my life. When I found out I had a metal claw instead of a hand, I was completely broken...Then one day, while I was in the hospital, we were told Herbert Marshall, the film star, was coming to talk to us. I was disgusted with the idea. A collar ad, I thought, coming to give us a Pollyanna speech!

It turned out to be anything but that. Mr. Marshall talked real sense into us. He followed it up with demonstrations, actually showing us what he could do. Before he left, we were convinced that if he had been able to lead a normal life, we could do the same.

 

 

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David Niven

 

Over 100 screen credits, including "The Guns of Navarrone", "Carrington V.C.", and the Academy Award Winning "Around the World in 80 Days" . . . He attended Sandhurst and in 1933 graduated and was made a Lieutenant, although he felt his career at a stalemate during peacetime. Came from a military family, with his father killed in Gallipoli and his Grandfather killed by the Zulus in 1879.

 

With the outbreak of WWII, he ignored his Embassy's advice and left the US to join up. He received Commando training and went on to be commander of "Phantom" A Squadron. He was extremely private about his wartime experiences and exploits, and little is known about his commando actions. 

 

He appeared in a few excellent war films, including the overlooked "Carrington V.C.", where he plays an officer in a Court Martial, wearing a borrowed original VC medal. Also, he shines in the finale of "The Guns of Navarrone", where he is playing a demolitions expert on a commando mission. 

 

Niven-in-the-Highland-Light-Infantry-aro

 

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On 8/3/2021 at 5:38 PM, stratasfan said:

David Niven

 

Over 100 screen credits, including "The Guns of Navarrone", "Carrington V.C.", and the Academy Award Winning "Around the World in 80 Days" . . . He attended Sandhurst and in 1933 graduated and was made a Lieutenant, although he felt his career at a stalemate during peacetime. Came from a military family, with his father killed in Gallipoli and his Grandfather killed by the Zulus in 1879.

 

With the outbreak of WWII, he ignored his Embassy's advice and left the US to join up. He received Commando training and went on to be commander of "Phantom" A Squadron. He was extremely private about his wartime experiences and exploits, and little is known about his commando actions. 

 

He appeared in a few excellent war films, including the overlooked "Carrington V.C.", where he plays an officer in a Court Martial, wearing a borrowed original VC medal. Also, he shines in the finale of "The Guns of Navarrone", where he is playing a demolitions expert on a commando mission. 

 

Niven-in-the-Highland-Light-Infantry-aro

 

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An interesting observation with Niven is in the 1946 movie Stairway To Heaven, David Niven's character Squadron Leader Peter David Carter RAF, who believes he died when he bails out without a parachute from his burning bomber, and doesn't understand why he he's still alive, is asked by that doctor who offers to help Carter (Niven), Doctor Frank Reeves (Actor Roger Livesey) if his parents are still living, he says my Father is dead, Dr Reeves asks, What did he die from, or words to that effect, Carter (Niven) says Same as Me, War!

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Jack the Collector

I have to submit a representative from my favorite British TV show and its sequel,Are You Being Served? and Grace and Favour.Frank Thornton,during the Second World War, Thornton he served as an airman in the Royal Air Force before ending the war as an officer. From the rank of leading aircraftman he was commissioned as a pilot officer on probation (emergency) on 1 December 1944. On 1 June 1945 his commission was confirmed and he was promoted to flying officer (war substantive). He was demobilised in 1947.

1583995380Frank Thornton.jpg

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Joe Powell, now there's one, Powell, he played Sergeant Windridge in Zulu, Powell in WWII, first was in one of the battalions of the Grenadier Guard, but then volunteered for the Commandos, the Army's Commandos, No.4 Commando, he seems to have made all the operations his unit  was in, on the Boulogne Raid  Dieppe , D-Day, and Walcheren Island. 

 

Here his is on D-Day, the soldier on the left carrying a wounded Tommy from one of the Line Regiments.

 

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Powell with his Green Beret  and wearing his Grenadier Guard Cap Badge on it, as he was in the Grenadier Guard and army commando's wore commonly the regiment s badge they came from before joining the commandos.

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Powell you'll see did a huge amount of Stunt Work in many major motion pictures, including The Longest Day, ah, they should of gave him a speaking role, one in the Lord Lovat sequences, now there's one you can say was in it In Real Life, just like Richard Todd,

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And here's Ray Milland when he was a member of the Royal Life Guards! Before heading to films and Hollywood, he was a crack shot in the Household Cavalry with multiple marksmanship awards.

 

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This paragraph comes from the Los Angeles Times obituary and describes how he got his first part in a picture:

In 40 years in Hollywood, Milland appeared in 196 movies.

Milland got his first movie role by accident because a German marksman who had been hired as a sharpshooter in “The Informer” was hit by a bus. The desperate producers approached the British War Office for a replacement. Milland, then a young soldier in the Household Cavalry of the British Army, was selected. He said the producers handed him a rifle and told him to fire into a chalk circle that had been drawn around a half-dollar.

Milland had joined the cavalry at 18 and developed a talent for shooting which produced a number of marksmanship awards. He proceeded to fire 11 shots in 10 seconds into the circle and said the bullet holes were so close together they could have been covered with a quarter.

“I couldn’t have done it again. Nobody could. I got the job,” he said.

 

And when he was a Hollywood star . . .

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And another interesting tidbit from the same obituary that has Milland describing how he acquired his stage name:

“When I first arrived in Hollywood, they told me to get a new name. I thought back to the times when I was a kid playing on the tidal land around Neath.

When the water went down, there were pools where I used to catch shrimp and shellfish. There was a tannery and there was a genuine old mill by the stream. . . . I thought, I’ll take that name: Mill Land. I called myself Jack Milland, but in Hollywood they said that only dogs were called Jack . . . so I looked down a list and picked the shortest name I could find--Ray. That was back in 1929, and it stuck to me ever since.”

 

If you want to see a neat movie that has Ray Milland playing a trick shot and exhibiting some skill with firearms, check out Copper Canyon.

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  • 2 months later...

Victor Mclaglen, Officer in WWI, guess seen some action against Johnny Turk in the Middle East.

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Here he is back in the Middle East, in the 1934 movie The Lost Patrol.

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One more pic from The Lost Patrol. Boris Karloff there, plays a Flake Out 

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  So, not really a movie or tv celeb, but in my opinion one of the most accomplished celebs out there. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden did a 6 month hitch with the Territorial Army before entering college. Since that time he has sold in excess of 100 million albums, brewed several award winning and internationally distributed beers, written several books and screenplays, worked as a dj for the BBC, fenced for the UK national team, piloted many planes including the bands 767 while on tour and returned British troops from Afghanistan while piloting a Ministry of Defense chartered 747, owns an aviation company and an airship development company, raced cars in Europe, earned a Phd was made an honorary RAF Group Captain last year so he could fence again for the RAF. and perhaps the most bad@ss thing of all, beat throat cancer to continue touring with Iron Maiden, where at age 63, just released the bands 17th album which hit number 3 on the Billboard top 200 charts in September of this year! One pretty amazing celeb no matter how you slice it.     UP THE IRONS!   Scott

 

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18 hours ago, patches said:

Victor Mclaglen, Officer in WWI, guess seen some action against Johnny Turk in the Middle East.

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I think he was in the 2/10th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, then was on detached service in Mesopotamia, in some sort of Provost capacity.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/14/2021 at 9:13 PM, ScottG said:

  So, not really a movie or tv celeb, but in my opinion one of the most accomplished celebs out there. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden did a 6 month hitch with the Territorial Army before entering college. Since that time he has sold in excess of 100 million albums, brewed several award winning and internationally distributed beers, written several books and screenplays, worked as a dj for the BBC, fenced for the UK national team, piloted many planes including the bands 767 while on tour and returned British troops from Afghanistan while piloting a Ministry of Defense chartered 747, owns an aviation company and an airship development company, raced cars in Europe, earned a Phd was made an honorary RAF Group Captain last year so he could fence again for the RAF. and perhaps the most bad@ss thing of all, beat throat cancer to continue touring with Iron Maiden, where at age 63, just released the bands 17th album which hit number 3 on the Billboard top 200 charts in September of this year! One pretty amazing celeb no matter how you slice it.     UP THE IRONS!   Scott

 

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Good addition Scott. Sure, British Rock Stars and others in the music industry and say British Sports do indeed merit posting in this topic.

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On 10/14/2021 at 9:38 PM, patches said:

Victor Mclaglen, Officer in WWI, guess seen some action against Johnny Turk in the Middle East.

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Loving this thread! Victor McLaglen is one of my favorites, and I didn't realize that he had served. Catch him in The Quiet Man to see a really good performance! 

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2 hours ago, GCCE1854 said:

 

Loving this thread! Victor McLaglen is one of my favorites, and I didn't realize that he had served. Catch him in The Quiet Man to see a really good performance! 

Or Gunga Din 1919559990_emoticonsmile.png.5866c6be72ff8105f71d08ef0fcb4f99.png

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Stringer Davis . . . the husband and fellow actor of Dame Margaret Rutherford. 

 

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Davis attended the independent Uppingham School and received military basic training there. In August 1918, he volunteered for military service and was sent to the front in the First World War as a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. He was discharged from military service in September 1919, about 10 months after the conclusion of the war.

 

The 40-year-old Davis put aside his acting career to volunteer again for military service in 1939. He served as a lieutenant in the East Yorkshire Regiment and later was part of the British Expeditionary Force deployed in France. He participated in the Battle of Dunkirk and was one of the many British soldiers evacuated on 4 June 1940. Davis remained with the army until almost the end of the Second World War, with tours of duty in North Africa and Northwest Europe.

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Rodger Moore, there's one we didn't know about. Think he was in the army till around 1949.

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This From his WIKI.

At 18, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Moore was conscripted for national service. On 21 September 1946, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps as a second lieutenant. He was given the service number 372394. He was an officer in the Combined Services Entertainment Section, eventually becoming a captain commanding a small depot in West Germany. There he looked after entertainers for the armed forces passing through Hamburg.

 

 

My favorite as a kid in the 60s was The Saint.

 

 

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The Cap Badge Moore's wearing.

 

The Royal Army Service Corps

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@patches Roger Moore is great! We have enjoyed "The Saint" shows and have them on DVD. He was a good actor. If you ever want to see him very young, he's in "The King's Thief" with Anne Blyth and Edmund Purdom.

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Jack the Collector

Probably my most favorite character actor."Endearing, bushy-whiskered Welsh character actor whose screen repertoire seemed to consist for the better part of variations on a similar theme, namely stereotypical stiff-upper-lip or bumbling British gents. The son of an actress and an actor-manager and on stage from early childhood, Fox began his career in repertory theatre. During the last two years of World War II he served on a minesweeper in the Royal Navy."

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  • 3 weeks later...

The 5th Beatle, George Martin.

 

He served in the Royal Navy,1943-1947, apparently transfers to the Fleet Air Arm, apperantly in 1945 lets say, gaining a commission and trained as an Observer, doesn't see action however, as the war ends while he apparently is in training. We gather he serves aboard one of the British Flattops post WWII.

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Sir George Martin CBE

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Doctor Who Jon Pertwee, serves in the Royal Navy in WWII, starting we think in 1940, was at one point a crewman, a Rate, aboard the Battlecruiser HMS Hood, but ships out for Officers School back home, Hood is as we know sunk by the Bismarck with All Hands save Three, As an Officer now he serves in Naval Intelligence the rest of the war.

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I recognize him in one of my Favorite movies, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum as Crassus, a Traveling Merchant .

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