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Andre B

Stars in the Sky!

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Posted (edited)

An nice initiativ from Iliiad designs.

http://modelingmadness.com/scott/decals/iliad/id72017.htm

 

There are also decals for aircrafts flewn by James Stewart. He flew mostly B-24 Liberators but during his active duty periods, he remained current as a pilot of Convair B-36 Peacemaker, Boeing B-47 Stratojet and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress intercontinental bombers of the SAC. Gene Roddenbery and Clark gable flew B-17.

 

http://www.iliad-design.com/decals/Stars.html

 

http://www.iliad-design.com/decals/72morestars.html


Walter Matthau also flew  B-24 Liberator as a radioman-gunner, in the same 453rd Bombardment Group as James Stewart. Charles Bronsom flew B-29 as an tail gunner in the Pacific. Donald Pleaseance flew Lancaster as navigator and was shot down. Denholm Elliot also flew nightbombers and was shot down over Denmark during the war... 

 

/André

Edited by Andre B

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Hello, Andre

I have been toying with and idea about building Monogram's B-52D as B-52E, on which Brigade General James Stewart flew one bombing mission over Vietnam a few weeks before leaving ANG.

The list you compilled is interesting although I think Clark Gable was air gunner's instructor and it is questionable if he had flown any combat missions at all. It is similar with Charles Bronson: while the story about him being a B-29 tail gunner is making rounds for good many years now, I also remember reading how Bronson was actually a supply truck driver in the Army, who never left USA during WWII. Cheers

Jure

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I think the F-4c marking is the first available for the California Air National Guard. Happy to be proved wrong

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The story that I have always heard/read was that Clark Gable flew 5 missions before being grounded by the higher headquarters. They didn't want to risk him being shot down and captured by the Germans and starring in a different type of movie(German propaganda films)(and, not by choice). Thus after the five flights he was grounded and became an instructor. He was used in US propaganda films(and, he told friends that "he felt like a phony" because of this.). The U.S. Naval Institute Press has published 4 books about "Stars in the (name of service here)". The series covered the USMC/USN/USAAF/USA and one about international stars(David Niven, Sean Connery, etc.) who served. I've not read any of them; but, I believe he is mentioned in the one covering the USAAF and US Army("Stars in Khaki"). I don't know about Charles Bronson's service(but, it may be covered in the aforementioned book).

Mr. Gable was in several training films used to help train aerial gunners, and, that sort of thing. Still, he was made out to be doing a bit more than that; that was what he resented. But, I could be wrong.

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My understanding of Clark Gable's war service is that as an air-gunner he flew on at least 5 official missions with the 8th Air Force. There may, and I emphasis MAY, have been a few more with the collusion of various aircrew, along the lines of "Smitty was sick, and a replacement flew instead. Who was he? Dunno, never caught his name." But that could be my ailing memory interpreting data incorrectly.

 

DennisTheBear

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It's a rich vein.  Wayne Morris was an up and coming Hollywood actor when he joined the US Navy and became an ace flying Hellcats.  His acting career suffered for being off screen for some years but he worked until his death at age 45.

 

Ed McMahon trained as a fighter pilot but served as an instructor in WW II.  In Korea he was a forward air controller flying the Cessna O-1.

 

Closer to home, Jackie Rae was a Spitfire pilot and earned a DFC in 1944 for anti-V-1 work.  He later was a TV star in Canada and the UK and was a successful songwriter and bandleader (The Spitfire Band).  His nephew was Premier of Ontario and interim federal Liberal Leader.

 

 

 

 

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Gable was filming Combat America, a propaganda film about air gunners. He was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook, England. Although neither ordered nor expected to do so, he volunteered to fly combat missions. He flew in a number of different aircraft. I don't have my references to hand right now, but I think it was 7 or 8 missions. Here are a couple of photos... one at his station, and one post-mission.

gable 1.jpg gable 2.jpg

Charles Bronson - Charles Buchinsky as he was known then - was a nose gunner on Weather Observation Crew, 61st Squadron, 39th Bomb Group. The aircraft was called Old Overcast, though I've not been able to find any decent photos of the aircraft itself. In this photo below, Buchinshy is fifth from the left, front row.

Bob

bronson.jpg

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2 minutes ago, bobmig said:

 

Charles Bronson - Charles Buchinsky as he was known then - was a nose gunner on Weather Observation Crew, 61st Squadron, 39th Bomb Group.

 

His training as a nose gunner served him well in Death Wish 3.

 

33kyrz9-1.jpg

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Based on a sketch from "The Goodies Annual" of 1974 (I think) -

This seems a slightly later version of it.

 

BkTsZoSCMAEmcnI.jpg

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Bronson only flew 5 missions as part of the weather observation crew in 'Old Overcast' but 26 combat missions in total and was reportedly awarded a purple heart. He was trained in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron which was originally for B-17 gunners and must have transitioned to remote control gunnery at some point.  One source has him as a B-25 gunner.

 

Nick 

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Jackie Rae, for some time a wingman to Johnnie Johnson, was a TV star in the UK  as compere of a quiz show, although I must admit forgetting the name of the show.  There was an article in an old Flying Review International.

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Posted (edited)

IIRC, the actor William Conrad, who was the radio voice of The Shadow, was a P-47 instructor during WW2. Also, Robert Cummings, the actor, learned to fly from his godfather, Orville Wright, and was a USAAF flight instructor during WW2. Baseball legend Ted Williams was a Marine flight  instructor on Corsairs in WW2 and flew F9F Panthers in Korea. Actor Tyrone Power served in WW2 as a Marine transport pilot.

Edited by 72modeler
added additional star

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Concerning Donald Pleaseance who flew Lancaster as navigator and Denholm Elliot who also was shot down... ...it must be possible to find out what aircraft they flew? The missing aircrafts must been listed with their crews?

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17 minutes ago, Andre B said:

Concerning Donald Pleaseance who flew Lancaster as navigator and Denholm Elliot who also was shot down... ...it must be possible to find out what aircraft they flew? The missing aircrafts must been listed with their crews?

According to my research, Pleasence flew as a wireless-operator with No 166 Squadron, flying Lancasters from Kirmington. He was shot down on an Agenville operation on 31-Aug/1-Sep-1944. The Lancaster was NE112, coded AS*M. That's the easy part! As to whether it had any special or personal markings... haven't been able to find out. If anyone comes up with good info - on his or any other aircraft - there's always room on future "Stars in the Sky" sheets!

Bob

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I once heard that Bob Todd, the taller of the bald chaps that didn't say much in Benny Hills shows was a wireless bomb aimer on Lancasters and flew a LOT of missions as he kept volunteering. I heard three tours and about 100 missions. That is second hand info (and from a lte reseacher who was talking to him). I also heard once that Raymond Burr looped a P51 around the Golden Gate bridge. Roald Dahl, the writer, was a pilot, British 1950s comedy star Jimmy Edwards flew Dakotas, I think one of the old BBC Newsreaders was a glider pilot I just can't remember which.

 

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I believe Denholm Elliott flew  in a Halifax aircraft

The other chap I recall that was regularly on TV and made a point of remembering Bomber Command was Hughie Green.

Flew with the Canadian N0 6 Group

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Leslie Nielsen, of Airplane! and Naked Gun movie fame, enlisted in the RCAF and trained as an air gunner but the war ended before he was sent overseas. His brother Erik, who later became Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, did make it to the UK and flew 33 ops (with 101 Squadron I believe) and earned a DFC.  

 

Richard

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Cool subject. I have the 'James Stewart' sheet, he's a hero of mine. 

 

Don't forget George Bush, Naval Aviator and Avenger pilot, later did quite well for himself. There is quite a bit of info about this if you just Google it, including a few photos. 

 

Wikipedia notes Paul Newman as a gunner on Avengers. No pictures, but that would be a cool subject.

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Raymond Chandler, the writer of detective fiction (and screenplay writer for Double Indemnity) was in training to be a RAF pilot at the end of WWI. Always wondered how far he got.

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Not enough celebs today can say they have experiences like these. The two Princes do, and I admire them for it. Rare in this country, anymore. 

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Jimmy Stewart is an absolute hero of mine.  I highly recommend the book "Jimmy Stewart, Bomber Pilot" as an overview of his wartime activities.  He was a real combat leader who, as noted by another poster, continued his service in the ANG postwar until the Vietnam era.  There are many "stars" today who would do well to take several leaves out of his book.

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Charles "Bud" Tingwell (starred in almost every Australian TV series at some time and many movies, including The Castle) was a Spitfire and Mosquito pilot with the RAAF flying in North Africa and the Pacific. A very nice bloke, too. Sorely missed.

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