From the Battlefield to the Big Screen

We have all admired the stars for the pleasure they have brought to our lives, but the true stories of these people we know so well are far more evocative than any part they played on the silver screen.

From the Battlefield to the Big Screen

When Richard Todd played the part of Major John Howard in the 1962 epic The Longest Day, he was reliving his own wartime experiences as one of the first British officers to parachute into Normandy on D-Day to capture Pegasus Bridge. Todd was a member of the British 6th Airborne Division, serving with the Parachute Regiment until 1946. He was not the only well-known British actor to have fought in the war and whose wartime experiences are detailed in the highly entertaining From the Battlefield to the Big Screen. Among the many familiar figures of TV and cinema who fought for their country are Sir Dirk Bogarde, who arrived at a secret location in Normandy just after D-Day to carry out vital aerial photographic interpretation exercises with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Audie Murphy, who lied about his age to enlist after the attack on Pearl Harbor and went on to become America's most decorated soldier of the war. Talfryn Thomas, who played Private Cheeseman in Dads' Army, was a rear gunner in Lancasters and took part in many bombing raids over Germany, being the sole survivor when his aircraft crashed. We have all admired the stars for the pleasure they have brought to our lives, but the true stories of these people we know so well are far more evocative than any part they played on the silver screen.

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