03 March, 2013

Fred Perry

Frederick John "Fred" Perry was a British tennis and table tennis player from England and former World No. 1 who won 10 Majors including eight Grand Slams and two Pro Slams single titles, as well as six Major doubles titles. Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships from 1934 to 1936 and was World Amateur number one tennis player during those three years. Prior to Andy Murray in 2013, Perry was the last British player to win the men's Wimbledon championship, in 1936, and the last British player to win a men's singles Grand Slam title until Andy Murray won the 2012 US Open.

Perry was the first player to win a "Career Grand Slam", winning all four singles titles, which he completed at the age of 26 at the 1935 French Open. He remains the only British player ever to achieve this. Perry's first love was Table Tennis and he was World Champion in 1929. He began playing tennis at 14 and began his tennis career at 21, when in 1930 an LTA committee chose him to join a four-man team to tour the United States.

In 1933, Perry helped lead the Great Britain team to victory over France in the Davis Cup; the team's first success since 1912, followed by wins over the United States in 1934, 1935, and a fourth consecutive title with victory over Australia in 1936. But due to his disillusionment with the class-conscious nature of the Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain, the working-class Perry turned professional at the end of the 1936 season and moved to the United States where he became a naturalized US citizen in 1938. In 1942, he was drafted into the US Air Force during the Second World War.

Despite his unprecedented contribution to British tennis, Perry was not accorded full recognition by tennis authorities until later in life, because between 1927 and 1967 the International Lawn Tennis Federation ignored amateur champions that later turned professional. In 1984, a statue of Perry was unveiled at Wimbledon, and in the same year he became the only tennis player listed in a survey of 2,000 Britons to find the "Best of the Best" British sportsmen of the 20th century.

Perry was born in Stockport, in 1909 where his father, Samuel Perry (1877–1954), was a cotton spinner. For the first decade of his life, he also lived in Bolton, Lancashire, and Wallasey, Cheshire, because his father was involved in local politics. When living in Wallasey he attended Liscard Primary School and Wallasey Grammar School. Perry moved to Brentham Garden Suburb in Ealing, west London aged eleven years when his father became the national secretary of the Co-operative Party after World War I. His father became the Co-operative Party Member of Parliament for Kettering in 1929.

Perry first began to play tennis on the public courts near his family's housing estate. He was educated at Ealing Grammar School for Boys.

In 1928–29, Perry won several medals in the single, double and team events in the World Table Tennis Championships. He had exceptional speed and played with the Shakehand style, attacking the ball low and on the rise.

Along with the US, French and Australian Amateur championships, Perry won the Wimbledon men's title three times in succession between 1934 and 1936. His final triumph was a 6–1, 6–1, 6–0 victory over the German Baron Gottfried von Cramm which lasted less than 45 minutes. It became the quickest final in the 20th century and the second shortest of all time. Perry had been able to pick up the information from the Wimbledon masseur that von Cramm had been treated for a groin strain and was as a result having difficulty moving wide on the forehand.

Perry's success attracted the adoration of the crowds at Wimbledon particularly as he contrasted sharply with the privileged background of most patrons and players associated with the All England Club at the time. The upper echelons of the British tennis establishment greeted his success more coolly, regarding him as an "upstart". After winning his maiden Wimbledon title, Perry recalled overhearing a Wimbledon committee member remark that "the best man didn't win." His All England Club member's tie, awarded to all winners of the Championships, was left for him on a chair in his dressing room.

In the Davis Cup, Perry led the Great Britain team to four consecutive victories from 1933 to 1936, with wins over France in 1933, the United States in 1934 and 1935, and Australia in 1936. Perry competed in a total of 20 Davis Cup matches, winning 34 of his 38 rubbers in singles, and 11 out of 14 in doubles.

After three years as the world No. 1 tennis amateur player, Perry turned professional in late 1936. This led to his being virtually ostracized by the British tennis establishment. He made his professional debut on 6 January 1937 at the Madison Square Garden against the best professional player, Ellsworth Vines. For the next two years he played lengthy tours against Vines. In 1937, they played 61 matches in the United States on their big tour, with Vines winning 32 and Perry 29. They then sailed to Britain, where they played a brief tour. Perry won six matches out of nine, so they finished the year tied at 35 victories each. The following year, 1938, the big tour was even longer, and this time Vines beat Perry 49 matches to 35, while a short tour of the Caribbean and Central and South America ended at four victories a piece. Don Budge won the Grand Slam in 1938 as an amateur and then turned professional and played a series of matches against both Vines and Perry in 1939, beating Vines 22 times to 17, and beating Perry by 28 victories to 8.

Perry also won the US Pro title in 1938 and 1941, held in Chicago in both those years.

Perry died at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia after breaking his ribs following a fall in a hotel bathroom.

31 January, 2013

Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes is a professional golfer.

 He was born in Addington, Surrey, England, and lives in England, but he represented Scotland at the international level. Barnes was educated at Millfield School in Somerset.

Heinz Kilfitt

Heinz Kilfitt was a marvelously prolific camera designer, as well as founder of the Kilfitt optical works, in München (Munich) Germany. His early success in designing the Robot camera was followed by the Mecaflex, produced to his design. He was designer of the Kowa Six and said to have had a hand in the design of the Kalimar Reflex. Kilfitt became known as an innovator in lens design, some produced by "Kamerabau Anstalt Vaduz," Liechtenstein, later as "Kilfitt München," (Munich, Germany) under the "Kilar" brand. His firm created the earliest macro lens designs, along with a range of well-regarded telephoto lenses in mounts for the Mecaflex, AlpaExakta, Pentacon Six and others (including cine cameras). The pioneering Zoomar lens was manufactured forVoigtländer by Kilfitt. On Heniz Kilfitt's retirement his company was acquired by Zoomar designer Frank Back.

07 January, 2013

Jeff Chandler

Jeff Chandler was an American actor, film producer and singer best remembered for playing Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950), for which he was Oscar nominated. He was one of Universal Pictures's most popular male stars of the 1950s, his best known other credits including Sword in the Desert (1948), Deported (1950), Female on the Beach (1955) and Away All Boats (1956). He was notable for being gray-haired at an early age, and for releasing a number of successful recording singles. He also recorded an LP album (LRP 3074) on the Liberty Records label, titled Warm and Easy, containing 12 songs and featuring the Spencer Hagen orchestra.

Chandler was born Ira Grossel in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the only child of Anna and Phillip Grossel. He was raised by his mother after his parents separated when he was a child.
He attended Erasmus Hall High School, the alma mater of many stage and film personalities, where he acted in school plays; his school mates included Susan Hayward. Chandler's father was connected with the restaurant business and got his son a job as a restaurant cashier. Chandler said he always wanted to act, but courses for commercial art were cheaper, so he studied art for a year and worked as a layout artist for a mail order catalogue at $18 a week.

Eventually he saved up enough money to take a drama course at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York. He worked briefly in radio, then got a job in a stock company on Long Island as an actor and stage manager. He worked for two years in stock companies, including a performance of The Trojan Horse opposite Gordon MacRae and his wife, who became good friends.

Chandler formed his own company, the Shady Lane Playhouse, in Illinois in the summer of 1941. This toured the Midwest with some success, presenting such plays as The Bad Man, Seventh Heaven, The New Minister and Pigs. When America entered World War Two Chandler enlisted in the army. He served for four years, mostly in the Aleutians, finishing with the rank of lieutenant.
After being discharged from the Army, Chandler moved to Los Angeles in December 1945 with $3,000 he had saved. Shortly after his arrival he was involved in a serious car accident on the way to a screen test, which resulted in a large scar on his forehead.

Chandler initially struggled to find work in Hollywood and had spent all his savings when he got his first job as a radio actor in May 1946. He went on to appear in episodes of anthology drama series such as Escape and Academy Award Theater, and became well known for playing the lead in Michael Shayne. Chandler was the first actor to portray Chad Remington in Frontier Town.
Chandler had appeared on air in Rogue's Gallery with Dick Powell, who was impressed by the actor and put pressure on Columbia to give Chandler his first film role, a one-line part as a gangster in Johnny O'Clock (1947). He tested for Columbia's The Loves of Carmen and did not get it but went on to play small roles as gangsters in Roses are Red and The Invisible Wall, and a policeman in Mr Belvedere Goes to College. He received more attention playing Eve Arden's boyfriend on radio in Our Miss Brooks, which debuted in July 1948 and became a massive hit.
Chandler's performance in Our Miss Brooks brought him to the attention of executives at Universal, who were looking for someone to play an Israeli leader in Sword in the Desert (1948).

He was cast in February 1949. Chandler impressed studio executives so much with his work that shortly into filming Universal signed him to a seven-year contract. His first movie under the arrangement was a supporting role in Abandoned (1949).

Writer-director Delmer Daves was looking for an actor to play Cochise in a Western, Broken Arrow (1950), over at 20th Century Fox. The part was proving tricky to cast; in Chandler's words, "Fox were looking for a guy big enough physically to play the role and unfamiliar enough to moviegoers to lend authenticity." Chandler's performance as a similar resistance-leader-type in Sword of the Desert brought him to the studio's attention and he was borrowed from Universal for the role in May 1949. As part of the arrangement Chandler signed a deal with Fox to make a movie a year with them for six years. He also had to be written out of his radio shows Michael Shayne and Our Miss Brooks for several weeks.

Broken Arrow turned out to be a considerable hit, earning Chandler an Oscar nomination and establishing him as a star. He was the first actor nominated for an Academy Award for portraying an American Indian.

Even before Broken Arrow was released, Chandler was upped to leading man status back at Universal. He was meant to make Death on a Sidestreet and The Lady Count but neither ended up being made. Instead he took over a role originally meant for Dana Andrews, a Lucky Luciano-style gangster in Deported, for producer Robert Buckner, who cast him in Sword in the Desert. "I don't know why I got it," Chandler joked at the time, "maybe it's because I'm saving them money." The movie was shot on location in Italy, although Chandler's radio commitments meant some of it had to be filmed in Hollywood.

It was back to Fox for his second film for them, as an embittered Union cavalryman in Two Flags West for director Robert Wise. Chandler replaced Lee J. Cobb and it was one of his least typical roles, a character part rather than a leading man. Once again, location work required him to regularly commute back and forth to Hollywood throughout the shoot.

Returning to Universal, Chandler played an adventurer in Smuggler's Island, a role he liked because he said was close to his real personality. However Hollywood tended to cast him in different nationalities. According to one profile, "he has unusual face, with taut, bony features which seem to fit neatly into any sort of role."

He was reunited with Fox and Delmer Daves to play a Polynesian chief in Bird of Paradise (1951), which Chandler admitted was a variation of his performance as Cochise. It would be the last film he made outside Universal for a number of years.

Back at Universal, he played a boxer in Iron Man (1951), a remake of an old Lew Ayres movie. He was announced for another film with Buckner, The Wild Bunch, which wasn't made; instead he played an Arab chief in Flame of Araby (1951), opposite Maureen O'Hara.

Around this time Chandler expressed his dissatisfaction with acting in film as opposed to radio:
Radio actors have to make their roles come alive, and they only have their voices with which to do it. But in pictures the technique is quite different. The actor is only a small part of the performance. He lends his intelligence and personality to the role, but the greatest part of the performance belongs to the producer, who puts him in a certain type of part; the director, who tells him how to play it; and the cutter, who edits what's done. That's why I find being a movie actor not particularly gratifying. I want to eventually branch off into writing and directing.

Chandler reprised his role as Cochise in another Western, The Battle at Apache Pass, for Universal. He then went on to make a war film, Red Ball Express, and a swashbuckler, Yankee Buccaneer. He made a cameo in Meet Danny Wilson and had a change of pace when he supported Loretta Young in Because of You - which a few years later he called his favorite role. Young later said Chandler "was more of a personality than an actor... a charming man."

In 1952 exhibitors voted Chandler the 22nd most popular star in the US. 20th Century-Fox was
keen to use Chandler again and offered him roles in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Lydia Bailey, Les Misérables and The Secret of Convict Lake. However, Universal refused to loan him out as he was now one of their biggest stars.

Our Miss Brooks transferred to television but Chandler was not permitted to do TV under his contract; his part was taken by Robert Rockwell. On Peggy Lee's radio show he had demonstrated a talent for singing and he pursued this through the decade.

In July 1952 Chandler signed a fresh contract with Universal which doubled his salary. His first movie under this was a Western, The Great Sioux Uprising. It was followed by more adventure fare: East of Sumatra and War Arrow with Maureen O'Hara.

This meant Chandler missed out on the part of Demetrius in The Robe (1953) at Fox, for which he had been considered and which eventually went to Victor Mature. He also missed out on the lead in the remake of Magnificent Obsession, for which he had been mooted; the part was taken by Rock Hudson who had supported Chandler in Iron Man. Both The Robe and Magnificent Obsession became big hits. Chandler played Cochise for the third time, a cameo in Taza, Son of Cochise, starring Hudson, who soon overtook Chandler as Universal's biggest male star.

Universal announced him for Chief Crazy Horse but the role ended up being played by Victor Mature. Instead he appeared in Yankee Pasha and started singing in nightclubs. He left the radio show Our Miss Brooks after five years "to get a rest," he said. "Although it didn't take long to do the show, it tied up all my Sundays".

Chandler appeared in an expensive (for Universal) epic, playing the Emperor Marcian in Sign of the Pagan and co-starred against Jane Russell in Foxfire (1955) which he enjoyed because "I don't have to be so darned monosyllabic in this one." He then made Female on the Beach with Joan Crawford and began releasing records.
In 1954 Chandler was starting to gripe about his workload:

You just can't call your time your own. When you're trekking the country - as I am now for my Decca records "I Should Care" and "More Than Anyone" and for Universal International, my home studio - every hour of the day, from the morning disc jockeys to the midnight program is filled. And in Hollywood, if you're not working on a picture or getting ready for one, you have to keep studying. I make a point of answering all my mail and when anyone asks me for an autograph I'm not just flattered. I see that as the least I can do for the people who have given me the fruits of this world.

In May Chandler refused to play the lead in Six Bridges to Cross and Universal put him on suspension. He was replaced in the role by George Nader. Chandler spoke of making Young Moses and a Western with friends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, but neither was made. He announced "being a movie star isn't worth it", complaining that:

I can't go anywhere as an ordinary individual. There was a time I could walk around Times Square in New York (my home town) and look into shop windows or go into a cafe and eat in peace. But no more. I can't go anywhere unnoticed. Movie fans seem to think that actors belong to them but we like to feel we belong to ourselves. Don't get me wrong - I wanted fame and money when I decided to take up acting. I like being recognized - it's flattering. But there's always one character who spoils anything... I walk into a restaurant and get a ringside table- but you remember I also have to leave the biggest tip. If I don't, I'm labeled the tightest guy in town. And let's face it, acting is the easiest way I know to make a buck. But I think I'm a fairly bright boy - I figure I could have made as much in some other business... Anyone in the world with imagination and initiative can become a success. Me? I like to push buttons. I was born to be an executive - an idea man. An executive is a guy who thinks things up and has other people execute them. I'd quit work immediately if I had the money, and travel for a while. I'd like to do some writing. I marked two radio scripts and have finished synopses and five movie stories.

Chandler made up with Universal who cast him in Lady Godiva of Coventry. Chandler refused the role and was replaced again by George Nader. However this time the dispute was not over money but due to Chandler's over work.
Universal cast Chandler in an expensive remake of The Spoilers, then was given the lead in one of the studio's most prestigious films of the year, Away All Boats.
In May Chandler performed at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Chandler "is proving remarkable in performing singing duty, even though he is not exactly a singing type."

He made a Western, Pillars of the Sky, then had a change of pace with the comedy The Toy Tiger, the fourth movie he made that year. Louella Parsons called Chandler "the busiest actor in town... Jeff is so happy in his private life these days that he's doing everything the studio wants."
Towards the end of the year, Chandler formed his own production company, Earlmar, with his agent, Meyer Mishkin. This was to take effect from August 1956 onwards, when Chandler's exclusive contract with Universal expired. However Chandler intended to continue to make films for Universal under a multi-picture contract. He was voted the seventh most popular star with British cinema goers.

In 1956, Universal gave Chandler a leave of absence from his contract with them "for a period of several months" to enable him to make his own movie for Earlmar. In exchange for this, Chandler was to make two more films for Universal under his original contract with them, then enter into a new arrangement under which he would appear in two films a year over three years.
Earlmar signed a six-picture deal with United Artists, under which Chandler was to appear in at least three of the films. He acted in and produced the first Earlmar production, a Western, Drango. "It's no Indian story," said Chandler, "let Cochise rest in peace." Chandler bought the rights to a novel, Lincoln McEever but it was never made; Drango would turn out to be Earlmar's sole production.

After Drango Chandler made the final two films owing under his original contract with Universal: The Tattered Dress, playing a lawyer in a melodrama, and Man in the Shadow, co-starring opposite Orson Welles. He had commitments to make two films a year at Universal until 1959.
Chandler then moved over to Columbia and acted with Kim Novak in Jeanne Eagels, a popular "biopic".

He followed this with two films for Universal, The Lady Takes a Flyer, with Lana Turner and Raw Wind in Eden, with Esther Williams. A Motion Picture Exhibitor Poll listed him as the tenth most popular male star in the US in 1957.

Chandler made another for Universal, A Stranger in My Arms with June Allyson. He was allegedly due to star in Operation Petticoat (1959) but fell ill and had to pull out.
Chandler's next two movies were made for a brand new company, Seven Arts: Ten Seconds to Hell, a bomb disposal drama shot in Germany with Jack Palance for director Robert Aldrich, and Thunder in the Sun, a Western with Susan Hayward.

The last of those was distributed by Paramount, who also released Chandler's next film, another Western, The Jayhawkers. In Ten Seconds to Hell and The Jayhawkers Chandler played villains. He later reflected "I've tried heavies - but audiences didn't seem to take to that."

Chandler formed another production company, August, for which he made The Plunderers, a Western, distributed by Allied Artists. Allied was so pleased with the film they requested three more movies from August, but Chandler never got to make them.

His next film, The Story of David, was filmed for American TV - his first work in that medium - but shown theatrically in other countries. It was shot in London and Israel. Chandler stated:
I don't want to make pictures in other countries; I want to stay home. But suddenly there are not enough pictures being made here. All other countries are giving inducements to companies and to players; even a little country like Israel is trying to formulate a plan for subsidies. Our government still taxes the hell out of people; somebody ought to wake 'em up.

Chandler appeared in Return to Peyton Place for Fox. He then went over to Warner Bros to make Merrill's Marauders, which would be his last film.

Chandler had a concurrent career as a singer and recording artist, releasing several albums and playing nightclubs. In 1955 he became only the second star to play at the Riviera, after Liberace was the featured headliner. In her autobiography Hold the Roses (2002), Rose Marie wrote that "Jeff Chandler was a great guy, but he was no singer. He put together an act and we opened at the Riviera. He came with a conductor, piano player, light man, press agent, and manager. None of it helped". And "Everybody raved about Jeff's singing, but let's face it: He really didn’t sing very well. He definitely had guts to open in Vegas". He left to work on a movie after three and a half weeks.

While working on Merrill's Marauders in the Philippines, on April 15, 1961, Chandler injured his back while playing baseball with U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers who served as extras in the film. He had injections to deaden the pain and enable him to finish the production.

On May 13, 1961, he entered a Culver City hospital and had surgery for a spinal disc herniation. There were severe complications; an artery was damaged and Chandler hemorrhaged. On May 17, in a seven-and-a-half-hour emergency operation over-and-above the original surgery, he was given 55 pints of blood. A third operation followed, on May 27, where he received an additional 20 pints of blood. He died on June 17, 1961. The cause was a blood infection complicated by pneumonia.

George Levick

George Murray Levick was a British Antarctic explorer, naval surgeon and founder of the Public Schools Exploring Society.

Levick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of civil engineer George Levick and Jeannie Sowerby. His elder sister was the sculptor Ruby Levick. He studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital and was commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1902. He was secretary of the Royal Navy Rugby Union at its founding in 1907.

He was given leave of absence to accompany Robert Falcon Scott as surgeon and zoologist on his Terra Nova Expedition. Levick photographed extensively throughout the expedition. Part of the Northern Party, Levick spent the austral summer of 1911–1912 at Cape Adare in the midst of an Adélie penguin rookery. As of June 2012, this has been the only study of the Cape Adare rookery, the largest Adélie penguin colony in the world, performed and he has been the only one to spend an entire breeding cycle there. His observations of the courting, mating, and chick-rearing behaviors of these birds are recorded in his book Antarctic Penguins. His notes about the penguins' sexual habits, which included sexual coercion, sex among males and sex with dead females, were deemed too indecent for publication at the time; So he wrote them in Greek so that only an educated gentleman would be able to read them. They were rediscovered and published in the journal Polar Record in 2012. The discovery significantly illuminates the behavior of a species that is an indicator of climate change.

Prevented by pack ice from embarking on the Terra Nova in February 1912, Levick and the other five members of the party were forced to overwinter on Inexpressible Island in a cramped ice cave.  On his return, Levick served in the Grand Fleet and at Gallipoli on board HMS Bacchante in the First World War. He was specially promoted in 1915 to the rank of fleet surgeon for his services with the Antarctic Expedition.

After his retirement from the Royal Navy he pioneered the training of blind people in physiotherapy against much opposition. In 1932, he founded the Public Schools Exploring Society, which took groups of schoolboys to Scandinavia and Canada, and remained its President until his death in June 1956.

In 1940, he returned to the Royal Navy, at the age of 64, to take up a position, as a specialist in guerilla warfare, at the Commando Special Training Centre at Lochailort, on the west coast of Scotland. He taught fitness, diet and survival techniques, many of which were published in his 1944 training manual Hardening of Commando Troops for Warfare.

06 January, 2013

Henry Mucci

Henry Andrews Mucci was a colonel in the United States Army Rangers. In January 1945, during World War II, he led a force of 121 Army Rangers on a mission which rescued 513 survivors of the Bataan Death March from Cabanatuan Prison Camp, despite being heavily outnumbered. It is widely considered the most successful rescue mission in the history of the United States military.

Mucci was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to parents who had emigrated from Sicily, Italy. Henry came from a family of 10 siblings. Two of his brothers also served in the Army and Navy during the Second World War, while his sisters worked at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in America and made bazookas in factories.

He enrolled at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, graduating 246th of 275 in his class in May 1936. While at West Point he participated in lacrosse and, due to his early years growing up with horses, was on the equestrian team.

In February 1943, the US Sixth Army put Mucci in charge of the 98th Field Artillery Battalion, previously a mule-drawn pack artillery unit. Mucci announced that the Battalion was being converted from Field Artillery to Rangers, downsized the battalion from 1,000 men to 500, and held a training camp in New Guinea where he utilized commando type training techniques for over a year. Thus, Mucci created a new battalion of Army Rangers. Mucci survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the liberation of the Philippines, General Walter Kreuger and one of his top men, Col. Horton White, chose Mucci to head the liberation of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp due to both the difficulty and the peculiar needs of such a mission.

In January 1945, Mucci led 121 Army Rangers in liberating the Cabanatuan Prison Camp with the loss of only 2 men killed in action. Mucci refused to sit back on the mission and joined his soldiers on the ground in combat, an unusual position for a colonel.  The raid was supported by some 250 Filipino guerrillas, many of whom were unarmed, who guided the Rangers through Japanese held territory and held off Japanese reinforcements while the American Rangers freed the POWs. For Mucci's actions in the raid he was personally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

Mucci returned home as a national hero in his home town of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  He ran for Congress in 1946 but was defeated. He became the President of Bridgeport Lincoln Mercury as well as becoming an oil representative in India. In November 1974, the portion of Route 25 between Bridgeport and Newtown was named the Col. Henry A. Mucci Highway.

Colonel Mucci died at age 88 in Melbourne, Florida, on April 20, 1997.

Frank Wild

Commander John Robert Francis Wild, known as Frank Wild, was an explorer.

Frank Wild was born in Skelton-in-Cleveland, North Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest of eight sons and three daughters born to schoolteacher Benjamin Wild and his seamstress wife Mary (née Cook). By 1875 the Wild family had moved from Skelton to Stickford in Lincolnshire, and in late 1880 moved again to Wheldrake near York.

Wild’s family next moved to the village of Eversholt in Bedfordshire. Here his father was appointed clerk of the Eversholt Parochial Charity at Woburn. Frank Wild was educated at Bedford. He joined the Merchant Navy in 1889 at the age of 16, receiving his early training in sail in the clipper ship Sobraon. In the Merchant Navy he rose to the rank of second officer. In 1900, aged 26, he joined the Royal Navy. The 1901 census shows that at that time he was serving as an Able seaman aged 27 on HMS Edinburgh, anchored in Sheerness Harbour.

Frank Wild took part in the following Antarctic expeditions:
In 1901 he was a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s crew as an Able seaman on the Discovery, along with Ernest Shackleton who was then a sub-lieutenant.
He was with Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition 1908–1909 and was a member of the team that crossed the Ross Barrier and Beardmore Glacier at a record latitude of 88º23’S.
In 1911 he joined Douglas Mawson’s Aurora expedition and was in charge of the western base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf.
He served as Shackleton's second-in-command on Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1916).
He was second-in-command of the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition (1921–22).

As second-in-command of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Wild was left in charge of twenty-one men on desolate Elephant Island as Shackleton and a crew of five made their epic rescue mission to South Georgia aboard a lifeboat. From 24 April to 30 August 1916 Wild and his crew waited on Elephant Island, surviving on a diet of seal, penguin and seaweed. They were finally rescued by Shackleton aboard the Chilean ship Yelcho. Point Wild on Elephant Island is named after Frank Wild, with a monument dedicated to the Chilean captain Luis Pardo who rescued him and his men.

On returning to the United Kingdom in 1916, Wild volunteered for duty during World War I and was made a temporary lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. After taking a Russian language course, Wild became the Royal Navy's transport officer at Archangel, where he superintended the war materials which arrived during the Allied intervention in Russia. After the war, Wild went to South Africa where he farmed in British Nyasaland with Francis Bickerton and James McIlroy, two former Antarctic comrades.

From 1921 to 1922 Wild was second-in-command of the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition, a poorly equipped expedition with no clear plan, and a small ship, the Quest. Shackleton died of a heart attack on South Georgia during the expedition, and Wild took over command and completed the journey, combating unfavorable weather to Elephant Island and along the Antarctic coast.

Frank Wild's younger brother Ernest Wild also went on to become a Royal Naval seaman and Antarctic explorer, receiving a Polar Medal.

Frank Wild died of pneumonia and diabetes in Klerksdorp, South Africa, on August 19, 1939, aged 66. He was cremated on August 23, 1939 at the Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg.

Oscar Eckenstein

Oscar Johannes Ludwig Eckenstein was an English rock climber and mountaineer, and a pioneer in the sport of bouldering.

Bill Tilman

Major Harold William "Bill" Tilman, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar, was an English mountaineer and explorer, renowned for his Himalayan climbs and sailing voyages.

Tilman was born on February 14, 1898 in Wallasey in Cheshire, the son of a well-to-do sugar merchant John Hinkes Tilman and his wife Adeline Schwabe. He was educated at Berkhamsted Boys School. At the age of 18, Tilman was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery and fought in the First World War, including the Battle of the Somme, and was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery. His climbing career, however, began with his acquaintance with Eric Shipton in Kenya, East Africa, where they were both coffee growers. Beginning with their joint traverse of Mount Kenya in 1929 and their ascents of Kilimanjaro and the fabled "Mountains of the Moon" Ruwenzori, Shipton and Tilman formed one of the most famed partnerships in mountaineering history. When it came time to leave Africa, Tilman was not content with merely flying home but rode a bicycle across the continent to the West Coast where he embarked for England.

Tilman was involved in two of the 1930s Mount Everest expeditions - participating in the 1935 Reconnaissance Expedition, and reaching 27,200 feet without oxygen as the expedition leader in 1938. He penetrated the Nanda Devi sanctuary with Eric Shipton in 1934, and in 1936 he went on to lead an Anglo-American expedition to Nanda Devi. With the support of a team which included Peter Lloyd and H. Adams Carter, Tilman and Noel Odell succeeded in making the first ascent of the 7,816 metres (25,643 ft) mountain, which remained the highest summit climbed by man until 1950. Tilman later described their arrival on the summit:

Odell had brought a thermometer, and no doubt sighed for the hypsometer. From it we found that the air temperature was 20 °F (−7 °C) but in the absence of the wind we could bask gratefully in the friendly rays of our late enemy the sun. It was difficult to realize that we were actually standing on top of the same peak which we had viewed two months ago from Ranikhet, and which had then appeared incredibly remote and inaccessible, and it gave us a curious feeling of exaltation to know that we were above every peak within a hundred miles on either hand. Dhaulagiri, 1,000ft higher, and 200 miles away in Nepal, was our nearest rival. I believe we so far forgot ourselves as to shake hands on it.

In 1939, Tilman was the first man to attempt climbing in the remote and unexplored Assam Himalaya, exploring the Southern approaches of Gori Chen, 6538 metres, before his team succumbed to malaria. In 1947 he attempted Rakaposhi, then made his way to Kashgar to join up with Eric Shipton in a lightweight attempt on Muztagh Ata, 7546 metres, which nearly succeeded. On his way back to India, he detoured through Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to see the source of the river Oxus. During his extensive exploration of the areas of Langtang, Ganesh and Manang in Nepal in 1949, Tilman was the first to ascend Paldor, 5896 metres, and found the pass named after him beyond Gangchempo. He was awarded in 1952 the Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Gold Medal for his achievements.

He later volunteered for service in the Second World War, seeing action in North Africa, and on the beaches at Dunkirk. He then was dropped by parachute behind enemy lines to fight with Albanian and Italian partisans, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his efforts, and the keys to the city of Belluno which he helped save from occupation and destruction.

Following his military career behind enemy lines in the Second World War, Tilman took up deep sea sailing. Sailing in deep seas on the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Mischief, which he purchased in 1954, and subsequently on his other pilot cutters Sea Breeze and Baroque, Tilman voyaged to Arctic and Antarctic waters in search of new and uncharted mountains to climb. On his last voyage in 1977, in his eightieth year, Tilman was invited to ship as crew in En Avant with mountaineers sailing to the South Atlantic to climb Smith Island. The expedition was led, and the boat skippered, by the youthful Simon Richardson. He and his crew aboard the old, converted steel tug made it successfully and without incident to Rio de Janeiro. Thereafter, en route to the Falkland Islands, they disappeared without trace - it was presumed the ship had foundered with all hands.

Ernst A. Lehmann

Captain Ernst August Lehmann was a German Zeppelin captain. He was one of the most famous and experienced figures in German airship travel.

Ernst Lehmann was born in 1886 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. At the age of 14, he decided that he wanted to build ships. He studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule Berlin and received his degree in 1912. By this time, he had already joined the navy and had attained the rank of naval reserve lieutenant.

Upon graduation, he began work at the Imperial Dockyards in Kiel. He did not find this work satisfying so, encouraged by Dr. Hugo Eckener, he joined the DELAG to serve as pilot of the passenger airship LZ 17 Sachsen. He commanded a total of 550 flights of this ship.

During the First World War, Captain Lehmann commanded army and navy airships, beginning with the Sachsen after it had been taken over by the Army, followed by the LZ XII, and finally the navy ships LZ 90, LZ 98, and LZ 120.

After the war, Captain Lehmann continued his involvement with the airships, which is now used for civilian purposes. He made preparations to fly the naval airship L 72 on the first transatlantic crossing of an airship in 1919. Permission was denied by the German government. In 1920, he spent six months in Sweden studying the economics of an airship line between Stockholm and the Mediterranean, with a stopover in Friedrichshafen. These plans were never realized.

In 1921 he spent four months in the United States to prepare for a planned New York to Chicago airship route, and in 1922 he tried to negotiate with USA and England for a route to go over North Atlantic .

With the founding of the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation in 1923, Captain Lehmann served as Vice President in charge of engineering. In 1924, Captain Lehmann was second-in-command of LZ 126 on the first nonstop transatlantic flight between the European and American mainlands. The purpose of the flight was to deliver the Zeppelin to its new owners, the United States Navy, who rechristened the ship USS Los Angeles.

By 1929, Lehmann had filed a declaration of intent to become a United States citizen, but changed his mind when he was given charge of the Hindenburg in 1936.

In 1935, when Hermann Göring created the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei to increase Nazi influence over zeppelin operations, Captain Lehmann was named director of the new airline.

Captain Lehmann served as commanding officer on more than 100 of the flights of the Graf Zeppelin between 1928 and 1936. In 1936, he commanded 10 round-trip flights to Lakehurst on the new Hindenburg. Captain Lehmann was a skilled accordion player, which he often used to entertain passengers on long flights with renditions of Wagner pieces or German folk songs.

Although Max Pruss was the commanding officer of the last flight of the Hindenburg, Captain Lehmann was the most senior officer on board, but was there only as an observer. He was fatally burned when the ship caught fire at Lakehurst on 6 May 1937 and died the following day. It was initially believed that Lehmann would recover from his injuries; he was scheduled to be transferred to the hospital at Rockefeller University for further treatment until he took a sudden turn for the worse the afternoon before his death.

Lasse Dahlquist

Lars Erik Dahlquist was a Swedish composer, singer and actor. 

Reg Saunders

Reginald Walter "Reg" Saunders, MBE was the first Aboriginal Australian to be commissioned as an officer in the Australian Army. He came from a military family, his forebears having served in the Boer War and the First World War. Enlisting as a soldier in 1940, he saw action during the Second World War in North Africa, Greece and Crete, before being commissioned as a lieutenant and serving as a platoon commander in New Guinea during 1944–45.

After the war, Saunders was demobilized and returned to civilian life. He later served as a company commander with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment during the Korean War, where he fought at the Battle of Kapyong. Saunders left the Army in 1954 and worked in the logging and metal industries, before joining the Office of Aboriginal Affairs as a liaison officer in 1969. In 1971, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his community service.
Saunders was born near Purnim on the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve in western Victoria on August 7, 1920. He was a member of the Gunditjmara people. His father, Chris, was a veteran of the First World War, having served as a machine gunner in the Australian Imperial Force. One of his uncles, William Reginald Rawlings, who was killed in action and after whom Saunders was named, had been awarded the Military Medal for service with the 29th Battalion in France. Another ancestor, John Brook, fought with the Victorian Rifles and the Australian Commonwealth Horse in the Boer War. Saunders' mother died in 1924 from complications caused by pneumonia while giving birth.  After this, his father moved to Lake Condah in Victoria, with Reg and his younger brother, Harry.  As their father undertook various laboring jobs, the two boys were raised largely by their grandmother.

Saunders attended the local mission school at Lake Condah, where he did well in math, geometry and languages. His father, meanwhile, taught Reg and Harry about the bush, and encouraged them to read Shakespeare and Australian literature. After completing eight years of schooling, Saunders earned his merit certificate. He began to work as a mill hand. Employers regularly withheld payments for Aboriginal laborers at this time, but Saunders refused to work unless he was paid his full entitlement, and his employer relented. He worked and furthered his education until 1937, when he went into business with his father and brother, operating a saw mill in Portland, Victoria; the mill was destroyed in a bushfire in 1939.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Saunders was determined to serve in the armed forces. Patriotism and his family's history of soldiering both played a major part in his decision. His father suggested that he wait six months; according to Reg, "They were talking about this war being all over in six months with the Maginot Line and all the other garbage that we were told ... But we waited six months and the duck season was over so there was no more shooting to do except go to war". Saunders enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force on April 24, 1940, joining up with friends he had made while playing Australian rule football. The armed forces later adopted a policy to accept only persons "substantially of European origin or descent", but at the time Saunders encountered no barriers to his enlistment. He recalled that his fellow soldiers "were not color-conscious", and that during training in northern Queensland his white mates would sit alongside him in the "Aboriginal" section of movie theatres. His natural leadership qualities gained him temporary promotions in quick succession: within six weeks of enlistment he was a lance corporal, and after three months he made sergeant.

After completing his training, Saunders was allocated to an infantry unit, the 2/7th Battalion, which was serving overseas in North Africa at the time. Upon reaching the 2/7th, Saunders reverted to the rank of private. His first experience of war came fighting the Italians around Benghazi. In early April 1941, the 6th Division, to which the 2/7th belonged, was sent to Greece to help defend against a German invasion. Following a series of withdrawals, the battalion was evacuated on 26 April, embarking upon the Costa Rica at Kalamata. It was originally bound for Alexandria, but after the ship was attacked in Suda Bay by German aircraft and began to sink, the men of the 2/7th, including Saunders, were picked up by several British destroyers and disembarked on the island of Crete. The 2/7th was subsequently allocated to the island's defending garrison.

Following the invasion of Crete in May 1941, the 2/7th Battalion was initially employed in a coastal defense role, before taking part in the fighting around Canea. After this, it took part in a devastating bayonet charge at 42nd Street, along with the New Zealand Maori Battalion, which killed almost 300 Germans and briefly checked their advance. It was during this battle that Saunders killed his first opponent: "... I saw a German soldier stand up in clear view about thirty yards away. He was my first sure kill ... I can remember for a moment that it was just like shooting a kangaroo ... just as remote." As the Allies began to evacuate the island, the 2/7th was called upon to carry out a series of rearguard actions in order to allow other units to be taken off the island. After the final Allied ships departed the island on June 1, 1941, the battalion was left behind. As a result, many of its men were taken prisoner, though some were able to evade capture by hiding out in the hills and caves around the island. Adopting Cretan dress, learning the dialect, and enlisting the help of local inhabitants, Saunders managed to remain hidden for eleven months.

Saunders was among a party of men evacuated from Crete by a British submarine in May 1942, and returned to Australia in October. He rejoined his old unit, the 2/7th Battalion, which had re-formed in Palestine and been brought back to Australia along with the rest of the 6th Division to help defend against the threat posed by Japan's entry into the war. In November 1942, Saunders' younger brother Harry, who had enlisted shortly after him in 1940, was killed in action while serving in New Guinea with the 2/14th Battalion. When Harry had joined up, Reg recalled, "I was angry because I was the only one that was supposed to go. ... with two of us there, one of us was going to get killed ..." The elder Saunders subsequently served in New Guinea as well, fighting in the Salamaua–Lae campaign in mid-1943 where, having again been promoted temporary sergeant, he took over command of a platoon when its commander was wounded in action. For his leadership, he was recommended for a commission by his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Guinn. When Guinn told him of his plan, Saunders laughed and said, "I don't want to be an officer ... I'd rather be Regimental Sergeant Major". Guinn responded, "Christ, they don't make boys RSMs".

Saunders went before an officer selection board that had been set up on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, where the units of the 6th Division had been based following their return from New Guinea. The interview panel on the board consisted of three senior officers – all experienced infantry battalion commanders – who were tasked with determining a candidate's suitability for commissioning as an infantry officer. Saunders was found to be an acceptable candidate and posted to an officer training unit in Seymour, Victoria. Upon completion of the 16-week course, he was promoted to lieutenant in November 1944, becoming the first Aboriginal commissioned officer in the Australian Army. The precedent of his commissioning had caused the Army some concern due to its "special significance", and as a result the paperwork for its confirmation was eventually sent to the Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Thomas Blamey, for approval. Nevertheless, Blamey is reported to have "insisted upon following the usual procedure", believing that there should be no difference in the way Saunders' commission should be treated to any other soldier who had completed the necessary training. The story garnered much press coverage in Australia, most of it favorable, if in parts paternalistic.

After his promotion was confirmed, Saunders returned to New Guinea and, although it was contrary to policy, rejoined his old battalion. He subsequently took part in the Aitape–Wewak campaign, commanding a platoon until the end of the war. Due to the discriminatory laws in force at the time, Saunders had fewer rights as a citizen than the white Australians he led. He was wounded in the knee by Japanese gunfire during fighting around Maprik, and was hospitalized for three weeks as a result.

Saunders was discharged from the Army on October 5, 1945, following the end of the Second World War. Returning to Australia, he volunteered for service in Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, but the government would not accept Aborigines for the operation. Saunders spoke publicly against this policy, calling it "narrow-minded and ignorant"; the wartime restriction on non-European enlistments in the armed forces was not lifted until 1949. Saunders moved to Melbourne with his family, which by this time consisted of his wife Dorothy, whom he had married in 1944, and their three young children. Dorothy had served in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force during the war. Saunders recalled that he "had a hard time after the war ... and poor old Dotty, she, you know, didn't know what the hell to make of it". Facing discrimination that he had rarely encountered as a soldier, he worked in the ensuing years as a tram conductor, a foundry worker, and a shipping clerk.

In August 1950, the government called for Second World War veterans to serve in the Korea War as part of the specially raised 'K' Force. Saunders volunteered and returned to the Army as a lieutenant. After training at Puckapunyal, Victoria, and in Japan, he arrived in Korea in November 1950. He served with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, initially as a platoon commander in A Company. In February 1951, he took charge of A Company when its commander was wounded; he was subsequently given command of C Company. Promoted to captain, Saunders led C Company during the Battle of Kapyong in April, when 3 RAR and a Canadian battalion held off a Chinese division north-east of the South Korean capital Seoul. Frustrated by the conduct of the war prior to Kapyong, he afterwards recorded that, "At last I felt like an Anzac and I imagine there were 600 others like me". The 3rd Battalion was awarded a US Presidential Unit Citation for its part in the action. Saunders himself was recommended for a decoration but turned it down. Leading a Vickers machine gun platoon at the Battle of Maryang San in October, he reportedly shared the following exchange with a fellow 3 RAR officer: as they surveyed the forbidding mountain before them, Saunders' companion remarked, "No country for white men", to which Saunders replied, "It's no country for black men, either." He returned to Australia in November 1951.

In 1953 the Returned and Services League (RSL), a veteran’s organization, recommended Saunders for inclusion in the official Australian contingent to the coronation of Elizabeth II; the Federal government rejected the suggestion on the grounds that including Saunders would have meant excluding an officer who had been previously selected. Following his service in the Korean War, Saunders remained in the Army overseeing training for national servicemen at Puckapunyal. Away from active service, however, he soon became dissatisfied and in 1954 was discharged at his own request.

Saunders went to work in the logging industry in Gippsland, after which he moved to Sydney, where he was employed by the Austral Bronze Company. Seen by many as a role model and spokesman for Aboriginal Australians, in 1969 Saunders took up a position in the Office of Aboriginal Affairs as one of its first liaison officers. Among his tasks was promulgating information on recently legislated Federal funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and schooling, following up on recommendations made to government departments, and liaising with Aboriginal welfare groups. He later stated, "I felt a sense of leadership of Aboriginal people and a desire to do something about the Aboriginal situation". His community work was recognized in the Queen's Birthday Honors of June 1971 when he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Civil Division. He continued to serve with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Canberra until retiring in 1980. In July 1985 he was appointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and held this position until his retirement. He was also involved in the RSL, though he fell out with leaders Alf Garland and Bruce Ruxton over Garland's suggestion that Aborigines be blood-tested to determine their entitlement to government benefits. "They can take all the blood they want from me," Saunders declared in a 1986 interview, "and they'll never find out what I am – least of all an Aborigine – bloody stupid!"

Having suffered recent heart trouble, he died on March 2, 1990. His ashes were scattered on Lake Condah, traditional territory of the Gunditjmara people.

05 January, 2013

Frank Merrill

Frank Dow Merrill was a United States Army general and is best remembered for his command of Merrill's Marauders, officially the 5307th Composite Unit (provisional), in the Burma Campaign of World War II. Merrill's Marauders came under General Joseph Stilwell's Northern Combat Area Command. It was a Special Forces unit modelled on the Chindits' long range penetration groups trained to operate from bases deep behind Japanese lines.

Merrill lived with his family in Amesbury, Massachusetts and graduated from Amesbury High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1922 and earned the rank of staff sergeant in Company A, 11th Engineers.
He received an appointment to West Point in 1925 and he graduated in 1929. Merrill also earned a B.S. in military engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1932. In 1938, Merrill became the Military Attaché in Tokyo where he studied the Japanese language.

He joined General Douglas MacArthur's staff in the Philippines in 1941 as a military intelligence officer. Merrill was on a mission in Rangoon, Burma at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and remained in Burma after the Japanese invasion.

In 1943, General Merrill was appointed to command a new volunteer U.S. Army special forces unit patterned after the Long Range Jungle Penetration groups formed by the British to harass Japanese forces in Burma. The U.S. Army's official name for the unit was the 5307th Composite Unit “provisional.” Visiting war correspondents, after viewing the 5307th's performance on the firing ranges, promptly dubbed the unit Merrill's Marauders. General Merrill oversaw the training and deployment of the three battalions of the 5307th into Burma in February 1944.

In slightly more than five months of combat behind Japanese lines in Burma, the Marauders, who supported the X Force, advanced 750 miles through some of the harshest jungle terrain in the world, fought in 5 major engagements: Walawbum, Shaduzup, Inkangahtawng, Nhpum Ga, and Myitkyina, and engaged in combat with the Japanese Army on thirty-two separate occasions. Battling Japanese soldiers, hunger, and disease, they had traversed more jungle on their long-range patrols than any other U.S. Army unit of the war.

On March 29, Merrill suffered his first heart attack and command returned to then executive officer, Colonel Charles N. Hunter. In their final mission against the Japanese base at Myitkyina, the Marauders suffered 272 killed, 955 wounded, and 980 evacuated for illness and disease. By the time the town of Myitkyina was taken, only about 200 surviving members of the original Marauders were present.

On August 10, 1944, a week after the town's fall to U.S. and Chinese forces, the 5307th was disbanded with a final total of only 130 combat-effective officers and men (out of the original 2,997).

After the war's end, Merrill served in the Philippines. In early 1946 he was assigned to the headquarters of the 6th Army in San Francisco under General Stilwell. In May of the same year, Merrill and Stilwell led two Marine platoons to suppress a prison uprising at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in what is known as the Battle of Alcatraz.

Due to post war downsizing of the Army, Merrill was reduced in rank to brigadier general on 1 June 1946. He retired from the Army in his permanent rank of colonel on 30 June 1948 and was promoted to brigadier general on the retired list the next day.

After retiring from the Army, Merrill became the New Hampshire Commissioner of Highways. In December 1955 he was elected President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials but died two days later.

Frank Besson

Frank Schaffer Besson, Jr., was born on May 30, 1910 in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a West Point graduate and an officer in the Corps of Engineers . Frank S. Besson, Jr. In March 1969, General Besson left AMC to become chairman of the Joint Logistics Review Board, formed to review logistic activities in support of the Vietnam War. He retired in July 1970 and was promptly recalled to active duty to establish procedures to implement the board's recommendation. He permanently retired in October 1970. 

While in retirement, General Besson was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon as one of the founding directors of the National Rail Passenger Corporation, which ran Amtrak. He was also director of the Services National Bank in Alexandria and of ECR International. On July 15, 1985, General Besson died of cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Centergraduated seventh in his class from theUnited States Military Academy in 1932. In 1935, he received a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His early career was noted for the role he played in the development of portable military pipelines, steel landing mats for airplanes, and steel treadway bridges. He is credited with the studies leading to the Army 's adoption of the Bailey Bridge, used extensively in all theaters in World War II.

He became Assistant Director of the Third Military Railway Service (with rank of Lieutenant Colonel) in 1943, and was promoted to Director (with rank of Colonel) the following year. As Director of the Third Military Railway Service in Iran from 1944 to 1945, Besson ensured the flow of war materials to the Russian forces through the Persian Corridor. He was promoted to brigadier general, becoming, at 34, the youngest general officer in the Army Ground Forces and Chief of the Railway Division. Toward the end of World War II, he was Deputy Chief Transportation Officer of the Army Forces in the Western Pacific and, when Japan's collapse was imminent, assumed full control of railroads in Japan. During the first year of occupation, General Besson directed the rehabilitation of the Japanese rail system, moving more than 200,000 troops and 150,000 tons of supplies in the first two months.

Subsequent assignments included a tour as Assistant Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), where General Besson formulated logistics plans and overall programs to meet the complex requirements of the fifteen nations of the NATO alliance. His efforts in instituting a system for "costing out" five-year programs, thereby bringing force goals into consonance with available resources, earned him the first Distinguished Service Medal to be awarded at SHAPE headquarters.

General Besson stimulated both military and commercial adoption of containerization and improved water terminal practices. He introduced the roll-on/roll-off technique for the rapid loading and discharge of wheeled and tracked vehicles. He further refined these concepts upon assuming command of the Transportation Center and School at Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1953. General Besson was the Chief of Transportation, U.S. Army from March 1958 until April 2, 1962, when he took charge of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

General Besson was the first Commander of the Army Materiel Command, formed in 1962 during a major Army reorganization. During his command, the mammoth logistical organization, with an annual budget exceeding $14 billion and an inventory of $21 billion, employed more than 160,000 civilian personnel, in addition to its military complement of 14,000. As the first AMC Commander, General Besson was charged with consolidating six Army technical service organizations into a single command without disrupting effective materiel support for the Army. His success resulted in his receiving the Merit Award of the Armed Forces Management Association in 1963. On May 27, 1964, 53-year-old Frank Besson became the 75th officer in the U.S. Army's 189-year history to wear the four stars of a full general. He was the first Army officer to achieve that rank as head of a logistical organization in peacetime.

In March 1969, General Besson left AMC to become chairman of the Joint Logistics Review Board, formed to review logistic activities in support of the Vietnam War. He retired in July 1970 and was promptly recalled to active duty to establish procedures to implement the board's recommendation. He permanently retired in October 1970. While in retirement, General Besson was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon as one of the founding directors of the National Rail Passenger Corporation, which ran Amtrak. He was also director of the Services National Bank in Alexandria and of ECR International. On July 15, 1985, General Besson died of cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Richard Greene

Richard Marius Joseph Greene was a noted English film and television actor. A matinée idol who appeared in more than 40 films, he was perhaps best known for the lead role in the long-running British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood, which ran for 143 episodes from 1955 to 1959.

Greene was a Roman Catholic of Irish and Scottish ancestry, and was born in Plymouth, Devon, England. His aunt was the musical theatre actress Evie Greene. His father, Richard Abraham Greene and his mother, Kathleen Gerrard, were both actors with the Plymouth Repertory Theatre. He was grandson of Richard Bentley Greene and a descendant of four generations of actors. Greene was educated at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in Kensington, London, and left at age 18. He started his stage career as the proverbial spear carrier in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1933. A handsome young man, Greene added to his income by modelling shirts and hats.

His professional career began aged 19 with a walk on role in Julius Caesarat the Old Vic. He did some modelling work and appeared in a stage production of Journey's End and had a small role in Sing As We Go (1934). He joined the Jevan Brandon Repertory Company in 1936 where he appeared in Antony and Cleopatra. He won accolades in the same year for his part in Terence Rattigan's French Without Tears, which brought him to the attention of MGM, Alexander Korda and Darryl F. Zanuck, who all made offers for films. On 17 January 1938 Greene signed with Fox. At 20, he joined 20th Century Fox as a rival to MGM's Robert Taylor. His first film for Fox was John Ford's Four Men and a Prayer (1938). Greene was a huge success, especially with female film goers, who sent him mountains of fan mail which at its peak rivalled that of Fox star Tyrone Power. Greene co-starred with Sonia Henie in My Lucky Star (1938) and was reunited with Ford in Submarine Patrol (1939). Zanuck put him in Kentucky (1938) with Loretta Young and Walter Brennan. Greene was the romantic male lead in the Shirley Temple vehicle The Little Princess (1939) and was Sir Henry Baskerville in the 1939 Sherlock Holmes film The Hound of the Baskervilles. The film marked the first pairing of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but it was Greene who was top billed.

Greene had a support part in Stanley and Livingstone (1939) with Spencer Tracy and the lead in Here I Am a Stranger (1939). He co-starred with Alice Faye and Fred MacMurray in Little Old New York (1940) and supported Vera Zorina in I Was an Adventuress (1940). He had failed to become a major star but he was still playing leads in "A" movies when World War Two began. Greene tried to enlist in the Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver, but they would not give him a commission. He obtained a release from Fox and travelled to England where he enlisted in the 27th Lancers, where he distinguished himself. After three months, he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned. He was promoted to captain in the 27th Lancers in May 1944.  He was relieved from duty in 1942 to appear in the British propaganda films Flying Fortress (1942) for Warners and Unpublished Story (1942) with Valerie Hobson. In 1943, he appeared in the Anna Neagle thriller, The Yellow Canary while on leave. He also appeared in a British comedy Don't Take It to Heart (1944).

He later toured in Shaw's Arms and the Man, entertaining the troops. Greene was discharged in December 1944 and appeared in the stage plays Desert Rats. After the war starred in a British musical, distributed by Warner’s, Gaiety George (1946) which was a flop. He returned to Hollywood, and appeared in Fox's big budget Forever Amber (1947) - but in support of Cornel Wilde. He went to Universal to play the villain in The Fighting O'Flynn (1948) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. At Fox he was third billed in The Fan (1949) based on the play Lady Windimere's Fan. Greene returned to England to appear in That Dangerous Age (1949) and Now Barabbas (1949). He went back to Universal in Hollywood to play the hero in a Yvonne de Carlo eastern, The Desert Hawk (1950). Director de Cordova said Greene was "everything a man or woman could want in a desert hero."

In Britain he was in My Daughter Joy (1950), and Shadow of the Eagle (1950). He went to Italy to make The Rival of the Empress (1951). In Hollywood Edward Small asked him to play the male hero of Lorna Doone' (1951). He stayed on to star in The Black Castle (1952) and support Peter Lawford in Rogue's March (1952). For Small he made The Bandits of Corsica (1953) then he was in another swashbuckler, Captain Scarlett (1953). Greene returned to Britain looking for work. Greene got a role on stage in a production of I Captured the Castle with Virginia McKenna. Then Yeoman Films of Great Britain approached him for the lead role in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-59). He was an immediate success in it. The series and a number of related marketing products bearing his likeness, such as "Robin Hood Shoes," solved his financial problems and made him a star.

During the series' run he made the occasional film such as Contraband Spain (1955), Beyond the Curtain (1960), and Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) (as Robin Hood). He had a long love affair in the 1950s with Nancy Oakes, wealthy daughter of mining tycoon Sir Harry Oakes. Amongst other TV programmes, Greene was in A Man For Loving, The Doctors, The Morecambe and Wise Show, Dixon of Dock Green, Scarf Jack, The Professionals episode Everest Was Also Conquered and the Tales of the Unexpected episode "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat".

Greene died in 1985 of cardiac arrest at his home in Norfolk, England, at age 66.

Valentin Danilov

Valentin Danilov is a Russian physicist, whose research deals with the effect of solar activity on space satellites. 

Danilov was head of the Thermo-Physics Centre at Krasnoyarsk State Technical University (KTSU). In 1999, he has signed a contract between the KSTU and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. KSTU was supposed to make a test bench used to emulate effect of space on man-made satellites.

On February 2001 Danilov was arrested by FSB, accused of espionage, but released on bail October 2, 2002. He was acquitted by a jury of all charges on December 29, 2003. On June 9, 2004 - the Supreme Court of Russia overturned Danilov's acquittal of espionage. On November 2004, another jury convicted Danilov of espionage. He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years in jail for treason. According to human rights organizations, his sentence was unjustified, because Danilov provided documents to the court showing that all the "secret information" has been in fact declassified.

According to a statement by Amnesty International, "as in the case of Igor Sutyagin, his first trial ended in acquittal; the court concluded that the prosecution had not established violations of the law by Valentin Danilov. In June 2004, the Supreme Court of Russia quashed the verdict of acquittal; following a second, closed trial, Valentin Danilov was convicted of treason (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code) and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in November 2004." Danilov was released on parole in Krasnoyarsk in November 2012.

Many scientists and human rights organizations, both in Russia and worldwide protested the sentence because the information he passed to China was, in fact, declassified in 1992.

Charles Eames

Charles Eames, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Charles was the nephew of St. Louis architect William S. Eames. By the time he was 14 years old, while attending Yeatman high school, Charles worked at the Laclede Steel Company as a part-time laborer, where he learned about engineering, drawing, and architecture (and also first entertained the idea of one day becoming an architect).

Charles briefly studied architecture atWashington University in St. Louis on an architecture scholarship. After two years of study, he left the university. Many sources claim that he was dismissed for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his interest in modern architects. He was reportedly dismissed from the university because his views were "too modern." Other sources, less frequently cited, note that while a student, Charles Eames also was employed as an architect at the firm of Trueblood and Graf. The demands on his time from this employment and from his classes, led to sleep-deprivation and diminished performance at the university.

While at Washington University, he met his first wife, Catherine Woermann, whom he married in 1929. A year later, they had a daughter, Lucia.

In 1930, Charles began his own architectural practice in St. Louis with partner Charles Gray. They were later joined by a third partner, Walter Pauley.

Charles Eames was greatly influenced by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (whose son Eero, also an architect, would become a partner and friend). At the elder Saarinen's invitation, Charles moved in 1938 with his wife Catherine and daughter Lucia to Michigan to further study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he would become a teacher and head of the industrial design department. In order to apply for the Architecture and Urban Planning Program, Eames defined an area of focus—the St. Louis waterfront. Together with Eero Saarinen he designed prize-winning furniture for New York's Museum of Modern Art" Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. Their work displayed the new technique of wood moulding that Eames would further develop in many moulded plywood products, including, beside chairs and other furniture, splints and stretchers for the U.S. Navy during World War II.

In 1941, Charles and Catherine divorced, and he married his Cranbrook colleague Ray Kaiser, who was born in Sacramento, California. He then moved with her to Los Angeles, California, where they would work and live for the rest of their lives. In the late 1940s, as part of the Arts & Architecture magazine "Case Study" program, Ray and Charles designed and built the groundbreaking Eames House, Case Study House #8, as their home. Located upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and hand-constructed within a matter of days entirely of pre-fabricated steel parts intended for industrial construction, it remains a milestone of modern architecture.

Charles Eames died of a heart attack on August 21, 1978 while on a consulting trip in his native Saint Louis, and now has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Ben Chapman

William Benjamin "Ben" was an American outfielder, pitcher, and manager in Major League Baseball who played for several teams. He began his career with the New York Yankees, playing his first seven seasons there.

During the period from 1926 to 1943, he had more stolen bases than any other player, leading the American League four times. After twelve seasons, during which he batted .302 and led the American League in assists and double plays twice each, he spent two years in the minor leagues and returned to the majors as a National League pitcher for three seasons, becoming player-manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, his final team.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Chapman batted and threw right-handed. He was a teammate of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio and other stars on the Yankees from 1930 through the middle of the 1936 season. In his 1930 rookie season with the Yankees, during which he batted .316, he played exclusively in the infield as a second and third baseman; although he played only 91 games at third, he led the American League in errors, and after Joe Sewell was acquired in the offseason, Chapman was shifted to the outfield to take advantage of his speed and throwing arm.

He led the American League in stolen bases for the next three seasons (1931–33); his 1931 total of 61 was the highest by a Yankee since Fritz Maisel's 74 in 1914, and would be the most by any major leaguer between 1921 and 1961; equaled only by George Case in 1943. With the Yankees, he also batted over .300 and scored 100 runs four times each, batted in 100 runs twice, led the American League in triples in 1934, and made each of the first three American League All-Star teams from 1933–35, leading off in the 1933 game as the first American League hitter in All-Star history. In the 1932 World Series he batted .294 with six runs batted in as the Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs. In one game on July 9, 1932, he had three home runs, two of which were inside-the-park, and on May 30, 1934 he broke up Detroit Tiger Earl Whitehill's no-hitter in the ninth inning.

In a 1933 game, his intentional spiking of Washington Senators' second baseman Buddy Myer caused a 20-minute brawl that saw 300 fans participate and resulted in five-game suspensions and $100 fines for each of the players involved. In June 1936, Chapman – then hitting .266 and expendable with the arrival of DiMaggio – was traded to the Senators. After the trade, Chapman rebounded to finish the year with a .315 average, again making the All-Star team and scoring 100 runs, and collecting a career-high 50 doubles. In June 1937 the Senators sent him to the Boston Red Sox, and he led the AL in steals for the fourth time with 35. The following year he hit a career-best .340 with Boston, after which he was traded to the Cleveland Indians. After seasons hitting .290 and .286, Cleveland sent him back to Washington in December 1940; he hit .255 with the Senators before they released him in May 1941, and after he batted only .226 with the Chicago White Sox over the remainder of the year, his major league career appeared to be finished.

After managing in the Class B Piedmont League in 1942 and 1944 – he was suspended for the 1943 season for punching an umpire – Chapman resurfaced, following brief World War II military service, as a pitcher in the National League with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, earning five wins against three losses. After starting the next year 3–3, he was traded to the Phillies on June 15, 1945, becoming player-manager on June 30. He made three relief appearances for the team that year, and played his final game in 1946 with one inning of relief. He appeared in 1,717 games over 15 seasons, batting .302 lifetime with 287 stolen bases (including 15 of home), 1,144 runs, 90 home runs, 407 doubles, 107 triples and 977 RBIs, and winning eight of 14 decisions as a pitcher; his 184 steals with the Yankees placed him second in team history behind Hal Chase. Chapman's career major league managing record was 196–276 (.415).

Chapman died of a heart attack at age 84 at his home in Hoover, Alabama. He was interred at Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery.