Nationality: British Branch: British Army Occupation: Intelligence Office Rank: Major
Dirk served in both the Pacific and European theatres of war. Was involved in the liberation of the Belsen death camp and allegedly developed a severe hatred for German citizens from this point forward for the rest of his life.
Nationality: American Branch: United States Army Occupation: GI Rank: First Lieutenant Medals: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star (x2), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (x2), Purple Heart (x3), French Legion of Honor, French Croix de Guerre, Belgian Croix de Guerre
Audie Murphy became one of the most highly decorated soldiers of World War II. After lying about his age in order to enlist at 16-years-old, Murphy was rejected several times from different military branches for his small stature. Murphy was prolific in Sicily and Italy, before his division invaded France where he won the Medal of Honor.
Nationality: American Branch: United States Army Occupation: GI Rank: Private First Class Medals: Silver Star, Purple Heart
Durning was drafted into the army at 21 and served as an artilleryman who took part in the landings on Normandy Beach. Despite extensive injuries obtained from a German mine, Durning recovered quickly and returned to action in time for the Battle of the Bulge.
Nationality: American Branch: United States Air Force Occupation: Bomber Pilot Rank: Brigadier General Medals: Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross (x2), Air Medal (x4), Army Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, French Croix de Guerre .
Initially rejected from the air force for being underweight, Stewart beefed up and became the first major Hollywood star to enlist during World War II. Stewart eventually flew in 25 bombing missions over occupied Europe as well as starting a pilot training school which educated 200,000 pilots during the course of the conflict.
Nationality: American Branch: United States Air Force Occupation: Gunner and Radioman
Due to his colour-blindness, Newman was denied a pilot's licence and instead was consigned to radio operations and gunnery detail. Served in the Torpedo Squadron aboard the U.S carrier USS Bunker Hill. His squadron was ordered to reinforce this carrier, but his pilot was unable to fly due to illness. The rest of his squadron were destroyed by kamikaze attacks on the carrier shortly afterwards.
Nationality: American Branch: United States Air Force Occupation: Air Reconnaissance, Gunner Rank: Major Medals: Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross
Clarke was utilised as a recruitment officer and spent most of World War II at RAF base Polebrook. Gable eventually flew combat missions over Europe as a gunner aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress. It is alleged that Adolf Hitler regarded Gable so highly that he offered a sizeable award to anyone who could bring him in alive.
Nationality: German Branch: Wehrmacht Occupation: Waffen-SS
Drafted directly from the Hitler Youth into a Waffen-SS unit which saw heavy fighting against U.S Armoured Divisions. After repeated routing of the SS unit, remaining soldiers were eventually captured in Chiemsee, Germamy.
Nationality: American Branch: Department of the Navy Occupation: Naval Ensign
Steiger served aboard a Destroyer and was part of the convoy escorting the USS Hornet en route to the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Alleged to have machine gunned and sunk an unarmed Japanese civilian fishing vessel during this mission. Under orders of course!
Nationality: American Branch: Department of the Navy Occupation: Naval Ensign Rank: Lieutenant Medals: Bronze Star
Involved in the Battle of Tarawa during the Pacific campaigns. Awarded the Bronze Star for his exploits as a landing craft driver in Tarawa, for successfully extracting over 70 wounded allied soldiers whilst under enemy fire.
Nationality: American Branch: Department of the Navy Occupation: Communications Officer
Douglas was a member of an Anti-Submarine unit in the Pacific. Was injured after a depth charge exploded prematurely after being discharged. These injuries were sufficient to see Douglas sent home from the war.
This list pays homage to the men who answered the call of duty, despite having everything to lose. It's almost impossible to imagine any major celebrity in today's day and age agreeing to enlist in the army to fight a war, but these men put their glittering careers on hold in order to fight for the greater good.
The list is comprised primarily of actors who were famous before going to war, though contains several entrants who became Hollywood starlets after experiencing combat. Importantly, each person on the list then went on to portray war on the big screen.