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Added by The Flagship on 1 Dec 2008 08:32
93949 Views 28 Comments
157
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Actors who went to war

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Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Air Force
Occupation: Intelligence Officer
Rank: Flight Lieutenant

Lee volunteered to fight with Finish forces at the outbreak of the Finish-Russian war in 1940, before joining the RAF and serving in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.


War films: 1941
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Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Air Force
Occupation: Radioman and Navigator

Whilst serving in Bomber Command, Denholm was shot down over Denmark in 1942 and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.

War films: A Bridge Too Far, Too Late the Hero, The Cruel Sea
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Nationality: British
Branch: Royal Navy
Occupation: Landing Craftsman

Guinness was part of the allied amphibious landings at Sicily and Elba, before becoming involved with the ferrying of supplies to Yugoslavian rebels in the latter stage of the war.

War films: Bridge over the River Kwai
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Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Fusilier

Michael Caine fought as a rifleman in the Royal Fusiliers during the Korean War conflict. Caine was enlisted from 1952 to 1954.

War films: Zulu, The Last Valley, A Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain
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Average listal rating (125 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Rifleman, Later Commando

Was initially present at the Dunkirk evacuation, before later seeing combat action during Normandy. Also took part in missions behind enemy lines as a Royal Marine Commando.

War films: The Guns of Navarone,
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Average listal rating (58 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: A Bridge Too Far
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Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Royal Artilleryman
Rank: Acting Major

Andrews served as an artilleryman throughout the entirety of World War II.

War films: Battle of Britain, Too Late the Hero, The Hill
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Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Nationality: British
Branch: British Army
Occupation: Paratrooper

Todd was one of the first British officers to land in occupied Europe on D-Day. A member of the British 6th Airborne Division, Todd famously saw action at Pegasus Bridge.

War films: The Dam Busters, The Longest Day, D-Day: The 6th of June, Operation Crossbow
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Average listal rating (19 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: To Hell and Back,
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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.

War films:The Final Countdown
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Nationality: American
Branch: United States Army
Occupation: GI
Rank: Sergeant
Medals: Silver Star, Purple Heart

Served for over nine months in the American army during World War II, battling through the Ardennes, Rhineland and through central Europe, before being wounded one month short of VE day.

War films: Stalag 17, Tora! Tora! Tora!
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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.

War films: Strategic Air Command
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Nationality: American
Branch: United States Air Force
Occupation: Tail-gunner
Medals: Purple Heart

Bronson served as a tail-gunner in 25 long-range bombing runs over Japan. Received a purple heart for wounds sustained when his B-29 was hit by anti-aircraft fire.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Battle of the Bulge
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Average listal rating (501 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: Fat Man and Little Boy, The Secret War of Harry Frigg
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Average listal rating (277 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: Combat America
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Nationality: Japanese
Branch: Imperial Japanese Air Force
Occupation: Air Reconnaissance

Mifune was drafted into the Japanese Air Force, despite spending the majority of his youth in China. He served as an aerial reconnaissance man before embarking on an extremely successful film career.

War films: Hell in the Pacific, 1941, Midway
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Average listal rating (129 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: United States Marine

Fought with the US Marines in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Wounded during the Battle of Saipan.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, The Big Red One, Hell in the Pacific
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Average listal rating (31 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 0
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: United States Marine
Rank: Master Sergeant
Medals: Purple Heart (x2), Bronze Star.

Dye served in Vietnam as a Marine Combat Correspondent. During this time he became a veteran of over 30 combat missions and obtained the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

War films: Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Casualties of War
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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.

War films: The One That Got Away, A Bridge Too Far, The Wild Geese
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Average listal rating (97 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
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!

War films: Lion of the Desert, Waterloo, The Longest Day
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Average listal rating (277 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation: Naval Ensign
Rank: Quarter-Master
Medals: Bronze Star

Also served in the Pacific, aboard the Destroyer USS Satterlee. Fonda had previously raised funds for the defence of Britain and was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery.

War films: The Longest Day, Midway, Battle of the Bulge
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Nationality: American
Branch: Department of the Navy
Occupation:Navalman
Rank: Gunner's 1st Mate

Borgnine has remained a staunch supporter of the US Navy since his stint in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

War films: The Dirty Dozen, From Here to Eternity
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Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: The Longest Day, Attack!,
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Average listal rating (225 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
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.

War films: Paths of Glory, In Harms Way, Heroes of Telemark, The Final Countdown
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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.



Related List: World War II

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