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Category Archives: Propaganda

Churchill’s Girls – From Dashing to Tragic

Churchill’s Girls – From Dashing to Tragic

I am in between scanners at present, so here is one Post I prepared earlier…

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the UK for most of WWII, from 1940 to 1945 (and again from 1951 to 1955). He is often stated as being one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century,  and his radio broadcasts help inspire the British people during the war.  His children also did their bit to help the war effort.

Churchill’s only son, Randolph, served with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and the SAS),  Eldest daughter Diana gained the rank of officer between 1939 and 1945 in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, middle daughter Sarah, between acting jobs, joined the WAAF and went on to interpret aerial photographs for British invasions.

Winston Churchill is accompanied by his daughter Sarah, Cairo, December 1943

Youngest daughter Mary worked for the Red Cross and the Women’s Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain). Mary also accompanied her father on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with Harry S Truman and Joseph Stalin.

Churchill with daughter Mary at Potsdam Conference

This article from November 1940 shows how the girls captured the publics interest-

churchills dashing daughters

Unfortunately Diana suffered nervous disorders and in 1963, age 54, while working for a suicide prevention organisation, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.

Sarah is best known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951), with Fred Aistere, and she made about nine movies in total. Problems with alcohol led to her death in 1982 at the age of 67.


November 1950

Mary, on her marriage Lady Mary Soames, was the last surviving child of Sir Winston Churchill, and died in 2014 at the age of 91. She left a fortune of more than £22 million, in trust to her five children, and in December 2014, Sotheby’s London auctioned on behalf of her heirs, 255 items out of her collection, including paintings by and memorabilia attached to her father. Mary’s daughter, Emma Soames, has written a book about her mother, which you read about Here.


the tragic Churchills

November 1963



Hollywood’s War Work, 1942

Hollywood did it’s bit during WWII in raising much needed War Bond money.  Hoyts Theatres and Fox films had ‘buy a bond to get in’ film premières, which in November 1942 alone raised three and a half million pounds. Stars such as Gene Tierney, pictured below, sold ‘a billion dollars’ worth of bonds in September 1942, in 300 US Cities.


Other actors helped out in different ways.  In 1942 Hollywood workers themselves contributed 160,000 pounds to the Red Cross, and invested around 80,000 pounds a week in war savings – not bad for a little town of 33,000 people.

Actress Linda Darnell qualified as a nurses aid, and with her friend Ann Miller ran a day-nursery for mothers enaged in war work.  Here is Linda Darnell rolling bandages for the Red Cross.


More than 2000 of Hollywood’s workers were in the Armed services by the end of 1942, and Hollywood also make training films for Allies, Government propaganda movies and sent copies of movies to troops in remote locations.

Some stars gave their metal jewellery to scrap drives, and others, such as Cobina Wright, pictured below, did their bit for the ‘Dig for Victory ‘ campaign.


As many movie making technicians joined the service, some actors spent their free time learning a trade, in case manpower shortages meant that movies could not be made.  Here is Ann Corcoran using an Acetylene Torch.


Some glamour girls, such as Ginny Simms and Ann Jeffreys shown below,  simply helped out as hostesses in US Service Canteens.


Photos from PIX Magazine, December 5, 1942

Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943

Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943


Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943

Working War Time Women and Rosie the Riveter

Several American companies already had contracts with the government to produce war equipment for the Allies from 1939, and when the United States entered the war in 1942 war production had to increase even further in a short amount of time.  Auto-mobile factories were converted to build air-planes, shipyards were expanded, and new factories were built. These facilities needed workers, and as men were leaving for service, women were needed.


Now not only were minority and lower-class women working, as they had always done, but now white middle-class women were asked to step up. Only for the duration of the war of course.  During the Depression and before the war, most people were against women working because they saw it as women taking jobs from unemployed men. So now the government had to convince women that working outside the home was necessary – hence another  propaganda campaign – to sell the importance of the war effort and to lure women into working.

These wonderful photos from the Library of Congress on Flickr were also part of that campaign.


“Mrs. Doris Duke, who is 26 and a mother of one child, Corpus Christi, Texas. Mrs. Duke is a civil service worker in the Assembly and Repair dept. at the Navy Air Base. he she is seem reconditioning spark plugs.”


“Answering the nation’s need for womanpower, Mrs. Virginia Davis made arrangement for the care of her two children during the day and joined her husband at work in the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas. Both are employed under Civil Service in the Assembly and repair department. Mrs. Davis’ training will enable her to take the place of her husband should he be called by the armed service”


“Mrs. Virginia Davis, a riveter in the assembly and repair department of the Naval air base, supervises Chas. Potter, a NYA trainee from Michigan, Corpus Christi, Texas. After eight weeks of training he will go into civil service. Should he be inducted or enlist in the armed service, he will be valuable to mechanized units of the Army or Navy.”


“Oyida Peaks riveting as part of her NYA training to become a mechanic in the Assembly and Repair Department at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas.”

The most popular and well know propaganda image for war time working women is probably ‘Rosie the Riveter’ –  first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, and a national hit. The song portrays “Rosie” as a tireless assembly line worker, who is doing her part to help the American war effort.


Here is a real-life “Rosie the Riveter” operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, Tennessee, working on an A-31 Vengeance dive bomber.


In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters for the war effort -one of these posters became the famous “We Can Do It!” image.


This poster was designed as a morale booster rather than a recruitment poster, and when it was rediscovered in the 1980’s it became associated with feminism, and often mistakenly called “Rosie The Riveter.”

On Memorial Day, May 29, 1943 Norman Rockwell’s image of “Rosie the Riveter” featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post – a strong woman taking her lunch break with a rivet gun on her lap and beneath her Penny loafer a copy of Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf.


If you look closely you an see that her lunch pail reads “Rosie”, and the public quickly recognized this to be “Rosie the Riveter” from the earlier song. Rockwell’s model was 19-year-old Mary Doyle, a telephone operator near where Rockwell lived in Vermont, not a riveter, but the image was so  popular that the magazine loaned it to the U.S. Treasury Department for the duration of the war, for use in war bond drives.

If you can find a copy, the 1984 movie ‘Swing Shift‘ with Goldie Hawn gives a great insight into these working women.

The Prime Minister’s Wife – A WWII Austerity Trooper

Elsie Curtin fulfilled her important role as the wife of Australia’s war time Prime Minister, John Curtin, as a stay-at-home wife providing support behind the scenes such with John’s electoral work.  She was also very interested n politics herself,  and participate in the local Labor Women’s Organisation.   As the prime minister’s wife she was also expected to undertake various public duties such as launching ships,  giving the occasional press  and entertaining at the lodge.  In this article in the Australian Women’s Weekly from September 1942 she gives a brief insight into how the Curtins try to live a more austere lifestyle for the war effort, and gives some hints for other housewives.


Good Health is a War Time Duty

Image  Image

General’s Daughter to Lead land Army, October 1941

Sybil Howy Irving MBE (25 February 1897–28 March 1973) was the founder and controller of the Australian Women’s Army Service during World War II. She served in this position from 1941 to 1946 and was active in charity and social organisations until she was aged 74.


This article form the Australian Women’s Weekly, October 1941.

A little wartime propaganda, 1943

An ad from October 1943, with just a little propaganda, from the Australian Woolen Mills.


Lady Blamey thrilled by husband’s appointment as AIF Commander, 1939


On 5 April 1939 55 year old Blamey married a 35-year-old artist Olga Ora Farnsworth at St John’s Anglican Church, Toorak. His first wife had died in 1935.

In October 1939 Blamey was appointed commander of the new AIF.

It’s unclear if Olga did travel with her husband, but you can read about his career here.

Blamey died in 1951 and Olga in 1967.

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