August 12, 1944
JOE JR. DIES IN LIBERATOR EXPLOSION
London, England (JFK+50) Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the son of former US Ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. & Rose F. Kennedy, was killed today along with his navigator over the skies of England.
Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
United States Navy
Lt. Kennedy (29) & Lt. Wilford ‘Bud’ J. Willy (35) were aboard a PB-44 Liberator bomber filled with 21,170 pounds of explosives. They were on a mission to destroy a German V-3 launch site in northern France when a malfunction occurred.
The site they were targeting is the Fortress of Mimoyecques used by the Germans to wreak vengeance upon cities in England.
The explosion came 10 minutes before the two US Navy men were to eject from their aircraft allowing it to be guided into the V-3 site by remote control.
The wreckage from the explosion landed near the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk, England.*
*The news of Joe Jr.s death had a devastating impact on Joe Sr., who had plans for Joe Jr. to one day be President of the United States. Thus, the death of Joe Jr. would have “life-changing” significance for his younger brother, Jack, who reluctantly would take Joe Jr.’s place in his father’s plans.
Memorial at Fortress Mimoyecques
Photo by Bodoklecksel (2008)
August 12, 1946
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, JR. FOUNDATION AWARDS FIRST GRANT
Brighton, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Two years to the day after Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.’s death, the 1st grant was presented by the foundation that bears his name.
A gift of $600,000 was awarded to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to establish a convalescent home for children of poor families.
Joe Jr.’s surviving younger brother, Jack, presented the award in behalf of the Foundation at the home of Archbishop Cushing in Brighton.
August 12, 1956
SENATOR KENNEDY WINS CHRISTOPHER AWARD
New York City (JFK+50) Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy was named winner today of the prestigious Christopher Award.
The award is given annually by the Christian organization founded by Father James Keller to producers, directors & writers that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”
Winners receive a bronze plaque which bears the inscription:
“Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
August 2, 1963
LEE HARVEY OSWALD PLEADS GUILTY
New Orleans, Louisiana (JFK+50) Lee Harvey Oswald, self proclaimed “Marxist-Leninist” & secretary of the New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee made a plea of guilty here today for disturbing the peace.
Oswald had been arrested when he became involved in a fight with anti-Castro Cubans while passing out pro-communist literature.
Mr. Oswald, who reportedly requested to speak to an FBI agent during his time in custody, paid a $10 fine & was released.
August 12, 1964
“JAMES BOND, 007” AUTHOR, IAN FLEMING, DIES
Kent, England (JFK+50) Ian Fleming, the author of the popular James Bond novels, died here today of an apparent heart attack at the age of 56.
Fleming, who was born on May 29, 1908, worked as an assistant to the British director of naval intelligence during World War II.
His 1st Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953.
The 1st Bond film, Dr. No, released in 1962, starred Scottish actor Sean Connery.
*JFK was a fan of Fleming’s James Bond novels & the two men shared the same birth day, May 29.
Sean Connery & Ian Fleming
August 12, 1965
LODGE SWORN IN AS US AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was sworn in by President Lyndon B. Johnson today at the White House as the new United States ambassador to South Vietnam.
Mr. Lodge replaces Frederick Nolting, Jr.
At the swearing-in ceremony, LBJ said that the US would not be fighting in Vietnam if our help was “not wanted & requested.”
August 12, 1939
“WIZARD OF OZ” PREMIERS IN WISCONSIN
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (JFK+50) “The Wizard of Oz”, a film based on the original childrens book by L. Frank Baum, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, made its world premier here today.
The film stars Judy Garland as “Dorothy Gale”, Ray Bolger as “the Scarecrow”, Jack Haley as “the Tin Man”, Bert Lahr as “the Cowardly Lion” & Frank Morgan, playing 5 different roles in the film, as “the Wizard of Oz”.
Margaret Hamilton plays the role of “Wicked Witch of the West”.
*Judy Garland’s performance of “Over the Rainbow” would earn songwriters Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg an Oscar. The song will be named the #1 song of the century.
Personal Note: I never saw “The Wizard of Oz” in a movie theater, but it was telecast every spring. We did not have “Color TV” until 1968 when I 1st saw “The Wizard” in color. One of the most memorable parts of the film for me is when Dorothy lands in Oz, walks out of the door of her house, & everything turns from “black & white” to “color”.
Judy Garland as “Dorothy”
Scene from “The Wizard of Oz”