Saturday, December 24, 2011
December 7-13, 1939
One of the most famous stars in the history of silent films, Douglas Fairbanks senior, died from a heart attack at his home in Santa Monica, California, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The first on screen swash buckling, romantic hero of the movie era, Fairbanks was famous for his roles in 'Three Musketeers,' 'Robin Hood,' and 'The Black Pirate.'
In 1920 Fairbanks delighted fans when he married Hollywood sweetheart Mary Pickford. The 'perfect' marriage ended in 1935 when Pickford was granted a divorce on the grounds of her husband's 'cruelty, indifference and neglect,' but even this did little to dent Fairbanks' popularity.
'That a man of Fairbanks' apparent fitness should have died from heart trouble is surprising,' commented a Press Association correspondent on the sudden death of the 56 year old actor, recalling the actors daring leaps and breathless duels that demanded the physique of a first rate athlete.
Sharing the front page with the news of the film star’s death was an account of the funeral of Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria, who was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor.
In what was described as a simple service, special mention was made of Mary, Princess Royal, King George VI's sister, who wore the khaki uniform of a Commandant of the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service.
'No glitter of orders marked the Royal procession as it entered the Chapel,' the report continued. 'The khaki and blue of serving officers only were sprinkled among the black morning coats and black dresses.'
It was announced that the appeal for funds for the Mayoress of Swindon's Association for Comforts for Swindon Men Serving Overseas had so far realised £73 17s 1d and £87 5s 3d had been spent. Twenty pounds of wool had been bought and many articles had already been knitted, with some women turning out three pairs of socks a week.
The fund for the Servicemen's Club in Faringdon Road, Swindon totalled £220 0s 7d following donations of £4 11s from the Baptist Church, Upper Stratton, and £3 3s from Messrs R.J. Leighfield & Sons, Swindon. An appeal for further donations was made by Mr C.C. Lambourn, honorary secretary, at Barclays Bank, Regent Street.
Soldiers billeted in Swindon were guests of ARP wardens at D Group headquarters where refreshments were provided and the soldiers beat the wardens at darts by four games to three.