30 December 2010

Departed this life – part IV

The last few months of the year do not seem to be rich pickings for notable or obscure deaths of interest to this warped mind still here goes.

Eileen Nearne, whose body was discovered on 2 September, had been an SOE operative during WWII. Codenamed Rose, she was flown in to France on 1944 to work as a wireless operator for the Wizard network, one of several SOE operations in the country.

In July 1944 her transmitter was detected and she was arrested. After torture by the Gestapo she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she refused to do prison work. She was then transferred to a forced labour camp in Silesia. On 13 April 1945 she escaped with two French girls from a work gang. After arrest and release by the SS they were reportedly reportedly hidden by a priest in Leipzig until the arrival of United States troops.

Nearne was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government but just a measly MBE by our own government.

She died alone from a heart attack in her seaside flat. Her body is thought to have remained undiscovered for some time until found on 2 September 2010. She was 89 years old. Her wartime activities were not generally known about. It was only when her flat was being searched by council workers to try to establish her next-of-kin that medals and other papers related to her war career were found.

Her funeral was paid for by the Royal British Legion

On 12 September French film director Claude Chabrol died at the age of 80

28 October saw the death of James MacArthur, the original Hawaii 5-0 Danno. The phrase “Book him Danno, Murder One” is a treasured childhood televisual memory. Accept no substitutes! Even if the remake features Grace Park!

29 October saw the death of Geoffrey Crawley, former editor in chief of the British Journal of Photography, at the age of 83. In the 1980s he finally laid to rest the Cottingley Fairies hoax.

Sycophant Adrian Paunescu died on 5 November. Paunescu was infamous for being Nicolae Ceausescu’s court poet. That job ended in 1989 when his master mysteriously died of lead poisoning… I featured one of his atrocious works at the time of his death.

On 21 November Prince Chunk died at the age of 10 of heart complications Chunk was at one time 44lbs, just two lb short of the absolute record for the fattest cat. Robyn at one time weighed nearly 17lbs and we thought he was a big fellow… then again he was never a fasto, just a large cat!

Captain Beefheart is the last person of note (for me anyway) to die this year. Like his foodstuff namesake his music was very much an acquired taste


nursemyra said...

I LOVE the films of Claude Chabrol

jams o donnell said...

Me too Nursie and there are so many god ones to choose from

James Higham said...

That first one was sad. Alone, died, discovered some time later. Heroine.

jams o donnell said...

It was a sad end for a brave woman

Silent Hunter said...

Very interesting.

Don't forget Ingrid Pitt as well.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks SH. I did a tribute to Ingrid at the time. Perhaps I should have mentioned her again