On This Day

What Happened in May 1944

Historical Events

  • May 1 Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel, 1st jet bomber, makes 1st flight
  • May 1 Pulitzer prize awarded to American Martin Flavin for his novel "Journey in the Dark"
  • May 1 Surprise attack on Weteringschans Amsterdam, fails
  • May 2 WABD (WNEW, now WNYW) TV channel 5 in NYC (DUM/MET/FOX) 1st broadcast
  • May 3 Meat rationing ends in US

Film Premiere

May 3 "Going My Way", directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby premieres in New York (Academy Award for Best Picture, 1945)

Film Release

May 4 "Gaslight", starring an 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her film debut, is released

  • May 5 Soviet offensive against Sebastopol, Crimea
  • May 6 70th Kentucky Derby: Conn McCreary aboard Pensive wins in 2:04.2
  • May 6 KJR-AM in Seattle Washington swaps calls with KOMO

Historic Event

May 7 German assault on Tito's hideout in Drvar Bosnia

  • May 8 33 communist resistance fighter sentenced to death
  • May 9 1st eye bank opens in New York
  • May 9 Country singer Jimmie Davis becomes Governor of Louisiana
  • May 9 Dutch resistance fighter Gerard Musch arrested
  • May 9 Joe McCarthy returns as Yankee manager after an illness
  • May 9 Russians recapture Crimea by taking Sevastopol
  • May 10 Chinese offensive in West-Yunnan
  • May 10 Smith v Allwright (excluding Blacks from primary voting) is illegal
  • May 11 Opposition group surprise attack post office Washer
  • May 12 900+ 8th US Air Force bombers attack Zwikau, Bohlen & Brux
  • May 12 Crimea purged of Nazi troops
  • May 12 German police arrest Dutch resistance member Gerrit van der Veen and later execute him
  • May 13 69th Preakness: Conn McCreary aboard Pensive wins in 1:59.2
  • May 14 91 German bombers harass Bristol
  • May 14 British troops occupy Kohima

Assassination Attempt

May 14 General Rommel, Speidel & von Stulpnagel attempt to assassinate Hitler

Historic Event

May 15 14,000 Jews of Munkacs, Hungary, deported to Auschwitz

  • May 15 Cincinnati Red Clyde Shoun no-hits Boston Braves, 1-0

Historic Event

May 15 Eisenhower, Montgomery, Churchill and King George VI discuss the plan for D-Day

  • May 15 Sergei Aleksi becomes guardian of Patriarch Throne
  • May 16 1st of 180,000+ Hungarian Jews reach Auschwitz
  • May 17 -18] Allied air raid on Surabaja, Java
  • May 17 Chinese and US armed forces take Myitkyina Airport, Burma
  • May 17 Operation Straightline: Allies land in Dutch New Guinea
  • May 18 Polish 2nd Army corps captures convent of Monte Cassino, Italy
  • May 18 Expulsion of more than 200,000 Tartars from Crimea by Soviet Union begins, they are accused of collaborating with the Germans
  • May 19 240 gypsies transported to Auschwitz from Westerbork, Netherlands, including Sinti girl Settela Steinbach famously filmed by Jewish photographer Rudolf Breslauer [1]
  • May 19 German defense line in Italy collapses
  • May 20 US Communist Party dissolves
  • May 23 British and Canadian troops occupy Pontecorvo, Italy
  • May 23 Chinese counter offensive at Hunan front
  • May 23 Operation Buffalo: Allied break out from Anzio bridgehead

Historic Event

May 24 Enver Hoxha becomes head of Albania's anti fascists

  • May 24 Icelandic voters severe all ties with Denmark
  • May 25 Partisan leader Tito escapes Germans surrounding Bosnia
  • May 27 Allies land on Biak, Indonesia (operation Horlicks)
  • May 27 Japanese advance in Hangkhou China

Historic Event

May 27 Jean-Paul Sartres' "Huis Clos" premieres in Paris

  • May 29 British troops occupy Aprilia, Italy
  • May 30 Transport number 75 departs with French Jews to Nazi Germany
  • May 31 Allied breakthrough in Italy

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Suresh Kalmadi, Indian politician
  • May 2 Franz Innerhofer, Austrian writer (Beautiful Days), born in Krimml, Salzberg
  • May 2 John Verity, English rocker (Argent), born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
  • May 2 Bob Henrit, English pop drummer (Argent - "Hold Your Head Up"; The Kinks), born in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, England
  • May 3 Ian Peter Leslie Smith, British journalist, born in Bristol, England (d. 1997)
  • May 3 Pete Staples, British rock bassist (Troggs - "Wild Thing"; "Love Is All Around"), born in Andover, Hampshire, England
  • May 4 Peggy Santiglia, American singer-songwriter (Angels), born in Belleville, New Jersey
  • May 5 Jean-Pierre Léaud, French actor (Detective), born in Paris, France
  • May 5 John Rhys-Davies, Welsh actor (Sir Edward-Quest, Sliders), born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
  • May 5 Bo Larsson, Swedish football striker, born in Malmö, Sweden
  • May 5 Roger Rees, Welsh Tony winning stage and screen actor (Cheers - "Robin Colcord"), born in Aberystwyth (d. 2015)
  • May 6 Anton Furst, American production designer (Batman), born in London (d. 1991)
  • May 6 Masanori Murakami, Japanese baseball player in major leagues, born in Ōtsuki, Yamanashi, Japan
  • May 7 Alison Bauld, Australian composer, born in Sydney, Australia
  • May 7 Sivi Aberg, Swedish actress (Batman TV show), born in Gävle, Sweden
  • May 7 Eva Norvind, Norwegian-Mexican actress, born in Trondheim, Norway (d. 2006)
  • May 7 Richard O'Sullivan, British comedy actor (Man About the House), born in Chiswick, London
  • May 8 Gary Glitter [Paul Gadd], British glam rocker (Rock and Roll, Parts 1 and 2), and convicted sex offender, born in Banbury, England
  • May 8 Bill Legend [Fifield], British musician and rock drummer (T. Rex), born in Barking, Essex
  • May 8 Dorothy Combs (Morrison), American gospel, session and touring singer (Edwin Hawkins Singers - "Oh Happy Day"; The Combs Sisters; Blues Broads), born in Longview, Texas
  • May 9 Don Dannemann, rocker (Cyrkle)
  • May 9 Richard Furay, American singer-songwriter, and guitarist (Buffalo Springfield; Poco), born in Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • May 10 Abdul Kadir, cricketer (Pakistani batsman-keeper in 4 Tests 1964-65)
  • May 10 Jackie Lomax, English singer-songwriter (Is This What You Want), born in Liverpool, England (d. 2013)
  • May 10 Jim Abrahams, Shorewood WI, director (Hot Shots, Top Secret)
  • May 10 Marie-France Pisier, Daclat, Vietnam, French actress and writer (Love on the Run, Cousin cousine)
  • May 11 John Benaud, Australian cricket batsman (3 Tests, 1 x 100; NSW CA), born in Sydney, Australia
  • May 12 Eva Demski, German writer, born in Regensburg
  • May 12 James Purify, American R&B singer ("I'm Your Puppet"), born in Pensacola, Florida (d. 2021)
  • May 12 Orestes Vilató, Cuban-American percussionist and timbalero, born in Camagüey, Cuba
  • May 13 Betsy Finley Ashton, American broadcast journalist, author and lecturer, born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • May 13 Carolyn Franklin, American singer-songwriter ("Angel"), born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1988)
  • May 13 Clive Radley, English cricketer (batsman in 8 Tests)
  • May 13 Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, British explorer and genealogist
  • May 13 Armistead Maupin, American author (Tales of the City series), born in Washington D.C.
  • May 14 Francesca Annis, actress (Madame Bovary, Dune), born in London, England
  • May 14 Gene Cornish, Canadian rock bassist/vocalist (Fotomaker, Rascals - "Good Lovin'"), born in Ottawa, Ontario

George Lucas

May 14 George Lucas, American film director, screenwriter, and producer (Star Wars; Indiana Jones; American Graffiti), born in Modesto, California

  • May 15 Gunilla Hutton, Goteborg Sweden, actress (Petticoat Junction)
  • May 15 Miruts Yifter 'Yifter the Shifter', Ethiopian runner (Olympic golds 1980), born in Adigrat (d. 2016)
  • May 15 Ian "Tich" Amey, British rock musician (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich), born in Salisbury Wiltshire
  • May 15 Bill Alter, Missouri State Senator
  • May 16 Billy Cobham, Panamanian-American jazz drummer (Mahavishnu Orchestra), born in Colón, Panama
  • May 16 Danny Trejo, American actor
  • May 17 Arif Butt, Pakistani cricketer (pace bowler for Pakistan in three Tests 1964-65), born in Lahore, Punjab, British India (d. 2007)
  • May 17 Canon P B Price, general secretary, USPG
  • May 17 Jesse Winchester, singer/songwriter (Learn to Love it), born in Shreveport, Louisiana (d. 2014)
  • May 18 Albert Hammond, British singer-songwriter ("It Never Rains In Southern California"), born in London, England
  • May 18 Peter Ryan, British national director (Police Training)
  • May 18 W. G. Sebald, German-born writer (Austerlitz), born in Wertach, Germany (d. 2001)
  • May 19 Peter Mayhew, British-American actor (Chewbacca in Star Wars), born in London, England (d. 2019)
  • May 20 Boudewijn de Groot, Dutch folk singer ("Sleep Well, Mr. President"), born in a Japanese concentration camp, near Batavia, occupied Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • May 20 Cipa Dichter, pianist/wife of Misha Dichter, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • May 20 David M Walker, Capt USN/astron (STS 51-A 30, 53, 69), born in Columbus, Georgia

Joe Cocker

May 20 (John) "Joe" Cocker, English rock vocalist ("With A Little Help From My Friends"; "Cry Me A River"; "You Are So Beautiful"), born in Sheffield, England (d. 2014)

  • May 20 Keith Fletcher, cricket captain (Essex & England)
  • May 20 Joseph Benz, Swiss bobsledder (Olympic gold 2-man 1980; World C'ship gold 4-man 1975; 2-man 1978, 79), born in Zurich, Switzerland (d. 2021)

Dietrich Mateschitz

May 20 Dietrich Mateschitz, Austrian businessman and co-creator of Red Bull energy drink, born in Sankt Marein im Mürztal, Styria, Austria

  • May 21 Janet Dailey, American Romance author, born in Storm Lake, Iowa (d. 2013)
  • May 21 Manual Pina, Spanish fashion designer (d. 1994)
  • May 21 Marcie Blane [Blank], American pop singer (Bobby's Girl), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 21 Mary Robinson, Irish politician, President of the Republic of Ireland (1990-97), born in Ballina, Ireland
  • May 23 John Newcombe, Australian tennis player (7 Grand Slam singles, 17 Grand Slam doubles titles), born in Sydney, Australia
  • May 23 Giles Smith, TV journalist
  • May 23 Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood, American funk drummer (Parliament-Funkadelic; Miles Davis), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1979)
  • May 24 Patti LaBelle [Holte], American pop, R&B, and disco singer (LaBelle - "Lady Marmalade"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • May 25 Frank Oz, American muppetteer (Grover-Sesame Street, Muppet Show), born in Hereford, England
  • May 25 Bob Payton, American pizza magnate (The Chicago Pizza Pie Factory), born in Miami, Florida (d. 1994)
  • May 25 John Bunnell, former Sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon and TV personality (World's Wildest Police Videos), born in Pendleton, Oregon
  • May 25 Robert MacPherson, American mathematician (invention of intersection homology with Mark Goresk), born in Lakewood, Ohio
  • May 26 (Terence) Verden Allen, Welsh rock keyboardist (Mott the Hoople - "All Young Dudes"), born in Crynant, Neath, Wales
  • May 26 Sam Posey, American auto racer (12 Hours of Sebring 1975; 24 Hours of Le Mans 1971 3rd) and TV commentator (ABC Sports), born in NYC, New York
  • May 27 Christopher J Dodd, (Gov/Sen-D-CT, 1981- )
  • May 27 Billy Adamson, Scottish drummer (The Searchers, 1969-98), born in Peebles, Scotland (d. 2013)
  • May 28 Adriaan T "Ad" Zuiderent, poet/critic (On the Droge)
  • May 28 Billy Vera, American rock singer-songwriter (Billy & The Beaters - "At This Moment"; "Into the Night"), born in Riverside, California
  • May 28 Gladys Knight, American singer known as the Empress of Soul (The Pips - "Midnight Train to Georgia"), born in Atlanta, Georgia

Rudy Giuliani

May 28 Rudy Giuliani, American Mayor of New York City (Republican: 1994-2001) at the time of the September 11 attacks, born in NYC, New York

  • May 28 Gary Stewart, American country singer ("She's Actin' Single"), born in Jenkins, Kentucky (d. 2003)
  • May 28 Patricia Quinn, Lady Stephens, Northern-Irish actress, voice artist and singer (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), born in Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • May 28 Faith Brown, British actress and impressionist
  • May 29 Helmut Berger [Steinberger], Austrian film actor (Ludwig; Ash Wednesday; The Damned; Dorian Gray), born in Bad Ischl, Austria
  • May 29 Quentin Davies, British MP (C & L), born in Oxford, England
  • May 30 Lenny Davidson, British rock guitarist (Dave Clark Five - "Glad All Over"), born in London, England

Famous Weddings

Ted Williams

May 4 Baseball player Ted Williams marries Doris Soule (divorced 1954)

Burgess Meredith

May 21 Actor Burgess Meredith (36) weds actress Paulette Goddard (33) at David O Selznick's Beverly Hills home


Famous Deaths

  • May 5 Bertha Benz [Cacilie Bertha Ringer], German inventor, automotive pioneer and wife of fellow automotive inventor Karl Benz, dies at 95
  • May 9 Ethel Smyth, English composer, dies at 86
  • May 11 Henk Hos, Dutch resistance fighter, executed at 37
  • May 11 Walter Oesau, German fighter pilot (WWII), dies at 30
  • May 12 Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900), dies at 80
  • May 16 George Ade, American playwright, writer and humorist (Counsel Widow, Fables in Slang), dies at 78
  • May 16 Leone Sinigaglia, Italian composer, dies at 75
  • May 16 Max Brand [Frederick Schiller Faust], western author, dies
  • May 16 Ferdinand Alphons Marie van der Ham, Dutch WW II resistance fighter, dies at 27
  • May 17 Félix Éboué, French colonial administrator, dies at 60
  • May 19 Godfrey Wilson, British Anthropologist of social change and colonial problems in Africa, commits suicide as a conscientious objector in WW II
  • May 26 Cyril Francois, South African cricket all-rounder (5 Tests, 252 runs, 6 wickets), dies in a motor accident at 46
  • May 26 Robert van Spaendonck, Dutch resistance fighter, dies at 27
  • May 28 Katri Vala, Finnish poet, dies at 42
  • May 30 Jessie Ralph, actress (Good Earth, San Francisco), dies at 79