FRANCES LANGFORD
ENTERTAINED THE TROOPS
IN THE SOUTH WEST PACIFICA AREA
DURING WW2

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Frances Langford

Born: Lakeland, Florida - 4 April 1913

Died: Jensen Beach, Florida - 11 July 2005

 

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Photo:- Jack Heyn

Members of Bob Hope's troupe entertaining
the troops. Frances Langford singing.

 

Frances Langford joined Bob Hope's concert tours for the American troops at military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa and the South West Pacifica Area. Frances was only 1.55 metres tall and was apparently known as the "Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts"

On 14 August 1944, singer Frances Langford and a number of other entertainers including Bob Hope were onboard a Catalina flying boat returning to Sydney from Guam where they had been entertaining the troops. Other passengers included Jerry Colonna and Patty Thomas (dancer). They were all part of Bob Hope's entourage.

The Catalina experienced some sort of mechanical problems and the pilot ordered his well know passengers to jettison their luggage to lighten the aircraft while he searched for a suitable landing spot. Among to baggage thrown out of the open hatches of the Catalina were the entertainer's wardrobes and several crates of whisky.

The Catalina skimmed down on the Camden Haven River near the small town of Laurieton which is located about 30kms SSW of Port Macquarie. It had forced landed in the river adjacent to the sharp bend in the road where the picnic area is located.

Bob Hope and his troupe, including Frances Langford, Jerry Colona, Patty Thomas and Tony Romano (guitar player) entertained the troops in Hollandia in 1944. Her rendition of "I'm in the Mood for Love" was apparently a great hit with the troops. It became her trademark song.

Edward Ernest Bicknell of 30 Squadron RAAF remembers attending a large daytime American show in August 1944 in a cleared space not far from Kamiri strip on Noemfoor. The area had been equipped with a stage and a loud-speaker system. Edward wrote in his memories:-

"The performers included comedian Bob Hope, who put on absolutely hilarious show and Frances Langford, who sent the crowds into a frenzy every time she walked onto the stage. Others were the mouth-organist, Larry Adler, and a movie comedian called Jerry Colonna. He had large popping eyes and a great big black moustache."

William Terrence Allen of 30 Squadron RAAF wrote the same concert as follows:-

While we were at Noemfoor we went to a show put on by the Americans: Bob Hope, Frances Langford (one of my favourites), Patsy Thomas - a curvaceous glamour girl, comedian Jerry Colonna, and mouth-organist Larry Adler.  I suppose that nearly everyone on the Island was there for that show, and every tree around the place was loaded with Yanks.  If only the Japs had known about that assembly!

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jack Heyn for his assistance with this home page.

 

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This page first produced 7 August 2005

This page last updated 03 February 2017