Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Interesting Random Piece of History 5

I recently read the late Senator Ted Kennedy's memoirs. He said one thing in particular about his family that struck me. He said he did not believe in the myth of the Kennedy Curse because he did not think his family suffered more tragedy than most large families. Quite a remarkable thing to say really considering he had buried four siblings before his 40th birthday.

But today's Interesting Random Piece of History is not about JFK or RFK. It is about Kathleen Kennedy, the eldest of the Kennedy daughters. Known to be somewhat of a wild child she made her way to England during the second World War to work as a journalist. The picture above is of her wedding in May 1944 to prominent aristocrat William Cavendish, son of the Duke of Devonshire and nephew of Lady Dorothy Cavendish, wife of future Prime Minister Harold MacMillan. The wedding was not met with approval in the Kennedy household as Cavendish was not a Catholic. As a result only Joseph Kennedy Jr, who was stationed in England at the time, attended the wedding. The eldest Kennedy sibling is also pictured here giving the bride away. The image of the happy couple above is a very poignant one for one overriding reason. Both men in the picture would be dead within three months. William Cavendish, a major in the Goldstream Guards was killed in action in Belgium in September 1944 not long after his unit participated in the liberation of Brussels.

Three weeks later Joseph Kennedy Jr would lose his life after he participated in a daring military experiment. He piloted a B-24 Liberator filled with explosives over the British Channel. The intention was for him to bail out over the Channel at which point another air craft that was shadowing Kennedy's plane would guide it using remote control to crash at its destination which was a German V2 rocket launching site in France. Unfortunately the explosives laden air craft detonated prematurely Killing Kennedy and his co pilot. According to Ted Kennedy's memoir his eldest sister never quite recovered from this double tragedy. She herself would be killed in a plane crash in France in 1948.

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