Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
California State Guard Base Hospital
(Marion Davis War Work Hospital)
Insignia of the 1st Medical Regiment, California State Guard
by Sgt Maj (CA) Dan Sebby,
Military Historian, California Military Department
Within a month of the
attach on Pearl Harbor, actress, philanthropist and mistress
of media mogul William Randolph Hearst; Marion Davies began the
process of helping to actively defend California against a potential
Japanese attacks and possible invasion. On 9 January 1942, Ray
Van Ettisch, Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Examiner
provided Hearst's personal assistant, Joseph Willicombe a copy
of [the] letter Gov. [Culbert] Olson sent yesterday to Miss Davies:
I have just been advised by Brigadier General Joseph
O. Donovan, the Adjutant General of the State of California,
that you have turned over the Marion Davies Foundation
Hospital in Southern California to the First Medical Battalion,
California State Guard.
I understand that you have also made available all of the
facilities and equipment so that we can use these facilities
as a State Guard war base hospital.
As Governor of the State of California and on behalf of
the people, I want to thank you for this splendid contribution
in making this hospital available to the Guardsmen whose sole
goal and main objective is to aid and protect life and property
during our present war emergency.
On 13 January 1942, Miss
Davies turned over the keys of the Marion Davies Children's Clinic
located at 2101 Barry Avenue in West Los Angeles to the State
of California for use as a military hospital and garrison for
the California State Guard's 1st Medical Battalion. This unit
was later expanded and redesignated at the 1st Medical Regiment.
as the California State Guard Base Hospital No. 1, it was renamed
as the Marion Davies War Work Hospital by California State Guard
General Order No 53, dated 24 July 1942. The site is now Brawerman
Elementary School West. For her efforts the state commissioned
her a Captain, Nurse Corps in the State Guard. She was allowed
to wear a unique uniform, to include a cape, by the Commander
of the 1st Medical Battalion, Major Frank Nolan. Captain Davies
and her "War Committee", which counted many of Hollywood's
elite as members, worked hard to support the hospital. Members
of the Hollywood community often volunteered and donated money
and equipment to the hospital and the 1st Medical Regiment. An
example was Hollywood's Temple Israel's donation of a 1939 Packard
Ambulance to the hospital.
On 15 April 1942, Hollywood
turned out to support the hospital (and the 1st Medical Regiment)
at a large fund raising gala gala held at the Hollywood Palladium.
Hosted by Davies and Hearst, ensured that A-List actors would
Due to the relationship
between Miss Davies and William Randolph Hearst, the Los Angeles
Examiner, a Hearst newspaper, photographed some of the activities
of the hospital. These photographs are now part of the Los Angeles
Public Library collection.
13 January 1942 edition of the Los Angeles Examiner: "Pictured
is Marion Davies handing over keys to Major Frank Nolan, Commander,
1st Medical Battalion of the California State Guard. This is
the modern, two-story hospital which was turned over today to
the California State Guard by noted screen actress, Marion Davies,
for the duration of the war. To be known as the Marion Davies
War Work Hospital, the hospital, located in West Los Angeles,
will be used as State Guard medical headquarters."
12 January 1942 edition of the Los Angeles Examiner: "This
is the modern, two-story hospital which was turned over today
to the California State Guard by Marion Davies, noted screen
actress, for the duration of the war. To be known as the Marion
Davies War Work Hospital, the hospital, located in West Los Angeles,
will be used as State Guard medical headquarters."
all enjoy doing it! These are some of the many society and film
women who work as nurses' assistants at the State Guard's Base
Hospital No. 1, as part of their preparation for the gala Military
Ball to be held April 15 for the benefit of the hospital. Left
to right, Mrs. Athel Young (wife of cartoonist and Blondie creator
Chic Young), Mrs. Lorraine Miller (wife of movie director Raoul
Walsh), Mrs. Richard A. Carrington, Jr., Mrs Nan Kelly (actress,
and wife of actor Edmund O'Brien) and Mrs. Hope Chandler Hearst
(wife of David Whitmire Hearst, William Randolph Hearst's youngest
son). They are shown carrying food to patients on April 11, 1942.
the Women's Auxiliary of the Marion Davies War Work Hospital
talk with Private H. Blackburn in wheelchair. Left to right are
Mrs. Nan Kelly (actress, and wife of actor Edmund O'Brien), Lieut.
John Botti (1st Medical Regiment, California State Guard), Mrs.
Kay Fidler (wife of Hollywood gossip columnist Jimmy Fidler)
and Mrs. Charles Shuey.
California State Guard, General Order No. 53, 24 July 1942
of the California State Guard, Los Angeles Public Library and
Hearst and Marion: The Santa Monica Connection.
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