David Niven was named after the Saint's Day on which he was born, St. David, patron Saint of Wales. He attended Stowe School and Sandhurst Military Academy and served for two years in Malta with the Highland Light Infantry. At the outbreak of World War II, although a top-line star, he re-joined the army (Rifle Brigade). He did, however, consent to play in two films during the war, both of strong propaganda value--Spitfire (1942) and The Way Ahead (1944). In spite of six years' virtual absence from the screen, he came in second in the 1945 Popularity Poll of British film stars. On his return to Hollywood after the war he was made a Legionnaire of the Order of Merit (the highest American order that can be earned by an alien). This was presented to Lt. Col. David Niven by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.