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The British Land in Norway

Discussion in 'History of Finland Norway & Denmark during World W' started by Jim, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The first eye-witness account of the landing of the British North-Western Expeditionary Force in Norway was given by Mr. J. E. Thompson, a Red Cross volunteer in the Finnish War. Mr. Thompson escaped from Oslo just after the Germans marched in, and reached London on April 24 after a most thrilling journey. Here is his report.

    Five days after I got away from Oslo with three other volunteers, said Mr. Thompson, We reached an island on the west coast. There we were picked up by a British destroyer, one of a number patrolling the mouth of the fjord... We steamed out into the North Sea. I said to a sailor,
    "I suppose we are off home now?"
    He said, "No, sir. We are just, going out to bring in a convoy of troop ships."

    We headed towards England, and later saw the transports, which were escorted by warships. We joined the escort and steamed towards the Norwegian coast again. We were still at sea when it began to get dark. Our destroyer led the way up a fjord. Other warships lay at its mouth to guard it. A transport dropped anchor, and we tied up to her side. Another warship tied up on the other side. Troops poured out on to the decks of the Destroyers. They were wonderfully equipped. They had Bren guns, and all wore mountaineering kit, with white woollen sweaters under their battle dress. A lot of them had Balaclava helmets of white sheepskin. They were all cheerful; all making jokes. They asked me how many Germans there were in Norway, and were very eager to know what the Norwegians were like I told them they were wonderful people and would do everything they could for them. As we were chatting the signal for action stations was given. There was one German plane overhead, right bang over the top of us, at a great height. He unloaded three bombs. I watched them falling. They dropped yards away from the destroyer with a terrific crash. We were putting up a continuous stream of anti-aircraft fire from all around the fjord. The- bomber was just manoeuvring into position; the troops were all below decks when one of our shells hit the bomber on the undercarriage and it crashed in the hills. All the bombs went off and made a terrific explosion.

    Most of the places at which men of the Expeditionary Force landed in Norway had but scant accommoation in the way of quays or other facilities for disembarking men and equipment. Many of the troops, therefore went ashore in lighters and ships boats and here some of them, brought to Norway in a Polish troopship, are being ferried from ship to shore.

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    The warships dispersed quickly to make it more difficult target, and we steamed on with our troops. We reached the landing place in the middle of the night; our destroyer went up the fjord first and reconnoitred before the other ships followed us in. We landed the first troops. Each man had his full pack and equipment on his back. The sailors slung their kitbags after them. We all helped to make the job as quick as possible. Then other warships came up one by one and unloaded their men. It was too dark to see what was happening on shore. All we could see were dark shadows moving about; all we heard was the sound of marching feet. A Polish ship came in to unload her men. All we could see of that was her funnel. When she had finished unloading we were taken aboard her, and then we left the fjord to return to England. Our troops were the only 'sign' of war there, and I am certain the Germans cannot have known we had landed. What struck me most was the spirits of the men. They were grand fellows, singing and enjoying the whole thing. The German troops I Saw just before I left Oslo were different. They looked glum and depressed.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    France joined with Britain in sending troops to oppose the German invaders of Norway, and early reports spoke of the presence of the famous Chasseurs Alpins (Alpine Hunters were the mountain infantry of French Army. They were trained to operate in mountainous terrain and in urban warfare.) among the French forces fighting on Scandinavian soil. This remarkable Picture showed a contingent of determined looking Soldiers on a quayside about to embark in a hour or so for Norway. The men's kit was piled up, ready for the moment of their departure.

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  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    German air power leaves its mark.

    Almost from the beginning of the campaign in Norway Aandalsnes became a key point in the British drive towards Trondheim. At the head of Romsdal Fjord, this little town was scene of the landing of British troops and was repeatedly bombed by the Germans. It was from here, too, that the evacuation of the Allied forces south of Trondheim was carried out. In most revealing fashion this photograph of the town in flames suggests the appalling conditions under which the men of the Expeditionary Force had to work.

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