What was the role of Special Operations Executive and what kind of people worked for it?

Recommendations for awards for the members of an SOE operation in Norway, February 1943

Catalogue ref: HS 2/185


  • Fenrik Joachim Holm Boe Ronneberg.
  • Fenrik Casper Idland.
  • Sergeant (A/Fenrik) Knut Anders Haukelid.
  • Sergeant Fredrik Thorbjrn Kayser.
  • Cpl. (A/Sgt) Storhaug, Hans.
  • Cpl. (A/Sgt) Strmsfleim, Birger Edvan Martin.

After the tragic failure of C.O. OPERATION FRESHMAN, an S.O.E. party GUNNERSIDE was immediately mobilised to destroy the high priority product of the Norsk Hydro Works at VEMORK.

The complete technical and scientific intelligence was made available on 15th November, 1942, by Chemical Engineer Jomar Brun, who had just arrived in the United Kingdom after escaping from VEMORK, and Captain Leif Tronstad R.N.A. who participated in the planning and experimental erection of the actual plant. This proved that the essential damage could be carried out by a smaller party than was previously considered necessary, provided they were highly trained men who could render a good account of themselves and were in first class physical and mental condition.

The party finally selected were all volunteers who had full knowledge that the previous attempt had failed; that the enemy was fully alive as to the objective; that the area had subsequently been visited by Reichs Commissar Terboven and Colonel General von Falkenhorst, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army in Norway; and that the local garrison had been strongly reinforced.

The party were ready to fly during the December moon period, made an unsuccessful flight on 23rd January, 1943, and were eventually successfully dropped 60 Km. N.W. of the actual target at midnight on l6th/l7th February, 1943.