Two RAF aircraft flew from UK on 20/21 November 1944, each towing a glider to Norway, one of the aircraft crash landed with the glider it was carrying

SteveO

Recruit
3
1
Nov 19, 2022
Two RAF aircraft flew from a UK air base on 20 November 1944, each towing a glider to Norway, one of the aircraft crash landed with the glider it was carrying. Does anybody have any information about this incident?
 

SteveO

Recruit
3
1
Nov 19, 2022
Any other info? If there were deaths you could try here but be warned, its a very long list.... List of Pages Relating to 1944
There were 3 deaths, but I do not know if this was amongst the air crews or the soldiers being carried in the gliders. The CWGC does not show any deaths having occurred in Norway for British forces for either 20 or 21 November 1944.
 

EwenS

Staff Sergeant
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Oct 19, 2021
Two RAF aircraft flew from a UK air base on 20 November 1944, each towing a glider to Norway, one of the aircraft crash landed with the glider it was carrying. Does anybody have any information about this incident?

Please don't take this the wrong way but are you sure it was 1944 and not 1942?

I've not heard of such an operation in 1944, but otherwise the details coincide almost exactly with Operation Freshman in 1942.

On the evening of 19 Nov 1942 two Halifax aircraft towing Horsa gliders with personnel from the Royal Engineers took off from RAF Skitten in the north of Scotland for southern Norway. The target for Operation Freshman was the Vemork heavy water plant in Telemark. They encountered heavy weather en route.

The first aircraft lost its glider which crashed, killing 3 men. Some of the others were injured and all were captured. The Halifax only just made it back to Scotland.

The second tug crashed, killing all the crew. The second glider crashed, killing the pilot & co-pilot, with some of the troops seriously injured, one later dying. Again the survivors were captured.

The survivors of both gliders were subsequently tortured, and then executed in accordance with the infamous Commando Order, instructing execution of all captured commandos.

The follow up operation in early 1943 by the SOE, Operation Gunnerside, saw the destruction of the plant and the delay to the German heavy water programme necessary for their atomic programme. All turned into film in "The Heroes of Telemark" starring Kirk Douglas.


I hope this helps.
 

fubar57

Lieutenant General
29,524
14,524
Nov 22, 2009
The Jungles of Canada
I had info on that Ewen but deleted it when I saw the date was '42 and not '44. I'll see if I can find it and post it again

EDIT: found it.....

1668880834587.png
 

SteveO

Recruit
3
1
Nov 19, 2022
Please don't take this the wrong way but are you sure it was 1944 and not 1942?

I've not heard of such an operation in 1944, but otherwise the details coincide almost exactly with Operation Freshman in 1942.

On the evening of 19 Nov 1942 two Halifax aircraft towing Horsa gliders with personnel from the Royal Engineers took off from RAF Skitten in the north of Scotland for southern Norway. The target for Operation Freshman was the Vemork heavy water plant in Telemark. They encountered heavy weather en route.

The first aircraft lost its glider which crashed, killing 3 men. Some of the others were injured and all were captured. The Halifax only just made it back to Scotland.

The second tug crashed, killing all the crew. The second glider crashed, killing the pilot & co-pilot, with some of the troops seriously injured, one later dying. Again the survivors were captured.

The survivors of both gliders were subsequently tortured, and then executed in accordance with the infamous Commando Order, instructing execution of all captured commandos.

The follow up operation in early 1943 by the SOE, Operation Gunnerside, saw the destruction of the plant and the delay to the German heavy water programme necessary for their atomic programme. All turned into film in "The Heroes of Telemark" starring Kirk Douglas.


I hope this helps.
I immediately thought of Operation Freshman, but the article which led to my post came from a newspaper article that was dated 12 June 1945, and clearly quotes the date of 20 November 1944.
 

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EwenS

Staff Sergeant
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1,960
Oct 19, 2021
On the website of the Glider Pilots Association are details of all the WW2 operations that the Regiment took part in. None are listed between Oct 1944 and March 1945.

The details given match Op Freshman so closely it can’t be anything else. I note the article is dated 12 June 1945, just a month after British and Norwegian troops returned to Norway. It was only after their arrival that the British leaned the full story, recovered the bodies and rounded up the guilty parties.

So either the reporter picked up the wrong year (a misunderstood accent?) or the story got corrupted along the way, or it was a typo when printed. Lots of possibilities for errors.

Communication is no foolproof.
 

AL90

Airman
17
32
Nov 26, 2022
I supect that the paper has a typo on the date as EwenS suggests. Glider Pilot Norman Davis's casualty file has copies of the Investigation report on Operation Freshman dated 30th August 1945, around page 20 in his file if of interest.
 

A.G. Williams

Airman 1st Class
152
175
Oct 10, 2020
I've been to Vemork. It's worth a visit if you're in the area.
 

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