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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Saved From The Flea Market

War medal of Norwegian "police trooper" saved from flea market.

One of the weirdest aspects of WWII and Sweden is that the many thousand Norwegian soldiers that were trained in Sweden starting in 1943 are almost forgotten. Recently a remainder of them surfaced in a flea market.

It was my friend and coauthor Karl-Gunnar Norén who rescued the above medal and diploma once awarded to Norwegian "police trooper" Ernst Tönning. The set have now been donated by Karl-Gunnar to the Defence Museum in Boden, as that museum i.a. deals with the thousands of "police troops" that passed through or were stationed in northernmost Sweden, where Boden is situated.

I have written about the so-called Norwegian "police troops" in Sweden most recently in my book Germans and Allies in Sweden.

Just recently, a 1945-made documentary about the 46,000 Norwegians that fled to Sweden was released on the web. The second half of it is largely about the "police troops" and even has some dramatic scenes. Note that at the time there was no stigma attached to using letters in viking rune style, even the S-rune in the same style as the S in SS. In fact, the Norwegian armed forces in exile used the viking theme quite frequently. Only after the war did viking runes become instantly associated with the Germans and the SS.

Also now on the web is a the only known film showing the ten C-47 Dakota aircraft that transported the police troops from Sweden to northernmost Norway. The film is mainly not about the aircraft but about the US and Swedish effort to save Soviet and Yugoslav ex-prisoners of war in Arctic Norway just after the war. But nevertheless you see the aircraft and some USAAF crew quite well, starting at the their base on the Kallax Peninsula just outside Luleå in north Sweden. The USAAF officer saluting in the beginning is the Norwegian-born colonel and aviation pioneer Bernt Balchen. Sadly, this film has no sound.

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