Personal Letter from an Officer of 1st Airborne, Operation Doomsday, Norway May - August 1945
11 pages (double sided), neatly written, much personal stuff and family related chat but some interesting information from a man on the ground about the events in Norway following the German's surrender. The letter is to a Sunderland address in County Durham, to the mother of a Lieutenant Oswald A Robinson of the 1st Border Regiment, 1st Airborne Division, Zone 1 B.L.A. and dated 9th June 1945. The envelope carries a Field Post Office Stamp 343.
In page 2 of his letter he comments on an 'insidious little article' sent to him on 4th June entitled 'Nazis loot while Norway Starves', condemning most of the assertions in it as 'absolute tummy rot' although he does acknowledge that they were significantly out-numbered in Norway, but he was certain they could hold their own if need be until reinforcements were brought in. He states 'unfortunately' they had been told to treat the Germans with respect, mainly because the administration of all their camps, including medical services, supplies etc, remained in German hands and for the Allies to take this one would require tens of thousands more troops. He also refutes that supplies and bulky loot were being shipped out of Norway, and no German ships had been allowed to leave. The Germans were using their own reserves of food supplies and were not being supplied by either the British or Norwegians. He also refuted that the Germans had been allowed to retain their arms, claiming it as a damn right lie as he had personally supervised the disarming of several German units, and he thought this was now complete. They were, he admits, allowed a certain percentage of rifles to maintain discipline in their own camps which he considered sensible as "if 500,000 Germans started rambling all over the country then they would be much more of a menace to us than they are at present. They are allowed to retain 2 rifles per 100 men for enforcing order."
He carries on in this vein for the next 6 pages, claiming a "red beret is a passport to the friendliness and hospitality of the Norwegians." From page 8 to the concluding page 11, he reverts to family chat, but ends with enclosing a 'German SS flash'. Sadly this was no longer with the letter when acquired.
A fascinating personal account from a junior airborne officer 'on the ground' in the month after the surrender of Norway and active in Operation Doomsday.
In Operation Doomsday, the British 1st Airborne Division acted as a police and military force during the Allied occupation of Norway in May 1945, immediately after the victory in Europe during the Second World War. The division maintained law and order until the arrival of the remainder of Force 134, the occupation force. During its time in Norway, the division was tasked with supervising the surrender of the German forces in Norway, as well as preventing the sabotage of vital military and civilian facilities.
The German Instrument of Surrender was delivered on 8 May, and the 1st Airborne Division landed near Oslo and Stavanger between 9 May and 11 May. The majority of the transport aircraft carrying the division landed safely, but three planes crashed with a number of fatalities. The division encountered little of the expected German resistance. Operational duties included welcoming back King Haakon VII of Norway, looking after Allied ex-prisoners of war, arresting war criminals and supervising the clearing of minefields. The division returned to Britain at the end of August and disbanded two months later.