Events to mark remembrance of Second World War casualties who died in Norway
26 May 2015
With the German invasion of Norway occurring 75 years ago, the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is supporting a programme
of commemorative events this week in memory of those who died
seeking to protect and liberate the Scandinavian country and its
important sea routes.
The programme will begin with a Gala Concert and Dinner on 27
May, with wreath laying ceremonies to follow at Narvik Town Square,
Veteran's Square and Narvik Cemetery on 28 May.
United Kingdom and Northern Area Director Deirdre Mills will
represent the CWGC. Delegations from the British, French, Norwegian
and Polish governments and the Narvik Town Council will be among
those paying their respects.
An interactive history of the battles and its protagonists will
be available to visitors on the day and thereafter, following the
installation of the CWGC's latest visitor information panel.
Over 500 of these modern forms of commemoration are being
integrated into cemeteries globally.
The two Battles of Narvik that took place inside the Arctic
Circle in Northern Norway 75 years ago saw almost 150 Royal Navy
servicemen lose their lives during naval clashes in one of the
The bravery shown by Commonwealth forces in the April 1940
battles is reflected in the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain
Bernard Warburton-Lee, along with Norway's War Cross, the country's
highest award for bravery.
Warburton-Lee died leading HMS Hardy into the Ofotfjord for the
first battle, an Allied attempt to overthrow German forces
targeting iron ore supplies that ultimately failed.
While the Allies briefly succeeded in liberating Narvik
following a second battle, they were forced to evacuate the country
War graves can be found at cemeteries around the fjord,
including Narvik New Cemetery, where a wreath laying ceremony will
be held on Thursday.
CWGC United Kingdom and Northern Area Director Deirdre Mills
said: "The CWGC works with partners in Norway to maintain the world
war graves at Narvik New Cemetery and others in the region and
encourages visitors to pay their respects at these places of
Earlier this month, veteran Arthur Harrison visited his
brother's war grave in Norway for the first time.
"The cemetery was perfect - so well looked after and clean," said
Mr Harrison, 91.
"It means a lot to know that Edward has been laid to rest with
his comrades and has been looked after so wonderfully."
Mr Harrison was given the chance to visit Norway after his
family entered him into a Christmas wish contest run by the Elite
Fish and Chip Company in Lincoln.
Those who died in Norwegian waters with no grave but the sea are
commemorated on the three CWGC naval memorials in the United
Kingdom in Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham, and RAF casualties at
the Runnymede memorial in Surrey.
Full press release