Remembering Second World War casualties who died defending Norway
19 May 2015
With the German invasion of Norway occurring 75 years ago, the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is highlighting the
memory of those who died seeking to protect and liberate the
Scandinavian country and its important sea routes.
The two Battles of Narvik that took place inside the Arctic
Circle in Northern Norway saw almost 150 Royal Navy servicemen lose
their lives during naval clashes in one of the region's fjords.
The bravery shown by Commonwealth forces in the April 1940
battles is reflected in the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain
Bernard Warburton-Lee, the first to be announced during the
Second World War.
Warburton-Lee died leading HMS Hardy into the Ofotfjord for the
first battle, an Allied attempt to overthrow German forces
targeting iron ore supplies which ultimately failed.
While the Allies briefly succeeded in liberating
Narvik following a second battle, they were forced to
evacuate the country shortly afterwards.
War graves can be found at cemeteries around the fjord including
Narvik New Cemetery, where a service will take place as part of a
programme of commemorative events from 27-28 May.
The event will be attended by CWGC United Kingdom and Northern
Area Director Deirdre Mills, representatives from the Norwegian and
other European governments, and the Narvik Town Council.
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.
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