On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Norway. Commonwealth forces landed in an attempt to hold back the advance. After a campaign that lasted two months, German forces occupied the whole of the country.

Background

Norway was considered strategically important for both sides. Germany depended on Swedish iron ore, which was shipped primarily from the northern port of Narvik. Control of the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian ports could help prevent an Allied blockade of Germany and the deep fjords could help protect German warships which could then raid Allied shipping in the Atlantic.

The Campaign

Germany's invasion of Norway was termed Operation Weserübung. At dawn on 9 April 1940, German air, sea and land forces began an invasion of Norway with landings at Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik. Norwegian troops resisted, allowing the Norwegian government and royal family to escape.

Commonwealth troops landed and Allied counter-attacks slowed the advance of the German invaders in the Narvik fjords, with the Royal Navy inflicting heavy losses German warships. However, German forces quickly overran Norwegian defences and by 16 May much of southern Norway was under their control.

The fighting at Narvik continued until 4 June, when German reinforcements forced the Allies to evacuate. On 9 June, the Norwegian Army concluded an armistice with Germany.

German forces retained control of Norway throughout the remainder of the war until the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany, and the surrender of her forces in May 1945.

Related Cemeteries & Memorials

Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial stands in Brookwood Military Cemetery in the United Kingdom. It bears the names of more than 3,400 Second World War Commonwealth servicemen who have no known grave. Sixty-three died between April and June 1940, many of whom are believed to have died in the Norway Campaign.

Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Norway, contains the graves and memorials of more than 150 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War, of whom over 25 remain unidentified. More than 40 of those commemorated here died in 1940.

Kvam Churchyard, Norway, contains the graves and memorials of more than 50 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War, all of whom died in April 1940.