Sinking of Norsk Hydro: Names of Norwegian resistance team needed

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by TTH, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    As the climax of SOE's assault on the German heavy water program in Norway, a four-man Norwegian team led by Knut Haukelid was assigned to sink the ferry Norsk Hydro as it carried heavy water across Lake Tinnsjo. Haukelid and his men fulfilled their mission on 20 February 1944, but unfortunately a number of Norwegian civillians were killed when the ferry sank.

    I have a research question about this aspect of the mission. I know a man who was in the Norwegian resistance (Milorg) during the war; he is now 95 and has spoken little about his experiences, though his daughter knows he was in Falstad prison in Trondheim for over a year. She has heard somewhere (can't recall where) that several young men of the resistance boarded the Hydro and were assigned to try and save as many passengers as possible by surrepititiously moving them to a safer part of the vessel just before the explosives went off. My friend believes that her father may have been one of these men. I have read Haukelid's book and he does not say anything about this; he and the other three men in his team were not on the vessel when it sank, having already debarked safely and set the explosives to go off with a delay. None of the other references I have found to this operation give any further information, though they do name the three men who worked with Haukelid to set the charges.

    So, can anyone confirm whether this story I got is true or not? It sounds improbable to me, but if it is true, is there any record of who the Milorg men left on the Hydro were?

  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Trying to move civilians to a safer part of the ferry is certainly part of the film 'Heroes of Telemark'. Is this where the information originated?....if it is that does not, of course, mean its true! Maybe there are clues in the film itself and/or the credits at the end etc?

    If you look up Heroes of Telemark in Wikipedia, you will find there was also a much earlier film which starred many of the Norwegian commandos involved in the actual incident!
  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day of norsk hydrow,names of norwegien resistance team needed.i don't know the names you are seeking,i did see the was an all round disaster for the passengers,but it was necessary to get the heavy water out of german hands.wich they did,to those who gave there lives.may they rest in peace,(it stoped the germans getting the atom bomb)the resistance team were hero's all.regards bernard85
  4. Hesmond

    Hesmond Well-Known Member

    Some time ago a documentry on Sky documented the recovery of one of the canisters from the wreck ,the canister was kn superb condition complete with stenciling onthe barrel, i belive the wreck was also invesigated?
  5. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I was intrigued by this and passed it over to a very good Norwegian historian I know.

    Anyway she's managed to come up trumps:

    I suggest you know a bit of Norwegian, she also said Google Translate is actually rather good if you input the details
    A list of those who died and also account of how some were saved from a newspaper
    "according to the paper, the Hovind farmers had a lot to do with the savings AFTER the boat went down."

    "Lier-Hansen: "I started to get anxious. The charge was added so that the ferry would sink at the deepest place, but at the same time be near the settlements so that people could be saved. If the ferry was significantly delayed, I thought I would have to go on board and try to strip the charge. "
    She doesn't believe any Resistance were onboard, but can't rule it out this link - Chapter 7 of "Rjukanbanen - på sporet av et industrieventyr", Maana Forlag, 1995 - contains a detailed number of survivor accounts.

    I hope that is of some use!
  6. Vooon

    Vooon Member

    Without sounding too cocky, I am 99,99% sure that this story is not true, noe one but the SOE men knew about the plans. As stated by SPD the story is likely to originate from the Heroes of Telemark, which is very far from accurate regarding the actual historical details. The "heavy water" story is one of the best documentet of all the SEO operations in Norway, a new very well researched book was published by an historian in October 2013 for instance.

    If you want to get an official look into it I would recommend contacting Norway's Resistance Museum ( which is the leading authority on the subject. Howvever, they might have some information on the person you mention if he was a Milorg man. If he was based in Trøndelag, where Falstad was, the chances are slim however since the area's resistance groups were torn to shreds by a collaborator (Henry Rinnan) and his gang during the whole stretch of the war. Hence, there was little documentation produced and left after the war.
  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thanks very much. The story I have gotten from the family did not originate with a movie. The man I am researching was indeed in Milorg--he has a Norwegian Army pension and was imprisoned by the Germans. I did look at a couple of books about the Norwegian resistance and they of course covered the operation extensively, but they did not name everyone in the network that carried it out. I will pass the museum address to the man's daughter, that should help a lot.

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