Loretto School cadets to make history by following in the footsteps of World War 2 Telemark heroes in the mountains of Southern Norway.
Loretto cadets undertook this challenging battlefield tour journey to Norway this school half-term break. The expedition was based around the famous sabotage operation that took place in German occupied Norway during World War 2, where members of the Norwegian resistance skied across the Norwegian mountains to destroy the Heavy Water plant at Vermork in Rjukan. Loretto cadets followed the route taken by the saboteurs and stayed in the very huts and beds the saboteurs slept in during the winter of 1942/3. This was the first time a cadet team has undertaken this expedition journey. Preparations for the expedition took place during CCF training on recently.
Our thanks go to the Ulysses Trust and the CCF(RN) Cadets HQ for supporting the team with grants and to 51Bde for their advice and assistance with the organisation and finally to the Polar Academy (Scotland) with Bergans (Norway) for their support for clothing.
Loretto School’s David Howie (Lt Cdr) is Expedition Leader and Ged Woolley (2Lt) Deputy Expedition Leader.
Loretto pupils taking part were Chris Edwardson, Cal Molloy, Angus Keenan, Charlie Leveson-Gower, Rory Napier, Edgar Crassier, James Ward and Tom White.
The raid, which is regarded as one of the most successful acts of sabotage in World War II, was also remarkable for the fact all the team managed to escape by cross country skiing 250 miles into Sweden.
The heavy water, or deuterium oxide, which the Norsk plant produced was essential to the German scientists working on an atomic bomb project and the allies were desperate to destroy it.
But it was no soft target. Perched on an icy ravine, surrounded by machine gun-toting guards and floodlights the plant was virtually impregnable.