Norway forever grateful to British WWII code breaker / News / The Foreigner

Norway forever grateful to British WWII code breaker. The Norwegian government honours a veteran who played an important part in “Secret War”. 94-year-old David Oswald is credited for safeguarding the Scandinavian country during the Second World War for his vital role in cracking Nazi codes. He received a medal of honour from the Norwegian government this week at Scotland’s Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre – formerly known as RAF Montrose.

wwii, resistance, allies, norway, raf, nazis, paywall



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



News Article

LATEST:

}

Norway forever grateful to British WWII code breaker

Published on Saturday, 30th January, 2016 at 18:43 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 1st February 2016 at 07:42.

The Norwegian government honours a veteran who played an important part in “Secret War”.

David Oswald at the ceremony
David with Provost of Angus, Mrs Helen Oswald who presented David with a Quiach from Angus Council and Royal Norwegian Consul, Mrs Jill Whittick.David Oswald at the ceremony
Photo: By kind permission of Neil Werninck


94-year-old David Oswald is credited for safeguarding the Scandinavian country during the Second World War for his vital role in cracking Nazi codes.

He received a medal of honour from the Norwegian government this week at Scotland’s Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre – formerly known as RAF Montrose.

The ceremony, at which his family was present, took place in the very room he trained as a communications officer.

Aerial view of Montrose (1917)
Aerial view of Montrose (1917)
Air Stn. Heritage Cent./Public Domain
Mr Oswald had been based in an area’s listening station at Kinnaber in Scotland, which played a great part in the secret war.

He would receive messages from the Norwegian Resistance movement’s ‘Vera’ and monitored radio transmissions and codes written in German.

“At Kinnaber they were listening purely for enemy signals and I was the only one with experience of transmitters which I had got in this very room,” he told publication the Montrose Review.

Broadcaster STV reported Mr Oswald as saying that “The net controller had a code name of ‘Vera’. I didn’t join the net unless I had a message for them or unless they had a message for me. It was all in Morse Code of course.”

The veteran, who still lives in Montrose to this day, was in France in June 1940 when it was invaded by Nazi Germany. He was lucky to escape without capture.

Mr Oswald fled back to Britain on a Polish boat and posted to RAF Montrose. It was here that he would join the wireless communications section and learn to intercept German radio communications which were sent to Bletchley Park. These helped the Norwegian Resistance movement.

“We were monitoring German aircraft factories so that we could count the number of aircraft that were being made,” he said of his role.

Monitoring the aircraft meant that they were able to direct command in the best location to drop bombs to destroy the planes.

The sinking of the RMS Lancastria
The sinking of the RMS Lancastria
Imperial War Museums/Public Domain
David Oswald’s fate could have changed drastically had it not been due to one factor, however, as he had not planned on heading towards RAF Montrose.

The soldier had just missed boarding the RMS Lancastria, a British Cunard Liner commandeered by the UK Government tasked with bringing British servicemen and nationals home from invaded France.

But the ship, which was participating in the action called Operation Ariel, was already full, and no more people were able to board.

“In the afternoon some German aircraft came over and bombed the Lancastria and it sank in 20 minutes. I was very fortunate to not be on there,” explained Mr Oswald.

On 17th June of 1940, the RMS Lancastria was hit three times from a German Junkers 88 bomber. It sank in waters off the French port of St. Nazaire in under 20 minutes.

Some 4,000 men, women and children died on the ship. Less than 2,500 survived the attack.

In 2015, the Norwegian government decided to award commemoration medals to members of the Norwegian military, such as the Merchant Navy and civilians for their contributions during the Second World War.

Royal Norwegian Embassy in London
Royal Norwegian Embassy in London
Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr
David Oswald received a letter on 7th December 2015 from the Norwegian Embassy in London, informing him of the honour that he would receive.

Royal Norwegian Consul Jill Whittick bestowed the decoration on the veteran for his “service in helping to restore Norway’s liberty during the Second World War”.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed because to me, I wouldn’t say I didn’t merit it, but to me it seemed that there was plenty of other people that did a fair amount more than I did,” said the David Oswald in response to being awarded the Norwegian medal.

The Provost of Angus, Helen Oswald, also awarded him with a Quaich – a shallow, two-handled Scottish drinking cup that has a proud history in Scotland and originally used as a welcome and to bid farewell to esteemed guests.

“We are not related but I think it is fitting that an Oswald should present David Oswald on this momentous occasion with a Quaich from the people of Angus to celebrate and commemorate the work that he did during the War,” she said.

David Oswald is no longer held under the Official Secrets Act and is able to share his stories. He is contemplating writing a book about his life.

In a statement to The Foreigner, Norway’s Ministry of Defence writes that “The Norwegian Resistance Movement could not have achieved much without the strong support from our Allies.”

“It was the brave and determined effort from every Allied soldier that won the war and eventually secured our freedom. Norway will forever be grateful for what Mr. David Oswald did for us,” officials conclude.



Published on Saturday, 30th January, 2016 at 18:43 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 1st February 2016 at 07:42.

This post has the following tags: wwii, resistance, allies, norway, raf, nazis, paywall.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!