SEVENTY five years of association between the Royal Norwegian Airforce and North Weald Airfield is celebrated on Monday 15 July with a visit from Major General Tonje Skinnarland Chief of the Royal Norwegian Airforce and senior Norwegian government officials.
Two Norwegian squadrons Nos. 331 and 332 moved to North Weald in 1942 as a result of the Norwegian Government’s exile to the UK
They became known as the North Weald Wing of the Norwegian Airforce and squadron 331 became the highest scoring fighter squadron in the South of England.
Continuation of the war through the fighter squadrons based at North Weald was very symbolic to the Norwegian nation – both at the time and in the subsequent post-war period. North Weald became their national symbol of resistance.
General Skinnarland is being accompanied by officers and staff of the Royal Norwegian Airforce and Colonel John Andreas Olsen – Defence Attache to the Norwegian Embassy in London as representative of the Norwegian Government.
Guest will assemble at the North Weald War Memorial which features a central obelisk donated by the people of Norway in 1952, to mark the special role played by the airfield during WWII. There will be a short ceremony at 12 noon which will include the laying of wreaths by the General and Cllr Richard Bassett as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.
Cllr Bassett said: “North Weald Airfield has a long and important history mainly for its involvement in two world wars. It has associations with our own Royal Air Force, the Norwegian Air Force and the American Eagle Squadrons – volunteers from the US who also flew under RAF control from North Weald.
“Cultural and personal ties forged during the war have endured. Norwegian veterans have returned periodically – sometimes with the support of the Royal Norwegian Airforce – and people from North Weald have visited Norway.
“Our council bought the airfield in the 1980s and we are proud to continue this association with our Norwegian friends.”
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