The Liberation of Norway:
HMS Wolfhound at Stavanger
Operation Conan was the Royal Navy's contribution to Operation Apostle, the liberation of Norway after the formal surrender of German forces at Oslo on the 9 May:
"On the 13 May, the Royal Navy
initiated Operation Conan,
sending two destroyers to each of the intended ports of entry, Oslo,
Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromso and numbers of
MTBs from Lerwick to smaller towns along the coast. The destroyers
carried with them the naval officers in command (NOIC) of the various
ports, naval disarmament parties and small elements of air and military
staffs from Britain". British
Policy and Strategy towards Norway; Christopher Mann (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2012), page 209.
entry ports and their NOIC were: Oslo (Capt C.R.V. Pugh RN), Stavanger (Capt R.St.V.
Sherbrooke RN), Kristiansand (Capt Lord Teynham RN), Bergen (Capt B D
Nicholson RNVR) and Trondheim (Capt J H Ruck-Keene RN). On the 12 May the Flag Officer Norway, Rear Admiral J.S.McL. Ritchie RN,
left for Oslo with the cruiser HMS Devonshire,
the minelaying cruisers Apollo
(with Crown Prince Olav on board) and Ariadne,
and four destroyers (Iroquis, Savage,
Scourge and Arundel).
On the 13 May eight destroyers in the Rosyth Escort Force were sent to Kristiansand South (HMS Valorous and HMS Venomous with three Norwegian minesweepers), Stavanger (HMS Wolsey and HMS Wolfhound), Bergen (HMS Woolston, HMS Vivacious and the corvette, HMS Acanthus) and Trondheim (HMS Mackay and HMS Viceroy). Local surrender ceremonies were held aboard these destroyers of the Rosyth Escort Force in the harbours on Norway's west coast.
HMS Wolfhound and HMS Wolsey berthed
at Stavanger on the 15 May 1945 and were greeted by crowds of
enthusiastic Norwegians. The photographs may have been taken by
journalists on local papers but were found amongst the papers of Fred
Gillheard after his death on New Year's Day 2016 and sent to me by his step-daughter, Sue Parsons. Fred Gillheard was an AB on HMS Wolfhound from October 1944 to June 1945.
Peter Scott, a telegraphist on Wolfhound, describes the three months they spent at Stavanger from May to July in an interview recorded by Bill Forster at Easbourne in 2014. Wolfhound
stopped at Bergen before continuing to Stavanger. He felt sorry for the
German soldiers who had married Norwegians, decided to remain in Norway
and were regarded as traitors. He also described how liberated Russian
POWs sang in a choir before being returned to an uncertain future in
Russia and how young Norwegians returning to Norway from neutral Sweden
behaved as if they had liberated their country.
"HMS Wolsey, Stavanger, 15 May 1945" written on reverse
Courtesy of Susan Parsons
Two views of V & W Class destroyer, probably HMS Wolfhound, berthing at Stavanger
Courtesy of Susan Parsons
HMS Wolfhound, pennant number L56, berthed at Stavanger
Courtesy of Susan Parson