Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationNORWAY
Operation Conan, the Royal Navy's contribution to the Liberation of Norway in May 1945

The war in Europe was over but Norway had not been liberated and it might require armed force to effect the liberation.There were nearly 400,000 troops in Norway and the port cities, population centres and landing beaches were heavily defended by a network of coastal artillery batteries, anti-aircraft guns, coastal mine fields, and mobile artillery and infantry units. The Allies had been developing plans for the occupation of Norway, code named Operation Apostle, since 1943 with General Andrew Thorne of Scottish Command in charge. General Thorne had insufficient troops and the 1st Airborne Division commanded by Major General Roy Urquhart would execute Operation Doomsday, the initial occupation, and work with Milorg, the Norwegian Resistance, until the arrival of General Thorne and his forces.

The German naval commander would not surrender to the Norwegians and Royal Navy warships were sent to Oslo, the capital, and four “ports of entry” to accept the surrender of German naval forces. The designated ports on the west coast of Norway were, from south to north: Kristiansand South, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim.  Operation Conan was directed by Capt J. H. Ruck-Keene RN, Captain (D) of the Rosyth Escort Force.  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 eight V & W 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 four harbours on Norway's west coast on 15 May.


The veterans, their families and the Norwegian people record their memories of the liberation on these pages - and celebrate it annualy on the 17th May, Norway's National Day:


HMS Valorous  and HMS Venomous:

HMS Valorous (L00) at Kristiansand
HMS Valorous, pennant number L00 ("Lucky Loo"), moored in the harbour with White Ensign and Norwegian flag at the mast-head
A Norwegian trawler crowded with visitors is coming alongside
Courtesy of Alan Dennis


HMS Wolsey and HMS Wolfhound:

Booklet for celebration of Norway's Nsational Day, 17 May 1945, at Stavanger Leaflet Leaflet, Stavanger 17 May 1945.
Documents brought back from Stavanger by AB Fred Gilleard, HMS Wolfhound, and treasured all his life
On left and right the front and back cover of the programme for the celebrations on the 17 May 1945, Norway's National Day.
Centre a momento of the arrival of Wolsey and Wolfhound at Stavanger on the 15 May 1945


HMS Woolston, HMS Vivacious:

Bergen 1945
Frank Witton and his fellow stokers pose with Russian POWs on the bow of HMS Woolston with the steep hillside of Bergen in the background
Frank Witton is standing second from right and crouched with the flag are Jack Boore, Bill MacKenzie (Chief PO Stoker), Jo Peacock and Charlie Woodcock (with cigarette)
Also in the photograph are Austin (fifth from left) and Norman Dunlop (with vertical white stripe)
The four Russian POWs are first, second, fourth left and far right in this celebratory photograph
Courtesy of Frank Witton


HMS Mackay and HMS Viceroy:

John Manners being awarded the Norwegian Medal of HonourJohn Manners receiving the Medal of Honour
John Manners being filmed for IWV NewJohn Manners being interviewed for ITV News on 22 November 2019
Lt Cdr John E Manners RN being presented with the Norwegian Medal of Honour by Colonel Dr Prof John Andreas Olsen, the Defence Attaché at the Norwegian Embassy
And being interviewed by ITV for the 10 pm national news on Friday 22 November 2019 - click on the link to see the broadcast news interview
John Errol Manners died on Saturday 7 March 2020
Courtesy of Errol Manners

Norway celebrates its liberation on its National Day, 17 May 1945, with parades and parties
And "children" who saw the Royal Navy destroyers entering the harbours on the west coast of Norway recall their memories of that wonderful day and tell their grand children

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