Norwegian Secret Agent

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Norwegian Secret Agent

Post  Oyvind on Mon 19 Jan 2009 - 22:49

Does anyone know about a person (Norwegian) related to clandestine work in Norway during WWII and who travelled between Norway and UK. His last name was Dons.

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Norwegian secret agent

Post  Bob Pearson on Mon 19 Jan 2009 - 23:52

Do you happen to know if Mr Dons an SOE man or an MI6 bod?

Bob

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Norwegian secret agent..correction

Post  Oyvind on Wed 21 Jan 2009 - 1:21

Bob,
I have no idea about his affilition other than he had a mtg. with two individuals from Stavanger closely related to what I believe was Leiv Lea's resistance group in Stavanger.
The mtg. took place on hotel Bristol in Bergen in sept. 1940 related to among others to an German individual living in Stavanger since before the war who apparantly was recruited as a very important informant for UK/Norway resistance.The German individual was Bruno Krauskopf who was a an artist (painter).
Oyvind


Last edited by Oyvind on Wed 21 Jan 2009 - 12:19; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : More info added and date correction)

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Norwegian secret agent

Post  Bob Pearson on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 11:15

Oyvind,

I have checked my own records and can find no trace of the name. I have also checked the National Archives, but again without any success. Of course, the name could be totally false, but cover names are also listed in the NA. However, most of the Norwegian records are SOE. There are very few MI6 records as these in the main, have not yet been fully released.

What I have come across in my own records is a phrase, which was passed on to me recently - 'Sons of Dons'. But I don't know what this means. There is no reference to Stavanger, but there could be some connection to Oslo and the banking fraternity.

Sorry I cannot be of much help, but at least you can rule out the NA as a possible source for info. I will of course keep tabbs on the name 'Dons' and will let you know if anything comes up.

Kind regards,

Bob

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Norwegian secret agent

Post  Oyvind on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 15:37

Thank You very much Bob,
I think "Sons of Dons" sounds interesting. His visit to Bergen may just be one of many and maybe the Oslo area is the main thing as you indicate. I believe much of the activities in the Stavanger area in early stages of war are in the SIS/MI6 sphere.
Much of the activities were simply intelligence gathering about German activities/plans in the Stavanger area.

The central person in this area early in the war was Leiv Lea. He was|arrested in May 1942, transported to Bergen by Gestapo.
He committed suicide and took lots of secrets with him that even today I believe is not known.
Leiv Lea build up a large organisation but during the fall of 1942 much of the organisation was ripped apart by the Gestapo, but some were able to flee to Sweden etc but many ended up in German concentrationcamps such as Natzwiler and Sachsenhausen.
Couriers in the early phases of the war vis a vis the Stavanger area was John Oevregaard, Kaare Knutsen and Sigmund Ove Foerre.

In this context I have one question.
As you know some agents were flown to Norway by 333 Sqn. Catalinas, but rumors in the Stavanger |area tells that there were a couple of fligths directly to this area in winter (full moon and clear sky) of 42 (but shadowed by heavy bombing of Sola airport) These fligths were not Catalinas nor is it believed to be the Norwegian He115 machines as the crews logbooks which survived the war doesn't show this.
At least one fligth went to Inverness.
Have you ever come across anything around this?
Interesting to note that MI6 files are still closed. Much intersting material will surface I think when time comes.
Oyvind

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Norwegian secret Agent

Post  Bob Pearson on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 18:24

Hi Oyvind,

I checked out the names you gave, but aside from a Knutsen, there were no other recorded files on the names you mentioned. Knutsen has an entirely different christian name to that of Kaare.

The aircraft used for ops into Norway were varied, but the two 'Moon Squadrons - 161 & 138 carried the bulk of the work, although other squadrons pitched in as and when. Their records in the NA are accessible, but rarely are agents mentioned, being more commonly known as 'Joes' I recommend the following websites to have a look at:

http://www.geocities.com/uksteve.geo/blunhistory2.html

http://www2.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm

You can visit Tempsford, but you would have to make arrangements as it is not always open. I have visited it and it is one of the most atmospheric places I have ever been to. You would not want to be there after dark.

Having spoken to an SOE pilot the norm was for the a/c to sit at Tempsford with engines running and ready for take-off - a car would arrive - the agent would leave the car and enter the a/c and take his/her place. There was no communication between crew and agent except for operational purposes. No names were passed on and no general chit-chat entered into. This was very different to the Lysander ops to France where the whole thing was more personal. However, the Norway ops might have been different with the Norwegian pilots/crews who may well have known their agents personally. What might be a help is if you knew the operational code name. For example - Skylark, Gunnerside etc., or the op name of the aircraft. For example - 'Table-jam 27'. This would narrow your search down to the squadron involved, venue, date and time, plus how many agents, if any, were carried and the load dropped. Knowing this much will enable some cross-referencing to take place. It's a bit long winded, but it works.

The main aircraft were Stirlings, Halifaxes, Mosquitos (to and from Sweden) and Lockheed Hudsons. Two Hudsons were run by Norwegian SOE having been 'acquired' by Sir Charles Hambro. As you probably know subs and MTBs were also used, as were sub-chasers towards the end of the war.

I am sorry I cannot add more, but your best way forward is finding an op name then the rest should follow.

kind regards,

Bob

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Norwegian Secret Agent - update of info

Post  Bob Pearson on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 18:57

Hi Oyvind,

These are the files on the two 'Moon Squadrons'

138 Squadron Records
AIR20/8334 1941-42, 1419Flight/138 Squadron
AIR20/8452 1942
AIR20/8476 1943
AIR20/8477 1943
AIR20/8478 1944
AIR20/8479 1944
AIR20/8480 1944
AIR20/8481 1944
AIR20/8482 1944
AIR20/8482 1944-45

161 Squadron Records
AIR20/8456 1942-43
AIR20/8498 1943
AIR20/8500 1943
AIR20/8293 1943-44
AIR20/8501 1944-45
AIR20/8499 1945

The only downside would be if your Mr Dons was carried by an as yet unknown squadron.

Cheers,

Bob

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Norwegian secret agent

Post  Oyvind on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 19:28

Thank You very much for useful references, Bob,

The secret mission I am referring to used a seaplane (pontoons undeneath like the He-115), not a flying boat like Catalina...wonder if there were special versions of Lysanders outfitted like that and with extended range?.
Dons would probaly have arrived with a fishingvessel or submarine however since it was as early as Sept. 1940.
SIS used fishingvessels from Peterhead while SOE used Shetland as a base, but I don't know exactly when the operations started either place.

It could be that Oevregaard, Foerde and Knutsen where couriers between e.g Oslo and Stavanger and later managed to get over to UK, I was somewhat unprecise.
kind regards Oyvind

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Norwegian Secret Agents

Post  Bob Pearson on Thu 22 Jan 2009 - 22:42

Hi Oyvind,

As far as i know there were no Lysanders fitted with floats, but there have been reports of the British using German aircraft for SOE missions with German pilots. It's easy to discount this, but there are confirmed reports of this happening and with 10,000 Germans serving British forces the chances of a German pilot would have been high. I do not know of any German aircraft being used for Norwegian missions, though.

It's worth pointing out that there is a High Court case in progress which is investigating whether SIS records can be released to the public. This is part of a bigger case involving a foreign agent who worked for British Intelligence. This could go on for years of course, but if the court order is made then more files will be released. We live in hope!

Kind regards,

Bob

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Re: Norwegian Secret Agent

Post  Lars B on Mon 2 Feb 2009 - 14:19

Hei Øyvind.

This article indicates that ex-Norwegian He 115 may have been used in clandestine operations on the Norwegian coast early in the war.
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Artikler/115.html
At least it does not rule out the possibility of having dropped off/picked up an agent at some remote spot on the Western coast. We know that many strange things happened in the first weeks of the occupation, that could hardly have happened later.

Lars B

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Re: Norwegian Secret Agent

Post  AltforNorge on Tue 3 Feb 2009 - 0:26

I suddenly remembered that the first Norwegian military flying was with Leutenant Dons (Navy). Around WWI. One of his sons?

Den 7. Juni 1912 er en stor dag for alle flyentusiaster i Norge. Dette var nemlig første gangen en norsk pilot fløy med eget fly i norsk luftrom. Med halve Østlandet som tilskuere fører løytnant Hans Fleiscer Dons flyet Start fra Horten til Fredrikstad.

-Hele poenget med denne flyvningen var å slå svenskene forteller konservator Karl Kleve ved Norsk Luftfartssenter. Etter planen skulle nemlig en svensk pilot holde flyshow måneden etter, og det ville Løytnant Dons og hans kamerater for enhver pris unngå.

June 7th 1912 is a great day for all aviation entusiasts in Norway. That was the first time a Norwegian pilot flew with his own airplane in Norwegian airspace. With half of "Østlandet" as spectators, leutenant Hans Fleiscer Donst with the plan "start" flew from Horten to Fredrikstad.

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