Updated 17 January 2021 with this contribution from David Wold
Like to share with you the recognition from elected officials that Kaare
Nevdal received on his 100th Birthday. I think is a nice tradition and hopefully a tradition that would be carried on by future elected officials.
Honor and service , this case by Allied Forces, should be recognized now and
forever. “we where all in it together”.
P.S. Kaare shared with me last week that he did fly in total 67 flights as
escort of the Convoys or delicate flights from Scotland to Sweden during the
war in 12 different types of planes.
Photos courtesy David Wold
Story by Jon McGinty
Layout by Scott Schwalbach
Kaare (pronounced CORY) Nevdal, Rockford, Ill., was just 19 when the Germans invaded his homeland of Norway on April 9, Life in his small, west coast village near Bergen soon became intolerable under the occupation.
By the following spring, he decided to escape to England. I couldn t stand not to be free, recalls Nevdal. We had to carry identity papers everywhere, and someone was always watching us. If I stayed much longer in Norway, I knew I would end up in jail.
After one escape attempt was thwarted by a North Sea storm, Nevdal succeeded in reaching the Shetland Islands by fishing boat on March 15, He went to London to enlist in the Royal Norwegian Air Force, and the Norwegian government-in-exile sent him to Toronto, Canada, for training.
While in Canada, Nevdal visited his aunt in Rockford, who sent a picture of the two of them to Nevdal s family in Norway, claiming it was her and her son, in order to fool German censors. This was the first indication his family had that Nevdal was still alive. He also met his future wife, Muriel, in Toronto.
After completing his training as a radio operator/gunner in 1942, Nevdal was sent to Iceland where he joined the 330th squadron of Coastal Command. He flew on long, tedious anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic, first in N3PB Nomads, then in PBY Catalina float planes.
In March of 1943, Nevdal was transferred to Scotland in the Shetland Islands. From there he flew patrols along the Norwegian coastline in huge, four-engine Sunderland flying boats. The Germans called them flying porcupines because they had so many guns (18) on board.
One purpose of these flights was to keep German submarines from surfacing, thus slowing them down and making it difficult for them to attack Allied shipping on their way to Russia. But in May of 1944, Nevdal s plane caught one on the surface. We dropped depth charges on the sub from about 50 feet above the water, recalls Nevdal, but it took two attacks. All the time they were shooting at us and we were shooting at them. The nose gunner was killed during the battle. The attack was successful, and on May 16, 1944, the U- 240, a type VIIc German submarine, sank to the bottom with all 50 crewmen.
Later that year Nevdal was again re-assigned, this time to a special unit which flew civilian aircraft in and out of neutral Sweden. His unit carried VIPs, spies, and important documents between Stockholm and St. Andrews, Scotland. We had BOAC uniforms and British passports, says Nevdal. Sometimes we even transported escapees from Norway.
Since Sweden was neutral but blockaded by belligerents, some consumer goods were available in Stockholm that were unattainable in war-rationed Scotland. Nevdal s cousin s wife asked him to bring her a girdle on one of his flights. Kaare Nevdal was in Norway when the Germans invaded his homeland in (Jon McGinty photo) I had to smuggle it out by wearing it under my uniform, says Nevdal. It was very uncomfortable. I gained lots of sympathy for ladies who wore them.
Nevdal recalled a Norwegian poem he copied when he reached England the first time. Its meaning could speak to the motivation for many veterans of World War II.
Kjemp for alt som du har kjart Do om see det jelder Da er livet ie saa svart Doden ikke heller
Fight for all that you hold dear Die if it s that important Then life will not be so hard Neither will be death
Nevdal s Aunt in Rockford, Ill., sent this photo of the two of them to Nevdal s family in Norway to let them know he was still alive. Northwest Quarterly Spring
Great story, Pierre.
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