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40 Commando pays tribute to Norwegian heroes

10 April 2018
Royal Marine Commandos have relived an extraordinary story of survival and escape which took place in Norway 75 years ago.

Beginning in Rebbenesøya, a remote island in Northern Norway, and traversing the mountainous region of the Lyngen Alps, the team have covered 80 miles, following in the footsteps of a brave Special Operations Executive (SOE).

21 Royal Marines of Recce Troop, 40 Commando, embarked on Exercise Commando Fotspor, meaning footprint in Norwegian, to pay homage to the courageous efforts of their predecessors within the arduous conditions of the Arctic Circle.

Operation Martin was launched on March 29 1943 by 12 Norwegian SOEs, in an attempt to infiltrate and undermine the Nazi occupation of Northern Norway.

As a Royal Marines Commando, I relish the opportunity to train and fight in the most challenging environments.

Colour Sergeant Simon Jones

They intended to set up a resistance network and render the Bardufoss airbase out of action, however, they were betrayed just short of H-Hour.

The mission altered from one of sabotage to survival; 11 men were killed, leaving one man, Jan Baalsrud, fighting to reach the neutral Swedish border in harsh, cold weather conditions.

Colour Sergeant Simon Jones, second-in-command of Recce Troop said: “As a Royal Marines Commando, I relish the opportunity to train and fight in the most challenging environments.”

The exercise also offered them the opportunity to train alongside the Norwegian Coastal Ranger Commandos and visit monuments to the team of World War 2 SOEs throughout their journey, including the grave of Jan Baalsrud.

The team have also used this exercise to conduct cold weather warfare training in the most demanding of conditions.

They will be maintaining their expertise in the intricacies of surviving in cold weather, including hygiene, movement and even avalanche survival in temperatures as low as -15°C.

The 40 Commando Recce Troop has been heavily involved with cold weather warfare training during recent months.

They have been deployed to Estonia over this time to provide training to the Army as a part of Operation Cabrit and NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

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