Photo: Forsvarets forum/Erling Eikli.Photo: Forsvarets forum/Erling Eikli

Norwegian and British Veterans Gathered in London

The Norwegian Ambassador hosted a Remembrance Day lunch 11th of November for Norwegian and British veterans in his Residence at 10 Palace Green in London. Veterans from the Second World War and from succeeding armed conflicts, including Afghanistan participated.

The veteran lunch was held on the occasion of Remembrance Day, commemorating both Norwegian and British veterans. The Ambassador welcomed the Norwegian guest of honor, Mr Ragnar Ulstein, and the UK guest of honor, Colonel Edward Toms to the lunch. Both men are highly decorated World War II veterans. During the Second World War Mr Ulstein served as a Lieutenant in the legendary Norwegian Independent Company No. 1 in Norway also known as “Kompani Linge”. The Company consisted of young Norwegian volunteers such as Mr Ulstein, who were trained in Britain by the Special Operations Executive to carry out sabotage operations in occupied Norway.

Present at the lunch were also younger veterans who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also veterans who had worked for peace and freedom under various United Nations operations. Three representatives from the Royal Hospital Chelsea were also present.

Both Lord Astor of Hever DL, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the UK Ministry of Defence, and the Norwegian Secretary of State (Ministry of Defence), Mr Øystein Bø, addressed the audience. They both underlined the importance of the close bilateral ties in the area of defence, which recently have been further augmented.

The Norwegian Veteran Inspector for the Armed Forces, Major General Kristin Lund, underlined the importance of following up the veterans, and also the importance of retelling the experiences and stories from the Second World War.

The Ambassador’s Residence at 10 Palace Green was a highly appropriate setting for the Veterans lunch, providing as it does a historic link to the war-time partnership between Norway and the UK. It was at 10 Palace Green that King Haakon VII that presided over the meetings of the Norwegian government-in-exile during World War II.

Ambassador Kim Traavik's speech at the Veterans Lunch is available here.

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