By the VOS EDITOR at large
December of last year and earlier this month of February, 2010 were somber months for losing legendary Special Forces warriors.
While the month brought of news of the 8 CIA contractor operators and active SF troopers and Rangers who perished in battle, time finally caught up with three heralded men whom we at VOS feel exemplified all there ever be in the Unconventional and commando warriors. As their missions truly saved the world from a great tyranny these three once gaved all there was, to have you learn about them now. Thus they are legends to us all.
One of them, sported a pre and post war life as an actor which over shadowed his really significant world changing commando combat exploits.The other two most certainly took part in the most significant commando operation against Nazi occupied Europe and quite frankly, despite modern revisionist insights into Nazi records, were the last two men of the team which prevented the Nazis from easily engineering an Atomic weapon.... Yes that's right an A-Bomb, just like ours.
In fact the the 2 men were the real 'Heroes of Telemark' would sometimes down play their real life roles which Hollywood long ago made a great action film out of But unlike like the actor, they were from a society torn by tradition and progress and as soon as the post war world 'progressed' enough into the future, time ensured public fanfare on these men slowly eroded from them.
The actor's name was Richard Todd, a true Irish- British gentleman and member of the British 7 Para regiment Airborne during WW II. His war and combat commenced just after midnight 400 feet above a Normandy farm, D- Day, June 6th 1944.
The last two heroes of Telemark were Norwegians Knut Haugland and Jens Anton Poulsson of the Norwegian Independent Company 1 (NOR.I.C.1 - pronounced as Norisen in Norwegian). A British Special Operations Executive (SOE) group formed in March 1941 for the purpose of performing commando raids in occupied Norway. The group organized under leadership of Royal Norwegian Army Captain ( and ironically prior pre -war Norwegian film actor) Martin Linge The title did not have much resonance in Norwegian and they soon became better known as Kompani Linge (Linge's Company). Linge's death early in the war came to enhance the title, which became formalized as Lingekompaniet.
As noted above our January issue memorialized the loss of our 8 great CIA officers killed in Afghanistan. In putting the December and January issues of VOS together we knew of Mr. Todds and Mr. Hauglands passing -- (Ironically Haugland's Own wartime exploits where his team was under constant threat to the Gestapo hunters is similar to the present day life of the operators in Afghanistan behind the lines who perished-no safe haven) -- which actually was a better thing. As with the now additional unfortunate loss of Haugland colleague, Jens- Poulsson makes this remembrance much more poignant as their lives on but only one of their mission teammates Joachim Ronneberg.
To some of you high speed, low drag fellow operators reading this the terms 'Englishman' or 'British Gentleman.' it has a slight dandy's image about it. The sort of the image Hugh Grant shows on screen today as a uncommitted waffling dilettantes...or Sir Roger Moore showed you as a not so tough 007? (Nothing tough guy in the term like you see watching Daniel Craig and Sean Connery portraying Bond has.) Nothing rugged in its phrase like the American 'outdoorsman' or cowboy ; let alone SAS or SBS operator you may have known. It is a term supporting everything seemingly weak in the modern Britons empire has caused it to fade and shrink into a quick sand of socialist morass, shaking all the empires traditions with anything particularly macho about it. Yes... we here know how 'uncool' and even alien a term like 'British Gentleman' sounds to many Americans reading this now.... and yet, the term did and does have true natural toughness and nobility -- a stiff upper lip, respectfulness based on experience and trust that the man described by such a term would -- if so politely -- never falter in the face of danger and be always dutiful, reliant and have a optimistic faith. When one thinks of a man like that, having that term wrapped upon him, it was never embodied or personified by anyone better than the recently late great Richard Todd.
Just when one thinks we should give up on the UK ... for a myriad of travesties which her progressive politicians have crucified her with socialism... Or the isloated socialism of a place Norway ....a true British gent like Richard Todd and heroes like Haugland and Poulsson pass on and the power and true travesty of their remembrance makes an unexpected yet large loss of three noble knights impact to those looking . Even though Todd was never in his life time knighted.
In a way these three were as obscure to anyone in our modern world as a muzzle loading Brown Bess is to the SOPMOD M-4. Yet because of the interconnectivity of the internet the power of his past becomes a very present example of all we who attempt to preserve and remember here, is all about. The internet in a instant renews this editor's faith in that there are a rare few left in England, who ' get' why we are often referred to as "our cousins". Remembrances of Mr. Todd show he was both as tough as they come and as quiet and reserved and dignified about his place in there world and what he meant to them as both a warrior and as a professional actor in the same ways warrior actors in the U.S like Jimmy Stewart who were gentlemanly and tough and -- get this one --"conservative," -- like Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin Glen Ford and Audie Murphy were to generations of Americans. (Todd will be remembered by many of the older Americans reading this too.)
For Richard Todd, like Knut Haugland and Jens Poulsson Norways legendary Kompani Linge commando saboteurs, many of their countrymen worked against impeachable odds in modern uncaring nearly apologetic progressive British and Norwegian Society for their service to their nation and her veterans and her people. Poulsson and Haugland went onto become living legends from their society for their wartime service.
Todd's tale, was also given interesting celebration - as a warrior officer who happen to reprise his role in the Normandy D-Day landings, via post war acting jobs in ' D-Day The Sixth of June' and 'The Longest Day'. (Ironically Poulsson Haugland and company portrayed themselves in the classic Norwegian film 'Kampen om tungtvannet'(1948) or released internationally as Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water.-- which the Kompanui Linge men liked --The largely fictional Hollywood account of the sabotage, The Heroes of Telemark (1965), staring Kurt Douglas and Richard Harris as character amalgamations of Poulsson and Haugland and others. Though action packed to audiences it was accpted as nonsense by Poulsson himself. Though eventually a BBC television documentary series, 'The Real Heroes of Telemark '(2003), sticks more to the facts than the Hollywood film it is named after. It also describes the survival aspects of the attack - how to survive for months in a mountain cabin....and the USA Public broadcasting program ' NOVA: Hitlers Sunken Secret ( 2003) also shows the real sabotage action against the Vemork plant.
Haugland, who also was the last survivor of the six-man Kon-Tiki crew, had met Kon-Tiki leader Thor Heyerdahl in 1944 at a special forces training camp in England when he was a training as a radio operator. In typically nonchalant fashion, Heyerdahl had written to Haugland, whom he thought was bound to be "fed up hanging around at home by now, and would be glad to go for a little trip on a wooden raft", to invite him on board. That post war legend became the Kon-Tiki adventure which inspired generations. Heyerdhal would later after the war later select Haugland to join the expedition on the basis of the heroics Haugland acquired when he joined the Kompanui Linge . Haugland was selected by SOE to train with three others for 'Operation Grouse,' the recon element to set up the raid on a hydroelectric power station near his hometown where the Allies suspected that heavy water, a key component in the atomic weapons process, was being produced in order to build a Nazi atom bomb.
At the time, Europe's major supply of ammonia came from the Norwegian Vemork hydroelectric plant, run by Norsk Hydro, near Rjukan in the Telemark region. The technology is very simple and straightforward. Heavy water (D2O) is separated from regular water by electrolysis because the difference in mass between the two hydrogen isotopes translates into a slight difference in the speed at which the reaction proceeds. To produce pure heavy water by electrolysis requires a large cascade of electrolysis chambers, and consumes large amounts of power. Since the production of hydrogen relied on electrolysis at Vemork, heavy water was a routine by product. After the Nazis took control of the Norsk Hydro plant in 1940, they expanded the number of electrolytic cells from nine to 18, doubling the plant's production of heavy water.
Destruction of the plant was mounted by the Combined Operations command particularly the Special Operations Executive or SOE in November 1942. The plan consisted of two operations: the first would drop a number of Norwegian locals into the area as an advance force, and once in place a party of British engineers would be landed by military glider to attack the plant itself.
Haugland and Lieutenant Jens Anton Poulsson - Grouses team leader -- parachuted with their two others team mates ( the late Arne Kjelstrup and Claus Helberg ) all SOE trained Norwegian Commandos, onto the Hardangervidda plateau in the Telemark region of Norway on October 18, 1942in advance of a planned rendezvous with British commando engineers ('Operation Freshman'). From their drop point in the wilderness they had to ski a long distance to the plant, so considerable time was given to complete this part of the mission, known as Operation Grouse. This plan, unlike those which did not succeed before, included the team studying and memorising blueprints. However the rendezvous never materialized: For the Britons' gliders tragically crashed and the survivors were tortured and executed by the Gestapo.
As a result the Germans were alerted to Allied interest in heavy water production, but Haugland and Poulsson and company ordered to wait on Hardangervidda, where they built a remote camouflaged cabin and commenced on what has been know as the test book on arctic winter combat SERE the world over - as the evade German patrols and survived the cold months subsisting on moss and lichen. Poulsson, knowing they were facing a depressing Christmas. set out on Christmas eve on skis to go hunting. After a frozen physically challenging chase, just in time for Christmas, he barely shoots a wandering reindeer which sustained them for the months into the new year.
Through sub-zero temperatures Haugland kept in contact with the British using a radio to which he improvised spares using a stolen fishing rod and an old car battery. Every night at 1am he would make contact, often unable to control the chattering of his teeth, using the password "three pink elephants".
It would be February 1943, before the Grouse Team joined 'Operation Gunnerside' (named after a grouse moor owned by Sir Charles Hambro, head of SOE) was mounted. Six Norwegian commandos were dropped by parachute, and after a few days' search, met up with Poulsson, Haugland and company for a new assault on the hydroelectric plant. The combined Grouse and Gunnerside team was renamed ' Operation Swallow'.
The heavily defended Vemork plant was now surrounded by mines and floodlights and accessible only across a single-span bridge over a deep ravine. The Norwegians climbed down the ravine, waded an icy river and climbed a steep hill where they followed a narrow-gauge railway.
"During the operation, I stood guard in the factory fence, 10 meters away.... I remember I was very calm the whole evening. If I had fired one shot we would had blown it, we were in the factory. Then had to get away, "
~ Col. Jens-Anton Poulsson on his leading the Vemork Heavy water raiders February 27 and 28th 1943(... in 2006)
With Poulsson and company on the watch, they demo team would finally enter the plant by a cable tunnel and through a window.
Gunnerside teammate Ronneberg tore open his rucksack and began placing the sausage-shaped explosive charges on each of the cylinders, which, down to the very last detail, were exactly the same as the models they had used in the reconstruction back in Britain. Ronneberg had laid about half of the 18 charges when he heard a shattering of glass, and he spun around to see Sergeant Birger Stromsheim climbing in through a window from the back of the plant.Stromsheim helped Ronneberg secure the final charges and then checked them over twice while his leader laid the fuses. Originally, they planned to set two-minute fuses, but fearing that someone inside the plant might undo their work, they laid two extra 30-second Bickford fuses as a precaution. Just before they lit the fuses, the guard said, "Please, I need my glasses. They are impossible to get in Norway these days." It was a surreal moment and the request stopped the three raiders in their tracks, bewildered by this change to the script, this brief snapshot of civilian anxiety at the critical point of a crucial military operation. Ronneberg lit the fuses and the raiders then rushed out of the steel cellar door into the night.
When they were no more than 20 yards away they heard the dull thud of the explosion. The sound was muffled by the noise of the power station and the thick concrete walls, and the covering party wondered whether the demolition party had laid the charges properly. But Ronneberg knew from the sound that the cylinders had been destroyed and that 3,000 pounds of heavy water-about four or five months' production-would be awash on the basement floor, flowing towards the drains.
"The explosion itself was not very loud...It sounded like two or three cars crashing in Piccadilly Circus." ~ Col .Jens Anton Poulsson on the explosion of the heavy water appartus in the plant
In the ensuing sabotage hundreds of kilograms of heavy water was destroyed. (While they succeeded in destroying the heavy-water stocks and all nine saboteurs made it to safety, the Nazis had the heavy-water apparatus up and running a mere five months later, instead of the one to two years the raid's plotters had hoped for. In the end, however, the Germans never succeeded in using the heavy water to make an atomic weapon) Though 3,000 German soldiers searched for the saboteurs, all escaped. The Nazi heavy water project never recovered..
In For the Escape while the majority Gunnerside members - Idland, Kayser, Stromsheim Storhaug and Skinnerland skied 250 miles directly to the Norwegian /Swedish border.... Swallow leader Poulsson escaped and evaded to Oslo first, (with Gunnerside team mate Ronneberg ) and later via Sweden to the United Kingdom, before returning to Telemark by Parachute Insertion eventually leading a force of 300 Norwegian SOE commandos in what was known as SOE 'Operation Sunshine'.
Meanwhile Haugland, ( Kjelstrup and Heller) separately hid on Hardangervidda for two months before going to Oslo to train radio operators for the Norwegian resistance. Despite being known to the Gestapo, he twice used the clandestine sea crossing known as "the Shetland bus" to reach Scotland. In autumn 1943 he visited London for supplies and training in new code techniques and returned by parachute.
In November 1943 he was arrested, only to escape, and his luck and courage held firm again the following year, when, on April 1, one of his transmitters, hidden inside a chimney at the Oslo Maternity Hospital, was located by direction-finding techniques. Thor Hyerdhal would later write on what happened to his eventual 'ship-mate' Haugland, that day:
"The whole building was surrounded by German soldiers with machine-gun posts in front of every single door. The head of the Gestapo was standing in the courtyard waiting for Knut to be carried down....Knut fought his way with his pistol down from the attic to the cellar, and from there out into the back yard, where he disappeared over the hospital wall with a hail of bullets after him....On the run, Haugland managed again to escape to Britain and[then later would ] return to Norway..." ~Thor Heyerdhal on Haugland
Haugland as the ever self effacing Norwegian recently commented on the fanfare attributed to his being a hero which he considered himself not to be :
"I never use that word about myself or my friends. We just did a job."
He and Poulsson and he rest of their Grouse- Gunnerside- Swallow teammates, were testaments to that statement which is shared by every operator worth a damm any where in the world who since the dawn of man "just did a job. " But their quiet professionalism action was not just any job. Any more than Richard Todd's action as an Airborne Trooper with the British 7th Para at Pegasus Bridge during the Normandy invasion, was not just any old bridge on some random operation.
Haugland and Poulsson and their team members made sure the potential serious Nazi Atomic weapon would not be happening. which at the time they understood little of the largeness and world changing power which crippling the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant at Vemork would ultimately personify. They were in their minds just doing a job.. 'Job's ' like theirs, remind us of our own present day concerns which yet to have taken place ( or publicly acknowledged ) modern incarnation will be any coalition or allied operation stopping any Iranian or Paki or North Korean; Chi-com or Rus-kie nuclear weapon ambitions, today.
Thoughis was not until decades after the war that we did not know how progressed or far froma atomic bomb the Germans were, upon reading about the Vemork Heavy water operation Winston Churchill wrote a note:
"What rewards are to be given to these heroic men???"
But first, Churchills own country man Richard Todd on the other hand, was to have his war ....
Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd was born in Dublin on June 11 1919 into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family. His father was a British Army physician who had gained three caps for Ireland at rugby before the First World War; his mother was a noted beauty and horsewoman. The family moved to Devon when Richard was very young, although due to his father's Army commitments a few of his childhood years were spent in India.
Richard's mother wanted him to make a career in the Diplomatic Service, but he set his sights on becoming a playwright. After Shrewsbury School he enrolled at the Italia Conti Academy to "learn something about the theatre". There, instead of becoming a writer, he caught the acting bug. His chosen career path, he recalled in later life, led to a rift with his mother so deep that when he learned, aged 19, that she had committed suicide, he did not waste time grieving, having lost all affection for her.
Todd, while training as an actor, appeared in the crowd scenes for two Will Hay movies and as an extra in A Yank at Oxford (1938). But the main focus of his ambition was the stage. After leaving drama school he performed in regional rep and in 1939 joined the newly-founded Dundee Repertory Theatre.
Then World War II erupted onto Europe. Todd volunteered the day after war was declared and was commissioned in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1941. In 1943 he applied to become a parachutist, and in May of that year was posted to the 7th Parachute Battalion - part of the 6th Airborne Division. For the Normandy landings, he was appointed assistant adjutant. He was first man out of the door of the C-47 Dakota which droped him under fire during the British Airborne landings into Normandy.
"Although I had 40 jumps under my belt, I had no experience of dropping under fire. But I remember looking out and seeing the tracer bullets zipping past us. I thought what a pretty sight it was with all the coloured lights. "I didn't think about the risk to my life, I just jumped."Bullets zipped by as I jumped. I hit the ground 6 seconds later and came under intense fire.."
~ Richard Todd
His crucial mission? Todd's 7th battalion of the Parachute Regiment was to hold the bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal three miles inland, stopping the German forces from getting reinforcements to the beaches. That allowed the Allies in the seaborne landing to advance inland. These were the only bridges which could support panzers or tiger tanks for the Germans to counter the D- Day landings at Normandy and although a glider force preceeded his battalion to the target is as noble as it gets, mates! No Script. No 'Take two'... The odds against him were beyond anything the modern warrior might ever face and at 00.40 hours on June 6, 1944, he launched himself towards the ground:
*Six seconds later, after dropping from only 400ft to minimize the risk of being shot in the air, he crashed down in a cornfield under intense attack from more German gunfire.
"Being first out of the first plane wasn't my idea I assure you. But immediately I could see I was lucky. My plane had benefited from the element of surprise. We'd come under a lot of enemy fire but nothing compared to the flak the other planes behind were getting....Looking up I saw whole planes full of paratroopers being brought down. We lost a lot of men that way."
~ Richard Todd
Todd's landing site was just half a mile from the bridge and after taking cover in the woods he linked up with his commanding officer, Lieutenant- Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin, and his team.
They trekked across farmland to the target. Todd's battalion took most of the losses in those bloody first hours of D-Day They had dropped 610 men but by 10am they had just 200 men left. Todd believed 65 men were killed during fighting at theeen among the first to meet the glider force, under the command of Major John Howard, defending Pegasus Bridge, a scene memorably recreated in two epic films in which Todd later starred. In D-Day, the Sixth of June (1956), he played the commanding officer of his unit who vies for the affections of Dana Wynter with his Yank rival Robert Taylor.
In The Longest Day (1962), which was based on the book of the same name by the London Telegraph special WW II war correspondent Cornelius Ryan and at a cost of $8 million( 1962 U.S. dollars), was the most expensive black and white film made until Schindler's List -- Todd took the role of Major Howard, performing one scene opposite the actor playing himself (a role he turned down because as he would much later recall "I did not do anything special that would make a good sequence").
"I was, in effect, standing beside myself talking to myself," ~ Richard Todd
The odds Poullson and Haugland and their Grouse- Gunnerside- Swallow teammates overcame with out casualty to them selves until later in the war, became the textbook for behind the lines unconventional operations and combat SERE survival story. Their ' never give up ' attitudes, something Haugland later carried on ot the Kon-Tiki expedition, would infleuence operators and adventurers the world over. A recent post in a British paper on Haugland stated:
"Kon-Tiki (along with Winston Churchill) influenced my own 'never give up' attitude since childhood. We certainly need more heroes as these now"
~Michael Torre, in The Times, December 29, 2009
"What a life. I can just remember my brother reading Ra and [Kon]-Tiki when we were kids in the 60s. I saw the [Heroes] of Telemark too on tv. But the real and actual thing, the word Hero is not enough."
~ Michael Casey, in The Telegraph, December 29, 2009
Over the Christmas period I watched (for the umpteenth time but it never gets old) Heroes of Telemark - a film based on a true World War II event, the sabotage, by the Norwegian Resistance of a hydro plant used to make heavy water for the Nazi war machine.
Today The Times published the obituary of Knut Haugland one of the original heroes on whom the film was based. He was also the last surviving member of the Kon-tiki expedition. And another World War II veteran who proved my theory that having stared certain death in the face once (or twice) survivors of that period decided to go on and do even more in peacetime.
As this decade closes, shaped by an obsession with people 'famous for being famous' and who only have a talent for publicity, the death of Haugland is a reminder that there are some exceptional people in the world and it is to them we should look for inspiration." ~ Mark Izatt
Ironically reading those remembrances reminded this the writer-adventurer-warrior spinning this yarn your way; that long ago he too, in a younger version of himself was greatly influenced by this tale of 'real heroes of Telemark' and 'Kon Tiki' ; as well as that famous passage Richard Todd mutters as he portrays his real life Major John Howard in 'The Longest Day', "Hold until Relieved...Hold until Relieved..."
This two month later remembrance of them has allowed us to give you the reader better insight to see that although we American warriors often stand alone in the waves of bad guys of the world stage; we are often however shadowed upstaged by mostly unappreciated - fading quiretly into the night heroic legends that our school childeren and our young and old elite warriors know very little about . Especially those our 'across the pond' British and Norwegian cousins like Todd or Poulsson Haugland and their Grouse, Gunnerside Swallow Teammates.
Since World War II, both British and Norwegian warriors contributions --have as you can see with these three gentlemans efforts --far from footnotes against the likes of the John Siglaub, Aaron Banks, Walter Mess, Jim Eubank or Peter Ortiz-es'...(...'Who-in-the-hell are these guys you ask??? Well search 'e m out for your self tough guy know it alls!)
The silent passing to all of us who knew the tales of Haugland and Poulsson's and their co-patirot Heroes of Telemark is of no less of a testament to the present Norwegian FSK (Forsvarets Spesialkommando), Haerens Jegerkommando and Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK) (= "The navy ranger command" or Naval Commandos) who have lead distinguished service in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq, today.
As for Mr. Churchills Comments on those heroes of Telemark??
Most of not all of those the Grouse- Swallow-Gunnerside teammates were highly decorated for the Vemork and SF Hydro actions...
Colonel Jens Anton -Poulsson native of Rjukan, the town nearest the Vemork plant was a life long prewar experienced mountaineer. He always had a pipe. The head of the London-based spy outfit SOE he worked for, wrote that Poulsson "showed a spirit of persistence that is beyond all praise." For his beyond praise and specific leadership in the Grouse- Swallow Gunnerside actions, was awarded Norway's War Cross with Sword, after his return to United Kingdom in 1943. It was presented to him by King Haakon at a ceremony at the SOE school STS 26 Commando training school in Scotland( near Nethy Bridge, Drumintoul Lodge, Aviemore, Inverness-shire) the Norwegian Holding School / Main Headquarters of Linge Company ). Poulsson was also decorated with the Defence Medal with Rosette and Haakon VIIs 70th Anniversary Medal, and the British Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In 1960 Poulsson was leading the Danish-Norwegian (DANOR) battalion in the UN force UNEF in Gaza. From 1961 he held various leading positions in the Norwegian Army, and has been a colonel since 1968. He headed the Royal Norwegian Army's (RNA) "His Majestys The Kings Guard' from 1961-1965, he was second in command for RNA Brigade Nord from 1967-1968 and he headed the RNA 3rd Infantry from 1980-1982...And throughout his life -- due to his SERE expolits in the harsh Arctic Norway winter conditions -- remained throughout his life the the recognizeded NATO leader of Arctic/ Winter combat SERE and commando skiing operations.
Poulsson died early February 2nd, 2010 aged 91 years old.
-Knut Haugland was twice awarded Norway's highest decoration, the War Cross with Sword, and was awarded the British Distinguished Service Order(DSO) and Military Medal, the French croix de guerre and legion d'honneur, and, postwar, the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav....After the war, Haugland continued his military career for many years, except for 1947 when he took part in the Kon-Tiki expedition. He participated in the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany from 1948 to 1949, continued in the Forsvarsstaben Forsvarsstaben until 1952, when he was transferred to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, headed the electronic intelligence service in Northern Norway, an important position during the Cold War He held the ranks of major from 1954 and lieutenant colonel from 1977. He left the Air Force in 1963 to become acting, later permanent, director of the. Norway's Resistance Museum, retiring from this position in 1983. He was also the director of the Kon-Tiki Museum from its start in 1947 to 1990, rounding off his career as board chairman of the Kon-Tiki Museum in 1991. Haugland also served as J.S. Wilson's attache at the 1949 12th World Boy Scout Conference in Elevesaeter, Norway [Wilson (1888-1969) - the Scottish Boy Scouts luminary and friend and contemporary of General Baden-Powell, was recruited by him to head the World and International Boy Scout Movement ). Five of the six men in the Kon-Tiki expedition were Scouts.
Thor Heyerdahl Jr. wrote: "Knut Haugland challenged his destiny more than most, and was known not only ' for thinking well, but thinking fast.' He built up one of Norway's most-visited museums which attracts around a quarter of a million people every year...It became an independent and self-financed foundation with its own research department and the world's largest private Pacific library. Grants are given to researchers from many countries, as a basis for scientific projects that otherwise never would have been realized. The Kon-Tiki Museum today is central in Pacific research from the other side of the globe..."
In 1951 he married librarian Ingeborg Prestholdt.He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ingeborg, three grown children and several grandchildren.
Haugland Died on Christmas Day 2009 at age 92.
--Richard Todd, Captain British Royal Army and motion piciture actor, was one of the first British officers to land in Normandy in advance of the main D-Day landings and went on to become Britain's highest-earning matinee idol of the post-war years; He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in 1949's 'The Hasty Heart.' He would play action legends Robin Hood, Rob Roy, Sir Walter Raleigh his most memorable role was that of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, in The Dam Busters (1955) . Ian Fleming had preferred Todd to take the lead as 007 in "Dr. No" in 1962, but a schedule clash opened the way for Sean Connery to define the part.. Refered to by many a Brit as the Englishmans "Audie Murphy" was not due to his being highly deocrated but rather as Murphy personified the down to earth American Hero, Todd he was the real flesh and blood embodiment of the true Britisih gentleman Hero. His real world and onscreen exploits championed the nobility and legacy of English Bomber Squadrons and the Airborne Troopers with his being a role model to post World War II Englishmen and boys of the 1950's
Todd died on December 3rd 2009 at age 90.
[The personal praise for Mr. Todd which follow below respect and honors which follow below or reposted from the December 4th Daily Telegraph in th UK, illustrate that Great Britons have always been there to join the good fight and that they will continue to be there to cause great havoc when the winds of war come-a-callin! We hope you will see an example of what character and a beloved a term 'British Gentleman' personified --to many a Englishman in those post World War II years after 1945 in the form of Richard Todd: officer, humble and iconographic British Gentleman; real world and fantasy man of action, and inspiration to entire generation of Brits( and some Yankees) ---One of the lasting true role models of Special Forces as interpreted in a British form.
Perhaps, these comments are why we here at Voice of the Soldier make monthly the effort to have you see where those things you are doing now come from. To show you, that even in a society such as the UK whose noble traditions are often shoved aside, loosing an icon as obsecure to most of you and the presumed very modern British society as Mr. Todd was ; and how being reserved and yet dignified while quietly professional as you live on past your glory days, will be something those shared by many of all generations who follow you, will remember long after you depart, by those you will never meet.
One does not have to fade lightly into the night... should you, like Poulsson Haugland and Todd -- stay your course and never falter in who you are or what you do to stand for your country.
Rest in Peace To them all... ~ VOS Editor]
On Richard Todd :
"As an American baby boomer I admired John Wayne and all the rest of the Hollywood commando's who single handedly won WW2... What a laugh. In later years I came to realize the truth, and appreciate the devotion and heroism of the real hero's, men like Richard Todd, my dad, and the millions like them who's sacrafices those many years ago enable us to enjoy what we take for granted today. Mr. Todd has always been a favorite of mine. Thank you, and all the veterans of the United Kingdom for what you've done. The world can never truly repay you. "
~By Housiaux.. Posted November 5 2009 .
"A brilliant actor and a terrific soldier Richard Todd amongst so many brave young men - 6th June 1944 as Sir Winston famiously said "this may not be the end, it may not even be the beginning of the end, however it is the end of the beginning" He was right as history shows - 10 months later May 8th 1945 the war ended VE Day - Sir Richard Todd? if not why not?"
~By Michael Reust in Virginia.. Posted July 13 2009
"As a (travel) radio broadcaster in Los Angeles, I was invited by the French government to attend the 60th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6th, 2004. It was surreal to see Pegasus Bridge and think about Richard Todd playing John Howard - I have often wondered if he was still alive, and so am thrilled to see that he is! Although being there on June 6th 2004 will always be one of the MOST memorable moments in my life, I wish I could have seen Mr. Todd in 2009 - I still hear those immortal lines that he spoke in the movie 'Hold until relieved.' "
~By Rigger.. Posted July 5 2009
"Brave man, volunteering to fight the day after war is declared. How many people would do that nowadays? ..." ~ cbee
"My dad fought alongside Richard Todd across Germany in WW2 ending up in Wismar on the Baltic (and ended up in East Germany. No-one knew he was an actor and he was known as "Sweeney Todd". Later he told my dad that he did not disclose his acting background because he was frightened the men would think he was homosexual. Dad said he was a good bloke. " ~Ian Lockwood
"Part of England died today..." ~David Greenwood
"He was a true gent and a true British hero, one of a rapidly diminishing breed. My favourite story about Todd was his ad-lib in the film "The Longest Day"; when he's told that Pegasus Bridge had been secured and that now the glider troops had only to await the arrival of 7 Para he quipped "they'll be hours yet, 7 Para are always late". Of course on D-Day itself Richard Todd was the Adjudant of 7 Para."
"...He served with my late father during the war in the 7th ( Light Infantry ) Battalion The Parachute Regiment. I am sorry i never got to meet him. Airborne to the last, now with his comrades of the 'glorious 7th ' snd he will be mourned amongst the Airborne Brotherhood."
"There followed an orgy of swashbuckling heroics in Disney's The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953) and Rob Roy, The Highland Rogue (1954), all of which served only to prove that Todd was no Errol Flynn." What a mean-spirited thing to say!
A All I know is that as a seven-year-old tree climber at the time, I considered Mr. Todd, in those movies, to be exactly the kind of rascally rogue I hoped to become when I grew up. "
~ Christopher Hanks
"Sad to hear of the passing of a brave and grand type, he championed the airborne and the aircrews of bomber command." ~Paul Micklethwaite
"A true officer, gentleman and role model for all young men brought up in the 50s and 60s. Will we ever see his like again?" ~Owen Hammond
"What a smashing chap and very much one of a dying breed. I had the good fortune to meet him once about 10 years ago. I asked him about his fellow subaltern with whom he served in 1944, Lieutenant 'Todd' Sweeney. The oft repeated anecdote is that they met on Pegasus bridge a little after midnight in the early hours of 6th June, when Sweeney was supposed to have said, 'hello my name is Sweeney; they call me Todd' and Todd was reported to have replied, 'thats funny, my name is Todd and they call me Sweeney'! The reality was a little more prosaic as of course they knew one another well. Todd had told Sweeney before take off that he would meet him on the bridge that night. In the event Todd was able to jump out and surprise Sweeney with a 'Aha, I told you I would see you on the bridge'. "
~ Warwick Blench
"I listened to a recording of Richard Todd on the radio last night describing the colleagues he lost after he parachuted into France during the war. Clearly, even years later, it left a mark upon him that still to this day could make him cry. Some obituaries really touch you as you feel that you have lost someone you knew, and this is one of those. Mr. Todd was clearly one of those exceptional human beings for whom nothing bad was ever written about or said; he will be missed by all who knew him. If there is a God, and you have now met him, I hope he has blessed you, and may you rest in peace. I salute you, sir!"
"Richard Todd was a basically sound chap. This type has been mocked by some modern cycnics, but he is gradually disappearing from English life, more's the pity..." ~Malcolm
"Vale a terrific actor and lovely gentleman. Dambusters was a great film and made a profound impression on me as a lad.
I always found it a fascinating irony that he lived in a small village near Grantham, and the plans for the actual Dambuster raids were developed in Grantham.."
"...The now, sadly, late and irreplaceable Richard Todd may, in his many acting roles, have been perceived as the quintessential English gentleman but he was born into an Anglo-Irish family in pre-partition Ireland. The family home where he spent much of his chilhood was in Co Antrim. He should, therefore, be more accurately described as a true "British" not "English" gentleman."
"A great Irishman and a great British war hero. We are as proud of him here in Ireland as you so rightly are in Britain. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm."
~ Dave Cunnigham
"Another wonderful actor has died Rest in Peace Richard you will always be remembered especially in your war films - a wonderful actor and handsome too. You will be missed.."
"Fascinating, about Richard Todd being in Longest Day where he had been in real life - sort of like our Audie Murphy.
Every inch the British officer."
"...40 years later, I went to the prep school that Guy Gibson attended, and he was held up as a supreme role model for us (rightly). Richard Todd was a very brave man in his own right and he portrayed another era of people where they did what was right and not what was best for himself. .Given the scandals of recent years (MP expenses and bankers' bonuses), he should be remembered as an example of what once made GREAT Britain great. May he rest in peace."
"Having been in action in a real war and succeeding that with a long and distinguished acting career, it is difficult to understand why Richard Todd was never given a knighthood or other honour. The more so when one looks at some of the trash which gets feted in this way these days. I like to think Richard Todd is having a reunion with his former comrades-in-arms, and meeting Guy Gibson."
~ Roderick The Great
"Although he was never Knighted...a few days after the 65th D Day Anniversary,which I attended with my Son, a [World War Two]Lancaster[Bomber] flew over my house in Grantham to celebrate Richards 90th Birthday nearby...Tremendous!! Knighthoods are given out freely nowadays, having a Lancaster giving you a flypast...much better than a Knighthood me thinks !!"
"So many wonderful memories,SADLY THE KNIGHTHOOD WE TRIED TO GAIN DID NOT ARRIVE. RIP SIR RICHARD TODD" ~ Vic Hallam
"Sadly we are losing another gentleman from a bygone era the likes of which we won't see again.Real heroes carry themselves with dignity,humility and who stand as beacons to all those young men born in the 50's & 60's.On behalf of us all I doff my cap in gratitude,so RIP Sir Richard for the likes of you are what made Britain Great."
"My darling Richard is gone, just cannot believe how popular an actor he was to the world, all these 67 years I thought I was the only one who loved him. RIP."
~ Margret White
"In these days of vacuous so called celebrities and and a country that is quickly losing its identity. Richard Todd represented a lost golden age, a true hero, a great actor. Rest in peace." ~ Jed Ambrose
"Sleep well sir you deserve to rest awhile before joining your old comrades once again. Im sure major Howard will be there to meet you. God bless you."
"There is a much hackneyed expression 'They don't make them like that anymore. ' In Richard Todd's case it is very true."
[And from us at VOS, Rest in Peace Richard Todd.,Jens-Anton Knut Thank you for your service to all free men!"]