Green Howards of 1st Battalion receiving winter kit in Richmond prior to their deployment to norway. (Courtesy The Green Howards Trust)

Green Howards Museum Launches Its First Online Exhibition to Mark Invasion Anniversary

The North Yorkshire-based Green Howards Museum has launched its first online exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Norway.

On 9 April, 1940, after seven months of ‘phoney war’, German forces invaded Norway and Denmark. The offensive sparked a massive response from the Allies, with British, French and Polish forces deployed to assist the Norwegians. The project details the Green Howards’ role in that campaign.

The new exhibition is part of the museum’s efforts to defy the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, having already launched a project to transcribe the letters of one of its veteran officers. It showcases some of the photographs and objects connected to the regiment’s experience in Norway held by the museum.



Director Lynda Powell commented: “The anniversaries of both Norway and Dunkirk had been marked by a display in the museum’s reception area. [But] following closure we decided to create something that visitors to our website could access. In fact, this online exhibition is able to provide even more information.”

Around 750 soldiers from the regiment’s 1st Battalion were among those committed to Norway, deployed there on 24 April. However, it was a hard struggle. Although well-trained, the battalion could only slow the offensive before being forced to withdraw.

Evolving Exhibition

The 62-day campaign ended with German occupation of Norway and the installation of the Quisling government. However, it was a costly victory. Approximately 3,600 German personnel were killed. Around 5,600 Allied servicemen also died and the Green Howards losing 28 killed. A number of its men were left behind and forced to find their own way home.

The German Navy lost three cruisers – one of them the brand new Blücher, sunk by coastal defences in the Drøbak Sound and during the naval battles of Narvik its strength of destroyers was crippled and would never recover. Also lost was the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious and several other Royal Navy surface ships.

The exhibition will continue to develop – so, rather like our museum, there’s always a reason for a repeat visit

The exhibition will continue to evolve, and the museum is planning a second virtual display marking the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk. Lynda Powell stating: “The exhibition will continue to develop – so, rather like our museum, there’s always a reason for a repeat visit.”

“One of our team is using their time working from home to catalogue some our taped sound archive. They have found interviews with a soldier who describes the terrifying conditions experienced by soldiers facing a ‘fighting retreat’ in the spring of 1940.

View the exhibition at: https://greenhowards.org.uk/events/80-years-ago-the-green-howards-in-norway/

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