Tribute features ‘Hitler’s stones’
A MONUMENT cut from stones to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s victory in Norway has been unveiled in Suffolk to honour the British soldiers who helped lead to his defeat.
The tribute was revealed yesterday at Rock Barracks in Woodbridge.
It was presented to 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), the Army’s airborne Royal Engineers that were instrumental in the liberation of Norway in 1945.
It is carved from stones quarried during the Second World War for use in a monument to mark Germany’s victory over Norway and was the brainchild of renowned Norwegian architect Leif Johannessen.
The project has been two years in the making and yesterday’s unveiling was attended by 82-year-old Mr Johannessen, the Norwegian Defence Attach�, representatives from the Norwegian Army and their Army Veterans’ Association.
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Members of 23 Engineer Regiment and the Airborne Engineers Veterans’ Associations were also on hand.
Mr Johannessen has never forgotten the contribution made by the British Royal Engineers, known as Sappers.
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“This monument is a gift to say ‘thank you’ and to honour the British soldiers who helped liberate my country,” he said. “The boys who came to Norway in 1945 were from the Airborne Division with the Pegasus badge on their arm and it became a favourite symbol of mine. I’m very proud to have been in contact with these boys.”
Volunteer airborne Sappers were first taken to Norway in 1942 by the Glider Pilot Regiment in a bid to disrupt German experiments for the production of an atomic bomb.
However, the operation failed and those captured were executed.
Troops returned in 1945 and, as part of the Allied force, successfully liberated Oslo.
Mr Johannessen has designed a 5m-tall monument, on top of which stands a statue of a Pegasus stood on parachute wings.
This is atop a steel mast on a base made up of “Hitler’s Stones” – which the Nazi leader originally intended for Berlin.
Special permission had to be sought from the Norwegian Government to use the stones because they were in a listed conservation area and therefore protected by law.
Captain Marty Wilson, project officer for 23 Engineer Regiment, previously said they were “very proud and honoured” to receive the memorial.