LINDA PARKER

Peter Fleming in the Norwegian campaign

Peter Fleming in the Norwegian campaign

Peter Fleming in the Norwegian campaign In 1940 Peter Fleming, older brother to Ian Fleming had become an accomplished explorer and travel writer. He published his account of his expedition to Brazil to find the lost explorer, P.H Fawcett, in 1934 in Brazilian Adventure and his account of his Asian travels in News From Tartary in 1936. He was on the staff of MI(R), and when the Germans invaded Norway he was asked to be part of a reconnaissance mission for Operation MAURICE, the plan for allied troops to capture Trondheim by a pincer movement starting at Namsos and Andalsnes . No 10 military mission consisted of Peter Fleming, Martin Lindsay, former Arctic explorer, two Norwegian officers and two signallers. Their orders were to determine whether Namsos was already occupied by German forces. They flew up the fjord , Fleming noted in his diary “No10 military mission had been ordered to find put who was in occupation at Namsos . Here it was hovering over the place like a kestrel over a rick yard , and for all I knew Namsos might have been occupied by the Tibetans !” Their Sunderland flying boat landed in the fjord and Fleming went ashore , the first British soldier to be landed in Norway . Fleming quickly established that there were no Germans at Namsos and on the April 14, General Adrian Carton De Wiart had arrived to command the landings and the push towards Trondheim . De Wiart, a veteran of the great war of the who according to Fleming had “ only one eye, only one arm and rather surprisingly , only one Victoria Cross.”. The landings were accomplished successfully, but the allied forces, once discovered, came under heavy air attack . De Wiart sent Fleming back to Britain to report on the situation and request orders. When Fleming arrived in London he found out that he had been reported dead. He had an interview with Churchill which was not conclusive, and returning to Namsos said to De Wiart “You can really do as you like, for they don’t know what they want done.” The decision was eventually made to evacuate Namsos, and this was accomplished by May 3 . Fleming commented in his diary “The errors were so gross, the muddles so pervasive and the whole affair over so quickly that there wasn’t a great deal to be learned from it.”