Who was Oluf Reed Olsen?

Oluf Reed Olsen, a twenty-one year old Norwegian, carried out acts of resistance against the Nazis as soon as his country was invaded in April 1940. Forced to flee his homeland by sailing boat, he went to England where he joined the exiled Royal Norwegian Air Force and went to Canada for training.

In 1943, he was recruited by MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service. The organisation was created in 1909 but its role and very existence was not officially recognised until 1994. It’s function was – and is – to obtain and provide information relating to ‘actions and intentions of persons outside the British Islands’ and ‘to perform other tasks relating to the actions and intentions of such persons’. Oluf’s mission would take him back to his homeland – he was parachuted back into Norway in April 1943.

'I had an excellent landing in a blueberry bush…the reception committee were on the spot and ready with a cup of warm tea,' he remembered.

He was tasked with sending vital intelligence about German shipping and military activity back to MI6 - they had given him reference books and photographs to help him recognise German units, ships and aircraft which he took to Norway with him.

He had some support from people on the ground– contacts in the Oslo police provided him with a false identity card in the name of Oskar Hansen – but he still found he needed the pistol, holster and shoulder holster that were given to him by MI6. The gun helped save his life on three occasions.

He used this Mark II Transceiver to report back and he was able to transmit until October when he had to escape to Sweden. In December, he returned to Norway to continue his activities before returning to England in January 1944.

After a brief rest, he was parachuted back into Norway in May 1944 and continued to send a stream of detailed intelligence reports to London until his final escape to Sweden in December.

For his vital work, Oluf was awarded the Norwegian War Cross with Sword and British Distinguished Service Cross. He also wrote a memoir of his wartime service, 'Two Eggs on my Plate'.

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