THE ROYAL NAVAL RESERVE
SERVICE RECORD
OF
JOHN WILSON
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THE LOSS OF THE
RUTLANDSHIRE

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To put in context, the circumstances surrounding the attack on my grandfathers’ trawler, Rutlandshire, on the 20th April 1940, in the Namsen Fjord (Namsfjord), I've endeavoured to capture and summarise those events during the first quarter of 1940, which preceded the invasion of Norway. Against this background, I've then focused on the period 19th – 21st April 1940 in an attempt to derive from the various Admiralty reports and newspaper articles, the circumstances and series of events leading up to the attack, the grounding and the subsequent rescue of my grandfather and his crew.

OPERATION WESERÜBUNG

As early as January 1940, both the German and Allied high commands recognised the strategic importance of Norway. From the Allies perspective, it was vital to the Allied sea lanes as well as effectively cutting off Germanys supply of iron ore from northern Sweden. From the German perspective, controlling Norway would provide a base for their northern fleet.

Convinced by Norways apparent unwillingness to protect its neutrality and its weak defences, Hitler, on the 27th January 1940 assumed personal leadership for the planned invasion, instructing the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) on the 19th February 1940 staff that the preparations for combined operations were to be executed under his immediate and personal authority - code named Operation Weserϋbung (Exercise Weser). General Nicholaus von Falkenhorst was later appointed to command the operation.

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