Exercise Viking Challenge

Led by the CO, fourteen FANYs embarked upon Exercise Viking Challenge from 15 to 24 March in Rjukan, Norway. The expedition was supported by Norske Reserveoffiserers Forbund. Throughout the week, members learned how to cross country ski and basic alpine survival, including how to dig snow holes.

The highlight of the expedition was a day spent cross country skiing on military skis in the footsteps of the Norweigian Saboteurs along an 18km trek in the surrounding mountains. The Saboteurs were part of Operation Gunnerside who destroyed the Vemork heavy water plant and were instrumental in ensuring that Nazi Germany could not create an atomic bomb. The Operation Gunnerside team were trained by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK. A major contribution by the FANY to the work of the SOE was in Communications, in both Signals and Cipher departments, where they received intensive training on Morse code. Many FANYs were posted to Grendon Underwood listening station, waiting to receive messages from the agents, because wireless was the most valuable link between the FANY operators based in the UK and the agents on the ground.

This inaugural expedition would not have been possible without financial support from The Ulysses Trust and the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, which made the expedition feasible, and the assistance of Norske Reserveoffiserers Forbund; in particular Rear Admiral Jorgen Berggrav, Lt Colonel Morton Wroldsen, and Major Ragnar Olson. The Corps is hugely grateful for all of their help.

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