Norwegian and British Armed Forces and Government representatives attended ceremonies of Remembrance on 9 November in WWI centenary year.
A Remembrance Day wreath laying ceremony took place on 9 November at the Commonwealth War Graves Plot at Vestre Gravlund in Oslo followed by a church service of remembrance at Frogner kirke. The events were attended by senior Norwegian Defence personnel, together with Norwegian veterans from the Royal Air Forces Association (Norway Branch), Navy Veterans’ Associations and the Norwegian Veterans Association for International Operations. A number of Defence Attachés were also in attendance.
A bugler from HM The King’s Guard sounded Last Post and Reveille at both ceremonies which were supported by the Aggerhusische Veteran Company. HM Ambassador Sarah Gillett CMG CVO represented HM Queen Elizabeth II, the British Government and the Embassy, supported by the Defence Attaché Lt Col Matthew Skuse RM. Wreaths were also laid by Ambassadors and representatives of several Commonwealth nations. The Irish Ambassador and EU Ambassador were also in attendance, with the Irish Ambassador laying a wreath for the first time. The Venerable Dr Brian Russell of St Edmund’s Anglican Church in Oslo led a remembrance church service at Frogner kirke.
Official remembrance ceremonies were also observed in Bergen and Stavanger. Ambassador Gillett spent Armistice Day, 11 November, in Bergen to lay wreaths at the Lancaster Monument and Commonwealth war graves at Mollendal Cemetery.
Three generations of the family of Group Captain Wilfred Edward Surplice DSO DFC travelled from the UK to Oslo to lay a personal wreath at his grave. The much-decorated Gp Capt Surplice is buried in Oslo after crashing his Stirling aircraft at Skarfjell in Rogaland on 2 November 1944. Surplice was participating in a supplies drop to support a Norwegian Resistance group but poor weather caused the aircraft to ice and become gradually uncontrollable. Surplice ensured that the other six crewmen were able to evacuate and parachute to safety but, in so doing, sacrificed his own life when the aircraft crashed. Gp Capt Surplice’s son Roy, grandson John and granddaughter Rebecca with two young great granddaughters made the trip to Norway to be at Wilfred’s grave on a poignant Remembrance Day.