Storeroom at Solar aerodrome, Stavanger, holding some of the estimated 30,000 rifles taken from German forces in Norway after their surrender.
(Photo: Imperial War Museums)
In Operation Doomsday, the British 1st Airborne Division acted as a police and military force during the Allied occupation of Norway in May 1945, immediately after the victory in Europe during the Second World War. The division maintained law and order until the arrival of the remainder of Force 134, the occupation force. During its time in Norway, the division was tasked with supervising the surrender of the German forces in Norway, as well as preventing the sabotage of vital military and civilian facilities.
The German Instrument of Surrender was delivered on May 8 to General Franz Böhme, the commander of all German forces stationed in Norway, and the 1st Airborne Division landed near Oslo and Stavanger between May 9 and May 11. The majority of the transport aircraft carrying the division landed safely, but three planes crashed with a number of fatalities. The division encountered little of the expected German resistance.
Operational duties included welcoming back King Haakon VII of Norway, looking after Allied ex-prisoners of war, arresting war criminals and supervising the clearing of minefields. The division was also able to confirm the deaths of the British airborne troops that had taken part in Operation Freshman, an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the German atomic weapons program in November 1942. The division returned to Britain at the end of August and disbanded two months later.