Lecture: Norwegians in Bomber Command

29 September 2022

Ole Jørgen Maaø will discuss the experience of Norwegians who flew with Bomber Command and the policy of the Norwegian government regarding their participation. This free lecture, hosted live at the Royal Aeronautical Society at 6PM on 29 September, can be attended in person or virtually.

Talk Outline

During the Second World War around 60 Norwegians flew with Bomber Command, and 34 lost their lives. Although we do have some knowledge of these men and their experience during the war from existing literature (mainly in Norwegian), these sources are mainly anecdotical and/or autobiographical.

Almost no scholarly work has been done on either the Norwegian war policy regarding the participation in Bomber Command, or on the experiences of these men or their fate. In sharp contrast, a lot has been written about the 4 Norwegian squadrons that the two Norwegian Air Arms established within the RAF during the war (two with Coastal Command and two with Fighter Command).

This lecture will seek to discuss the policy of the Norwegian government with respect to how the Norwegian exile forces should participate in the war, especially regarding supplying personnel from the Air Arms to Bomber Command.

The lecture will also touch upon the history of some of the Norwegian airmen who served with Bomber Command, of whom over half paid the ultimate prize. Service with Bomber Command were voluntary for the Norwegians. Why did they join? How did they cope with the extreme stress of the missions and the knowledge that a lot of them would lose their lives? And what about the survivors, how did they cope with the scars of war?


This lecture will be held at the Royal Aeronautical Society, No. 4 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 7BQ, on Thursday 29 September 2022.

This lecture will begin at 6PM. Tea and Coffee will be available beforehand.


In-Person: This lecture is free to attend in-person but registration is required. Booking is quick and easy:
Book Now for this free lecture

Virtually: This lecture is free to attend virtually via the RAF Museum’s Crowdcast channel.

To access the lecture you may need to check your internet browser is compatible. It is currently reported that Google Chrome provides the best experience for using Crowdcast.

About Ole Jørgen Maaø

Dr Ole Jørgen Maaø is an associate professor with the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim, Norway. Maaø is a former Air Force officer, and has been employed at the Academy since 1997. He has had a long interest in the history of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, and of air power in general.

Maaø’s main publications are published in Norwegian. Among his international publications are Conceptualising Modern War. London/New York: Hurst Publishing/Columbia University Press (2011 – together with Karl Erik Haug) and Ole Jørgen Maaø (2008) “Leadership in Air Operations – In Search of Air Power Leadership”, Royal Air Force Air Power Review, vol. 11 (3), p. 34-53.

From 2017 till 2018 Maaø was a guest researcher at King’s College, London, mainly doing research on the Norwegian Air Arms in exile during the Second World War. In 2018 Maaø gave a lecture in the series Trenchard Lecture in Air Power Studies, entitled “The Royal Air Force and Norwegian Air Force(s) during the Second World War”. That same year he also spoke at RUSI with the title “There is more to Air Power than Technology”

About the RAF Museum research programme

The Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies form part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2022. The RAF Museum is grateful to the Royal Aeronautical Society for the ongoing support it provides by hosting the Trenchard Lecture Series.

The 2022 programme also includes Lunchtime Air Power History Lectures at the RAF Museum, Cosford; Air Power Lectures, co-organised with the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University; and  Air Power lectures co-organised with the University of Wolverhampton.

About the Royal Aeronautical Society

RAeS Logo

The RAeS is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the
aerospace community, it exists to further the advancement of aeronautical art,
science and engineering around the world. Established in 1866, the Society has
been at the forefront of developments in aerospace, seeking to promote the
highest professional standards and provide a central forum for sharing
knowledge. You can find further details about the work that the RAeS does on their website*: https://www.aerosociety.com/

*All links to external websites are provided for informational purposes only. The RAF Museum bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of these sites.

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