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John 'Jakey' Crockett RNR, Commanding Officer, HMS Hammond
From James M. Crockett son of Skipper John Crockett
The second part of how my late father escaped from Nazi occupied Norway during World War II.
They reckoned that the U-boat had scarpered very quickly and got out of the dangerous Norwegian fjords, or had been hit and gone to the bottom. But now there was a more serious problem. Jakey had told all his crew to wear their uniforms, so that if they were captured then they could rightfully claim to be prisoners-of-war, as it was well known that all British commandos caught in Norway were shot after horrendous torture.

They found that they had come ashore in a place called Aandalses, which was a holiday village near the main road, and no doubt their whereabouts would have been reported to the ground forces sometime soon.

With the adrenalin still pumping and everyone facing an uncertain fate, a young deckhand volunteered to swim over to Molde Island and get a boat to take them all over! It was an outrageous idea, but the crew gave him plenty of cheer and encouragement and the teenager quickly stripped and in a minute he was getting smaller as he swum away from the shore. Jakey realized that letting this young lad take on such a task was tantamount to madness, but with the U-boat, the dive bombers, the sinking of the "Hammond' and the town of Molde going up in flames, he conceded that the whole day had been one of madness!

On a cold evening in a foreign land, a voice called out from the darkness of the water, "Skipper! I'm back with a boat!"

tOn 27th April 1940, Molde again came under heavy air attack again, and the Norwegian government officials took refuge inside a big garage building near the wharf, which was spared by the bombers because the Germans would be using it themselves. Inside the garage, the officials met Jakey and they told him that a warship was coming to get them out of Norway. .

Along with King Haakon of Norway and his son Olav, Jakey and the crew of the "Hammond", and members of the Norwegian government, together with ministers from the British, Polish, Danish and French legations all embarked onboard the "Glasgow!"

After clearing the wharf, the HMS "Glasgow" made a clever tactical manoeuvre. Instead of crossing the North Sea to Scotland directly after departing from Molde, she stayed inside the fjords and headed north. So while the Luftwaffe were scouring the waters of the North Sea looking for the "Glasgow," in the failing light, she was heading Northwards for Tromso, navigating through the narrow fjords of Norway!.

When the "Glasgow" got to Tromso, the King and the Norwegian officials stayed there to continue running the country and giving support to the people. The "Glasgow" returned to Scotland with the foreign legations, and Jakey and his crew.

Later, on the 7th of June 1940, the King of Norway and his entourage left Tromso for Scotland aboard the HMS "Devonshire"

Now we all have to admire Jakey and his crew, because all this was confidential, and everybody on the "Glasgow" was sworn to secrecy about the King's whereabouts! And of course had 'gerry' ever found out where the King was.... Well?.

Jakey never revealed to us that the King had remained in Norway, and anyway nobody knew that King Haakon had left his country till he started living in Buckingham Palace with the King & Queen. .

Amazingly! Jakey had always kept his word!

The town of Molde ablaze - Taken from the deck of HMS Glasgow on the 29th February 1940 by one of the ship’s company, The ferocity of the flames can clearly be seen as a fireball, glowing like a torch shoots out of the top the church steeple..
In hiding - King Haakon and his son Crown Prince Olav along with members of Norway’s government, fled and hid in a forest near the town of Molde. This picture was taken just before they were rescued by HMS Glasgow togather with gold from the Bank of Norway and HMT Hammond's crew.

Part One of the story ....

© James Crockett & Nick Clark 2006