Thursday, 18 February 2010

A History of the World in 100 Sheds No 1: The Telemark Trapper's Hut

How a hut helped stop the Nazi A-bomb programme.
Norwegian Colonel Jens-Anton Poulsson who died on February 2 aged 91, led the local team who made two attempts at blowing up the heavy water plant in the province of Telemark, Norway during the Second World War. The first attempt failed, the second achieved its objective.

On the first mission gliders bringing commandos from England iced up and crashed. The surviving commandos were executed on Hitler's orders. With the Germans hunting his team, Poulsson led them into the mountains above the tree line. There they found an empty trapper’s hut that helped them survive the bleak winter conditions and to launch the next successful attack - a setback from which the German atomic bomb programme thankfully never recovered.

Another member of the team, Knut Haugland, died in December, the last living member of Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki expedition across the Pacific Ocean on a balsawood raft.

(Shedman's next project is World War 2 Shedman working with former evacuees and young people at Eastbourne Technology College.)

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