In 1940, the situation was looking dim for the British. After the successful evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk they were left alone to defend their island against the Nazi onslaught.

Winston Churchill knew he needed to strike back, but large military operations were out of the question at the time so he made another proposal to his staff.

Small units that  “must be prepared with specially trained troops of the hunter class who can develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast.”

One of those operations was Operation Musketoon: the raid against the German-held Glomfjord power plant in Norway, between 11–21 September 1942.

Tasked with the execution of the raid were ten men from the Second Commando and two men from the Norwegian Independent Company 1.

They were Captain Graeme Black, from Ontario in Canada as the CO. His second in command was Captain Joseph Houghton. NCOs Company Sergeant Major Miller Smith, Lance Sergeant Richard O’Brien, Lance Bombardier William Chudley and privates John Fairclough, Cyril Abram, Eric Curtis, Reginald Makeham and Fred Trigg. The two Norwegians were Erling Djupdraet and Sverre Granlund.

At first the idea was for the force to be extracted by a Short Sunderland flying boat but it was scrapped due to dangers for the aircraft. Instead, when the mission was completed, they were ordered to hike to neutral Sweden.

For that reason, each man was given a silk map of Norway and Sweden, a rice paper map of Russia, and Norwegian Kroner notes. They also carried two compasses (one sewn into each collar tab) and a hacksaw blade.