65 Degrees North mission and the link to Hollywood moviePublished Monday, 20th February 2023
65 Degrees North's latest expedition - a traverse of the Hardangervidda Plateau in Norway - is given extra poignancy and drama as it is linked to a famous Second World War mission which was made into a Hollywood movie.
On February 27, 1942, nine Norwegian resistance members scaled a sheer snow and ice covered ravine in the middle of the night to destroy a Nazi-controlled heavy water plant in Norway.
Hollywood turned the story of the attack and subsequent escape on skis into The Heroes of Telemark, an action-movie starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris. If you like your films at Christmas then you have no doubt come across the 1965 British war film.
The Norwegian resistance sabotaged the Vemork Norsk Hydro plant in the town of Rjukan in the county of Telemark, Norway, which the Nazis were using to produce heavy water, which could be used in the manufacture of an atomic bomb.
Now, in March, 65 DN’s 10-strong team will head to the Norwegian mountains and attempt to ski across the iconic Hardangervidda plateau from Finse to Rjukan - a 140km mission over six days traversing the area where the raiders survived through the winter to mount their successful attack.
It is the latest in 65 Degrees North’s iconic missions as they continue to create a series of challenging, adventurous activities for carefully selected members of the WIS (wounded, injured and sick) service personnel. Six of the expedition will be WIS members of what is a unique expedition for 65DN, as for the first time, it involves representatives from all three of the services - Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The group set out on their mission on Friday March 17 and are expected to complete the challenge arriving at the Vemork Museum commemorating the raid on March 22.
The Team consists of: Georgie Smith, Ruth Lanckham, Craig Skinner, Lee Spencer, Sean Gane and Ray Evans, with the Support Team including: George Matthews (Team Leader), Billy Baxter, Ross Matthews, Ben Clark (Team Doctor).