The Altmark then tried to leave the fjord but the Lord Admiral of the British Navy insisted that their seamen be allowed to inspect the ship first. The Altmark ran aground and the boarding was facilitated. The Norwegians refused to make it a joint effort. The British boarded the Altmark and after some hand- to-hand combat with cutlasses, they went down to the hold shouting “Are there any Englishmen below and the prisoners answered we are all Englishmen. The Captain answered “Well, the Navy’s here!” which became a sort of calling card for the British Navy during the war. Eight German seamen were killed and ten others wounded as were one British & one Norwegian seamen. The destroyer Cossack then aided the British who rescued their fellow countrymen. The Norwegians refused to help in the battle and stood neutral. The impact of this contretemps was that neither the Allies nor the Germans now trusted in Norwegian neutrality and both had contingency plans to invade the country and take control of its important sea lanes. The Germans struck first and invaded Norway starting on April 9, 1940 and ending in success on June10. Though the Altmark Incident was relatively small in itself, it had grave ramifications for the Allies and the Norwegians who remained under German occupation until March 1945. After leaving that beautiful but unhappy fjord, we drove and reached the 140 year old Grand Hotel in Egersund in time for a late lunch of spaghetti Bolognese and it was delicious. Before checking in to our respective rooms, we decided that there was no need to meet for a supper so we would all just “wing it” on our own.
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