The Story of Bodo Sandberg

Subtitle

Diplomatic Service; Airforce Attache in the four Northern most countries of NATO, face to face with the USSR!

 

Diplomatic Service

After the crash in the Spitfire, Bodo was at one point deemed again fit to fly and his pilot license was renewed but, by that time, the Air Force had moved on from propeller planes to - even faster, and even more ear shatteringly loud - JETS and Dad, who had already lost about 80% of his hearing from the - quite literally - deafening noise of the 12 cylinder Spitfire engines, with just foot long flaming exhaust pipes right in front of him..., did not want to lose his hearing all together, so he stopped flying.

Then, in 1955, one fateful day when I was 9, Dad came home and proudly announced that he had been selected to become Air Force Attaché in the four Scandinavian countries and we would be based in the Dutch Embassy in Oslo, Norway! From one day to the other, my parents took me out of the Dutch school, we drove for two or three days, all the way to Norway, and the next day I found myself in a Norwegian school!! Trouble was, I didn’t speak any Norwegian.... The only thing I could say in Norwegian was    “Jeg kan ikke snakke Norsk” which means “I can not speak Norwegian!!

We lived in Oslo for four years, for me the happiest years of my childhood. Dad missed flying a lot, but he settled into his new job with a new passion. The “Cold War” was escalating and Norway, which has the most strategic border with the USSR, all the way up North, way above Finland, was totally key in NATO’s strategy towards the Soviets.

Amazingly, as it turned out, Dad had another connection with Norway:

In 1943, when Dad was in England, he had met one very special Norwegian:               Knut Haugland, one of Norway’s most admired WW II Pilots and hero of Norway's WW II resistance to the Nazi occupation. Haugland had also taken part in the 1943 British sabotage raid on a Norwegian "heavy water" facility, thought by the allies to be important to German nuclear-weapons researchers.

In 1947 Knut Haugland was one of six men, led by Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl, who set out to test the theory that pre-Columbian South Americans might have reached Polynesia by saling across the Pacific on balsa-wood rafts. Heyerdahl and his colleagues built such a raft and launched it from Peru, making landfall 101 days later in French Polynesia.      The subsequent book, Kon-Tiki, became a worldwide bestseller. Heyerdahl died in 2002, leaving only one member of his crew still alive, fellow Norwegian Knut Haugland.

After the Kon-Tiki adventure, Haugland served in the Norwegian military, and helped found and run both the Kon_Tiki Museum and a museum of the Norwegianm Resistance. Knut died on Christmas Day 2009 in Oslo, aged 92. R.I.P.

In 1955, when Sandberg was Airforce Attache at the Dutch Embassy in Norway, he found Haugland again in the Air Force world in Oslo. Knut and Bodo became very close friends and they worked in close unison, within NATO’s massive efforts, to keep the Soviet Union at bay.

To go to the next chapter, please go to the top of this page, in the left hand column and click on: "Commander of Ypenburg"

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