A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
‘Major General Svein Heglund DSO DPC* RNoAF received many high Norwegian honours and awards for his wartime service and also, well after the war, became a Commander of the American Legion of Merit – partly for the Norwegian F-16 programme. He was the top scoring Norwegian fighter pilot of the war, with over 15 victories, mostly with 331 Norwegian Squadron Spitfires (Vb and IXs) and three Bf-110s destroyed with No.85 Mosquito Sqn. In April,1940 when Norway was overrun, he was on a cycling holiday in Italy, but with help from the Norwegian Consul in Bordeaux he boarded a ship for Portsmouth, being bombed en route. Before the RAF was welcoming overseas entrant aircrew, Svein sailed to the USA on the Lista, which was sabotaged and burned out on its arrival. Via ‘Little Norway’ in Toronto, he learned basic flying in Toronto, on 32 SFTS Harvards at Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, and Curtiss Mohawks and Douglas 8A-5s back in Toronto. He returned to 59 OTU in England and the new No.331 (Norwegian) Squadron in Oct41 as Sgt Pilot. In 1942 he was commissioned and after early inconclusive actions began scoring decisively from Feb43 and was awarded two DFCs, becoming a Flt Cdr with ten victories by the end of his tour in November.
‘After his two tours with 331, Svein was converted onto twins at Spitalgate, and posted to Dorval Montreal and 45 Atlantic Transport Group for six months, delivering three Mosquitos, two Bostons and a Mitchell to UK via Labrador, Greenland and Iceland. With help from Signatory 50, John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham, Svein was able to join No.85 Sqn’s long range Mosquito Night Fighter on deep Bomber Escort operations for 100 Group and, with his usual English radar operator, Robert Symon, would destroy three Bf-110 German night fighters and be awarded the DSO before his return to post-war Norway. Attaché duties in Stockholm, completion of his broken technical studies in Zurich and mostly logistics with the RNoAF and later as Chief of Staff and head of Air Material Command followed. In the war, Svein met and married a Canadian nurse, Captain Patricia McDowell (Signatory 167). Before their retirement in Oslo, Gen Heglund had also worked in consultancy for the World Federalist Movement, in civil aviation insurance, and for civil aviation integration programmes for the World Bank. His memoir of his career in the RAF – Høk over høk (Hawk Over Hawk) – was published in 1995.’ [ARP]