John Cooperwhite MD of GMRS, Chris Harding from Whittaker & Co along with the Pilgrim Bandits charity, badly injured servicemen and able bodied volunteers left the UK on 16th March 2013 to fly out to Scandinavia for 11 days to trek through Norway as part of a 70th anniversary adventure to honour “The Heroes of Telemark” the world-famous sabotage operation that took part in the Nazi-occupied country between 1942 and 1944.
The original operation saw six treacherous missions carried out over a two-year period designed to prevent Nazi Germany developing Deuterium Oxide, known as ‘heavy water’, for Hitler’s nuclear energy programme. The WW2 missions tested human endurance to the maximum – with conditions dropping to minus 30 with 50mph winds in the frozen wastelands.
The charity, which aims to raise funds to further its work encouraging a ‘no sympathy’ approach towards injured men and women from the Army, Navy, RAF, police, fire and ambulance services,
The adventure was filmed for an ITV documentary and was aired later in the year.
A spokesman for the charity said: “This is the kind of operation our boys would have relished had they been in the forces during the war. “To retrace the steps and experience, in part, what those brave allies had to do will be an honour, and it will also give our injured boys a real focus. “The terrain is demanding and the conditions will be extremely tough.”
Also taking part in the £50,000 trek are blind Rifleman Paul Jacobs and Sapper Karl Boon, who lost his right leg.