A series of decorations relating to the Norwegian Campaign
Source: Maurice Bleicher collection
The French Second World War Commemorative Medal was established by decree of 21 May 1946. It was awarded to all French soldiers or civilians who fought against the Axis forces or their representatives. In special cases, it could be awarded to foreign nationals fulfilling the same requirements.
Hexagonal in shape and struck in bronze, its obverse shows a cockerel with its wings spread, superimposed on a Cross of Lorraine and standing on a broken chain. On the reverse are the words “French Republic” and “War of 1939-1945”.
Its ribbon has a string of red Vs down the middle, symbolising “Victory”.
A distinctive feature of this medal is the large number of medal bars (23) to decorate its ribbon, denoting the campaigns in which its recipient participated. Among them was the “Norway” bar, awarded to soldiers who took part in the operations in that country between 12 April and 17 June 1940. This was the bar that was worn by the French soldiers who participated in the Narvik operations.
Norway also awarded decorations to these French soldiers.
Established on 25 September 1945, the Participation Medal was designed to honour the soldiers, members of the merchant navy and Norwegian civilians who fought in the war, together with Norwegian Resistance fighters. It was also awarded to Allied soldiers who fought in Norway in 1940 and to those who took part in the country’s liberation.
The medal’s obverse presents the Norwegian coat of arms surrounded by the dates 9 April 1940 to 8 May 1945, while its reverse bears flags encircled by a chain and the inscription “Deltager I Kampen” (Participant in the fighting).
This medal was awarded to the French soldiers who participated in the Narvik operation.
Established on 21 May 1941 by King Haakon VII, in exile in London, the War Cross was awarded to Norwegian soldiers and civilians and to Allied soldiers for extraordinary acts of bravery in the fighting against the enemy.
It is a single-sided bronze cross, whose four tips end in clover leaves and with the Norwegian arms at its centre.
Norway’s highest distinction for bravery, it was awarded to just 273 soldiers and units during the war, among them 51 French soldiers and seven French units. On 7 June 1945, before the Royal Palace in Oslo, the emblems of the French units that took part in the Battles of Narvik were decorated by the king: the flags of the Chasseurs Alpins and 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13th DBLE), as well as the pennants of the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 13th DBLE and the 6th, 12th and 14th Battalions of Chasseurs Alpins.