1939 - 1945


Norway's WW2 Medals

Short Historical Note

Norway was invaded by German armed forces on 8 - 9 April 1940 and immediately after its occupation an active underground resistance movement came into being and was maintained throughout the war. Those Norwegians that had escaped, formed active service units within the Allied forces including the Mercantile Marine. During the war a collaborationist government was set up and lead by Vidkun Quisling.

The War Cross

War Cross with sword device

This cross (first in the above row of medals) was instituted in 1941 in recognition of conspicuous bravery and leadership. It could be awarded to personnel of the Norwegian armed forces serving with the Allies, Norwegians engaged in military or civil defence at home or allied military personnel. This cross could be awarded posthumously.


The St. Olav's Medal with Oak Leaves

St. Olav's Medal with Oakleaves

The medal itself (second in the above row of medals) was instituted in March 1942 for meritorious services but, later that year, oak leaves were also authorised for personal contributions to the Norwegian cause in the war. Multiple citations were represented by adding further sprays of oak leaves on the ribbon.


The King Haakon VII's Freedom Cross

King Haakon VII Freedom Cross

King Haakon VII instituted bot the Freedom Cross (third in the above row of medals) and the Freedom Medal (see below) after Norway's liberation in 1945. Both were awarded to Norwegian and Allied service personnel or civilians for outstanding services during the war. The reverse of the cross has "Alt for Norge" and "7 Juni 1945" on the cross arms.


The War Medal

War Medal, obverse War Medal, reverse

Instituted in 1941, this medal was awarded to Norwegian or Allied personnel and to civilians who had served meritoriously in the war or in the defence of Norway. This medal could be awarded posthumously.


The King Haakon VII's Freedom Medal

Freedom Medal, obverse Freedom Medal, reverse

As with the Freedom Cross above, this medal was awarded for outstanding services during the war. The revers is totally unattractive.


The Participation Medal 1940-45

Participation Medal, obverse Participation Medal, reverse
Instituted after the war, this medal was a reward to those who had served valiantly either at home and/or abroad : criteria for this medal include military personnel or civilians (e.g. hospital personnel) that served during the initial stages of  the war in Norway before its occupation (April, May, June 1940) for minimum 5 days and those that joined the Norwegian forces or Merchant Navy in the UK or the USA after the occupation of Norway and served for a minimum of 5 months. Members of the Homefront Forces (underground members in Norway) who served for a minimum of 4 months prior to 8 July 1945 were also entitled to this medal. Those that served both in the first months of the war on Norwegian soil and escaped to join and serve in the Norwegian forces abroad were entitled to wear a bronze rosette on the medal's ribbon.
The dates on the obverse are "9 April 1940" and "8 Mai 1945", indicating respectively the invasion and the liberation of Norway.


The King Haakon VII's 70th Birthday Medal

Haakon's 70th Birthday Medal, obverse Haakon's 70th Birthday Medal, reverse

Members of the Norwegian Forces that were serving on 3 August 1942 were awarded this medal. It commemorates the 70th birthday of the King.


The Norwegian Red Cross Medal 1940-1945

Red Cross Medal, obverse Red Cross Medal, reverse

This medal was awarded to Norwegians, Swedes and Danes in recognition of their services in helping Norwegians in POW camps etc. Strangely enough, it has never been approved for wearing on uniform.

See also an award made to a Swedish ambulance driver that transported POW's back from the German camps in which they were held. He also received a Danish decoration for his services.



During the German occupation of Norway, the Nasjonal Samling, the Norwegian collaboration party lead by Quisling, instituted a number of medals - click HERE to view them.

Many thanks to Lt.-Com. (Rtd.) Harald Hallberg, RNR, and Ragnar Nöckleby for picture material and valued assistance with the contents of these pages on Norwegian awards !

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Copyright Hendrik Meersschaert 1999, 2005 ©