Historical photo of Torstein Raaby
October 6, 1918|
|Died||March 23, 1964
|Known for||Crew member on the Kon-Tiki|
Raaby was born in Dverberg, Vesterålen. During World War II he became a Secret Intelligence Service officer, having entered training in 1943. He spent ten months in hiding in the village of Alta, sending detailed reports on German warships and their radar installations to England via a hidden radio set surreptitiously connected to the antenna of a German officer. His reports were instrumental helping the RAF to find and permanently disable the battleship Tirpitz. For that and other undercover operations during the war, Raaby was awarded the Royal Norwegian Olav Military Cross. In 1944, he was awarded Norway's highest decoration for military gallantry, the War Cross with sword. Raaby held the rank of Second Lieutenant (Fenrik).
Kon-Tiki expedition and later years
In 1947, he took part in Thor Heyerdahl's "Kon-Tiki" expedition from Peru to Polynesia as a radio operator, exchanging frequent messages with amateur radio enthusiasts in Chile, the USA, and even Norway, on a tiny 6-watt transmitter.
After the expedition he returned to northern Norway, until he, again as a radio operator, lived on the remote Bear Island, far north of the Arctic Circle. From 1959 to 1961 he was a station controller of the radio station on the Arctic island of Jan Mayen.
Honours and awards
- Order of St. Olav
- War Cross with sword (Krigskorset med sverd) (1944)
- Distinguished Service Order (United Kingdom)
- King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom (United Kingdom)
- Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 (France)
- Heyerdahl, Thor (1950) The Kon-Tiki Expedition (George Allen & Unwin. translated by F.H. Lyon)
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