Torstein Raaby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Torstein Raaby
Torstein Raaby
Historical photo of Torstein Raaby
Born (1918-10-06)October 6, 1918
Dverberg, Vesterålen
Died March 23, 1964(1964-03-23) (aged 45)
Nationality Norwegian
Occupation Radio operator
Resistance fighter
Known for Crew member on the Kon-Tiki

Torstein Pettersen Raaby (6 October 1918 — 23 March 1964) was a Norwegian telegrapher, resistance fighter and explorer.


Raaby was born in Dverberg, Vesterålen. During World War II he became a Secret Intelligence Service officer, having entered training in 1943.[1] 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[edit]

In 1947, he took part in Thor Heyerdahl's "Kon-Tiki" expedition from Peru to Polynesia as a radio operator,[1] 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.

Raaby died in Greenland of a heart condition while en route on an expedition to reach the North Pole on skis.[1] Torstein Raaby is buried at his birthplace of Dverberg on Andøya.

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nøkleby, Berit (1995). "Raaby, Torstein". In Dahl, Hans Fredrik. Norsk krigsleksikon 1940-45. Oslo: Cappelen. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 

Related Literature[edit]

  • Heyerdahl, Thor (1950) The Kon-Tiki Expedition (George Allen & Unwin. translated by F.H. Lyon)