Less We Forget Poppy

The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.
A Canadian Hero

Less We Forget Poppy

Chapter 6: Missing Research & Enquiry Service – M.R.E.S.

Section 6.8: Some Housekepping: M.R.E.S. Sections 13 & 17 Formally Move fron Denmark to Norway

Owing to the need to speed up work in Norway to complete activities by the end of summer, two sections that were finished work in Denmark were sent over to assist in Norway. With this move I was now 100% operating in Norway.

Section 17 arrived first from Denmark on 5th May was commanded by S/L Rideal. They travelled to Bergen, their HQ, and took up accommodation at the Bergen Plass 13, liaising with L.K.V. (Luft Kommando Vest).
(I would eventually join S/L Rideal in closing down Norway with Operation Polesearch – see next Section 6.9.)

I was formally associated with the second of the sections that arrived from Denmark. No 13 Section, commanded by S/L Young that arrived full time in country on 3rd June. S/L Young took our section straight through to Trondheim where we found offices at Kuhgaten 4 and we liaised with L.K.T. (Luft Kommando Trondheim). However as mentioned previously I had been in country progressively since February 1946 based primarily out of Trondheim. My knowledge of Norway along with the excellent performance appraisals I was pleased to get were probably some of the reasons I was later selected for Operation Polesearch .

Image of map showing location of Trondheim 1 Image of map showing location of Trondheim 2
A Panorama of (modern-day) Trondheim, the Trondheimsfjord and Surrounding Areas
(Aside: DORA 1 in Trondheim was a former German Submarine Base and Bunker built during World War II – the biggest German naval base in Northern Europe – was the home base of the 13 Unterseebootsflottille (13th submarine flotilla). The Bunker, which could be hermetically sealed when attacked, had room for 16 U–Boats and housing for many Soldiers.)
Image of map showing location of Trondheim 3
Image of halifax bomber

All sectors were area swept which entailed the Search Officers travelling up every road and making enquiries at all towns, villages and hamlets for any information which may have been overlooked during previous enquiries.

An example report, (MRES Casualty Enquiry No. N. 75) that I filed on one of my missions is shown below.
This concerned searching for a downed Halifax bomber (W 7656) off the shore of Vikhammer, on the ouskirts of Trondheim. The bomber had been on a raid against the Tirpitz in 1942. (The Tirpitz was by far the biggest German battleship in the Kriegsmarine's fleet, the surviving sister of the Bismark, and it was located in Norway during WW2. Some 823 feet long with a beam of 118 feet, 42,900 tons, four pairs of 38cm guns - a veritable killing machine designed to eliminate any threat with ruthless ease. The ship was hiding from British bombers in Fættenfjorden, which is a tributary to Åsenfjorden.)
Unfortunately I was not able to locate either the plane or the downed airmen.

( Editor's Note: Many years later, in the fall of 2014, the Halifax bomber was found 180 meters down at the bottom of a fjord near Trondheimfjorden Norway.
Many THANKS to Linzee Duncan for providing not only the NEWS Article Web Link but also the MRES documents -- thank you Linzee! )

Image of Hubert Brooks MRES Casualty Enquiry Report N 75 page 1 of 2 Image of Hubert Brooks MRES Casualty Enquiry Report N 75 page 2 of 2

Norway had seen a revolving door of Search officers. Officers were either demobilized or sent to other postings.

When my 13 Section moved full time into the country, (New Zealander) S/L E.L. Houghton had just (May 29th) taken over command at M.R.E.S. country Headquarters in Oslo (Torvgaten 17, 7th floor) from the much respected S/L Scott who was demobilized and retired to Glasgow. S/L Houghton had been one of the original 6 search officers in Norway but had transferred to Germany mid April of 1946. Now, several months later, he was back in charge.

Officers in command of the various sections were as follows:

No 3 MRES Section H.Q. Officer In Command
13 – Trondheim (historical name Trondhjem) F/L Gummer until 1–July then S/L Young until unit closed down 28–July
14 – Oslo HQ S/L E.L. Houghton
17 – Northern Norway: Bergen S/L Rideal (F/L Dix)
18 – Esbjerg Denmark A/S/L Crichton

Other Search Officers in country June 1946 while I was there included:

W/C Brinadon took over command of No 3 unit in Esbjerg Denmark on 22–July–1946 from W/C Alder. Brinadon reported into G/C Hawkins D.S.O. with his headquarters at HQ B.A.F.O.

The country was divided into three parts; a Northern zone, a Western zone, and a Southern zone. Each zone had its own headquarters but all correspondence would come through country HQ in Oslo. All original files were kept in Oslo and copies were supplied to the sections as required.

Photo Hubert Brooks and others walking by dock Photo Hubert Brooks and others on boat

Hubert Brooks Left in Photo
Photo Courtesy of: Hubert Brooks Private Collection

Hubert Brooks 3rd from Left in Photo
Photo Courtesy of: Hubert Brooks Private Collection


The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.

Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024    Ralf Brooks,   All Rights Reserved