Secret WWII mission that put the first Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar ...

Secret WWII mission that put the first Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar ...
Secret WWII mission that put the first Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar ...

A World War Two hero led a secret mission to a Norwegian island which saw him return with Christmas Trees given as gifts to the British Government - sparking an annual tradition which continues to this day.   

Lieutenant Donald Buller evaded German detection to deliver radio equipment to Allied agents on the heavily-patrolled Norwegian island of Batalden in late 1943.

Nazi Germany had occupied Norway following their invasion in April 1940.  

After lying under camouflaged nets for 24 hours, his Motor Torpedo Boat returned to Britain with several festive trees lashed to its deck. 

These were gifts from the Norwegian resistance to the British Government as a token of gratitude for the UK's support during the war. 

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Whilst one was put up in Trafalgar Square, another was given to the exiled Norwegian King, Haakon VII, who was living in the UK.  

The move sparked a tradition which has seen a gifted Christmas tree from Norway put up in Trafalgar Square every year since 1947.  

Later in World War Two, Lieutenant Buller destroyed four enemy vessels off the Dutch coast in one outing, earning a Distinguished Service Cross for his exploits.

His medals are now being sold at auction.  

World War Two hero Lieutenant Donald BUller led a secret mission to a Norwegian island which saw him return with Christmas Trees given as gifts to the British Government - sparking an annual tradition which continues to this day

World War Two hero Lieutenant Donald BUller led a secret mission to a Norwegian island which saw him return with Christmas Trees given as gifts to the British Government - sparking an annual tradition which continues to this day

Lieutenant Buller's crew onboard torpedo boat M.T.B 666 were given Christmas trees as gifts to take back to the UK. One was put up in Trafalgar Square, sparking a tradition which continues to this day. A tree has been put up every year without fail since 1947. Above: The tree in December 1948

Lieutenant Buller's crew onboard torpedo boat M.T.B 666 were given Christmas trees as gifts to take back to the UK. One was put up in Trafalgar Square, sparking a tradition which continues to this day. A tree has been put up every year without fail since 1947. Above: The tree in December 1948

Lieutenant Buller's luck turned when his vessel was destroyed and sunk by a shell in a ferocious firefight in July 1944.

He was pulled out of the water by an enemy trawler and spent the rest of the conflict as a Prisoner of War at Marlag PoW camp, in north-west Germany.

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Whilst interned, he survived a dreaded forced march to Lubeck, northern Germany, in early 1945 in freezing conditions. 

His medals are tipped to fetch £3,200 when they go under the hammer with auctioneers Spink & Son, of London.

They have been consigned from the family of Chief Gunner Peter Kirk, another member of the Coastal Forces during World War Two.

He was a keen collector who acquired medals from his comrades.

Marcus Budgen, head of the medals department, said: 'The awards of Lieutenant-Commander Buller give a rare insight into the remarkable actions of Coastal Forces - "The Spitfires of the Sea" - and shed light on their hair-raising exploits.

'His participation in secret operations in the Nordics is magnificent and his sheer grit and bravery should be reflected in a strong price when they are offered.' 

Lieutenant Donald Buller evaded detection to deliver radio equipment to Allied agents on the heavily-patrolled Norwegian west coast in late 1943

Lieutenant Donald Buller evaded detection to deliver radio equipment to Allied agents on the heavily-patrolled Norwegian west coast in late 1943

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