As the Caithness at War project progresses, we intend to run adhoc events to further education of the topic.

When events are planned, details will appear here and also on the Caithness at War Facebook pages. To be kept up to date via email, submit your details via the Be Kept Up to Date page.



The official opening of the trail will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Wick Airport.

This is a public event and all area invited.



To date, we’ve held two events in the form of illustrated talks, in Reiss and Staxigoe village halls.  Military Historian Dr Bruce Tocher led both events to share and explain his research around Operation Freshman with the first talk looking at the operational and technical details and the second covering the war crimes investigations and trials that followed.

  • In July 1942, the British War Cabinet decided to try to destroy the heavy water production facilities at the Norsk Hydro facility near Vemork, Norway. The reason was the concern that the heavy water was being used as part of Nazi Germany´s program to develop a nuclear bomb. After much discussion, it was decided to use specially trained Royal Engineers to carry out the task. They were to be flown to a landing site on the Hardanger Plateau, near the Vemork facility, using two Horsa gliders, each towed by a Halifax bomber.Tragically, due to failures in the navigation and guidance systems, and poor weather, the aircraft failed to identify the landing zones and were forced to turn back. On the return journey one Halifax and both Horsa gliders crashed in SW Norway, killing 18 of the 41 men onboard.During the subsequent days and weeks, the 23 surviving soldiers were executed by the Germans.At the end of the war, the fate of the Freshman soldiers and airmen was discovered by special teams set up to investigate potential war crimes in Norway, and a number of Germans were brought to justice. Of these, two were executed, and the remainder sentenced to long prison sentences.

For more information see Sinclair’s Bay Development Trust’s Panel covering Operation Freshman and also our Facebook post highlighting the Operation Freshman casualties following the attempted raid.