Seafarers at War

In the midst of battle without military training

In this exhibition you will learn about how the First and the Second World War affected the lives of seafarers who worked at sea, and about society at home in Norway.

In both the First and the Second World War, Norwegian ships were targets for the warring parties. Wartime sailors were ordinary seafarers who were working to put bread on the table or were following the call of adventure, but suddenly found themselves in a war for which they were totally unprepared.

Threats at sea were constant and unpredictable. As well as their ordinary work on board, seafarers had to be ready for enemy attack at any time. They had to learn to watch their posts in the engine room and on the bridge while under attack, man the guns on deck, and manoeuvre during convoy runs.

We like to see them as broad-shouldered adult men, but many of the seafarers who sailed on Norwegian ships during the First and Second World Wars had only just turned 16 when they got their first job.