In the State Council held at the Royal Palace on Friday, the last before the summer, it was decided that Norway shall resume awarding the War Cross for military gallantry. The War Cross is first on the list of the Norwegian decorations and has not been awarded since 1949.
The War Cross was instituted by King Haakon VII on 23 May 1941 and was originally given for both military and civilian gallantry. After the institution of Haakon VII’s Freedom Cross in 1945, the War Cross was limited to military deeds. The War Cross was given to 273 people; 147 of them Norwegians. If a person was awarded the War Cross a second time, a sword was added to it. Gunnar Sønsteby, now 91, is the only person to have the War Cross with three swords, meaning that he has received the War Cross four times. Sønsteby has been among those speaking up in favour of resuming awards of the War Cross. It will now be possibly to award the War Cross to surviving veterans, but also posthumously to dead resistance fighters and to soldiers taking part in the wars Norway have been involved with in the last decade.
It has in recent years been commented upon the fact that no Communist partisans were awarded the War Cross after the Second World War. In Klassekampen on Saturday the Minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen, mentioned Asbjørn Sunde, the leader of the so-called “Osvald Group”, a group of Communist resistance fighters, as one person who may now be awarded the War Cross posthumously.