Although at the time of the unexpected German invasion on 8th April 1941, a considerable number of new aircraft had been ordered from the United States, the main capability of the Norwegian Army Air Service and the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service consisted of 12 Gloster Gladiator fighters from the UK, and six Heinkel He 115’s supplied by Germany.
Following the invasion, the Norwegians put up a spirited defence, with seven Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters from Jagevingen claiming five enemy aircraft destroyed, whilst the Norwegians lost three, one in air combat and two to ground strafing.
However, the unequal situation led to the early defeat of the air defence capability, and when the King Haarkon and the Norwegian government gave up the fight and evacuated to the United Kingdom on 10th June 1940, they were followed by the aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service (the Army aircraft did not have the range to reach the UK, and instead made their escape to the then neutral Finland).
Once established in the UK, Norwegian air and ground crews operated within the Royal Air Force. either in “Norwegian” squadrons, or within the RAF in general, notably within Ferry Command and Bomber Command.
In fact five wholly Norwegian manned squadrons were formed, Numbers 330 and 333 operating flying boats within Coastal Command, numbers 331 and 332 operating Spitfires under Fighter Command and number 334 operating De Havilland Mosquito light bombers.
In 1940 a Norwegian training centre, known as “Little Norway” was established at RCAF Borden outside of Toronto in Canada.
In 1944, the Army Air Service and the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service were amalgamated by Norwegian Royal decree to form the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RnoAF).
In total, the Norwegians lost 335 personnel in air operations during the war years.