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After escaping the German occupation of Norway, Jan Sigurd Baalsrud fled the country in order to join the British SOE to take the fight to the enemy. In March 1943, Baalsrud and 11 other commandos were tasked with destroying a German air control tower near Bardufoss, Norway. Upon reaching the coast, the team was betrayed by their resistance contact and the mission compromised. Forced to swim in the freezing ocean and with the rest of the team either killed or captured in the ambush, Baalsrud was the only one who evaded; beginning his 2 month fight for survival. Soaking wet and missing one boot, he escaped up into a snow gully, where he shot and killed a German Gestapo officer with his pistol. Fighting frostbite and snow blindness, he marched across the freezing landscape, evading patrols and fighting the elements. In order to survive, he had to amputate his toes with a pocket knife to stop the spread of gangrene. He also survived an avalanche when he tried to climb a 3000ft mountain. Nearing death, he was lucky enough to get help from the Norwegian resistance who carried him via stretcher for 27 days across Finland and into neutral Sweden. Weighing only 80 lbs, he spent 7 months in the hospital and upon returning to England and learning how to walk again, he went back to Norway to fight the Germans until the war's end. Baalsrud was reunited with his family in Oslo after leaving them for over 5 years and was awarded the St. Olav’s Medal with Oak Branch along with other medals. taken from fb/WW2 Battles & Stories