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The Fallen St Olav's Church

Plaque: The Fallen


Vi er sa fa her i landet, hver fallen er bror og venn. Vi har de dode med oss. Den dag vi kommer igjen.

Nordahl Grieg, 17 Mai 1940

{Translates as:}
The Fallen
So few we are in our country
We are kin with all our slain;
And the dead shall be beside us
The day we return again.

17 May is the Norwegian's National Day, celebrating the signing of their constitution in 1814.

The quotation comes from a poem entitled "May 17, 1940" (Today the flagpole stands naked ...) and was read on May 17 1940, in a broadcast from Tromsø radio (broadcast from a part of Norway not under occupation). We know that Grieg was in London in 1940 since he married here that year (though we cannot discover the exact date). We wonder if the ceremony took place at this church. That would explain this plaque being here.

2021: We originally published this memorial with an unsatisfactory translation of the Grieg poem, and a plea for a Norwegian consultant. Two years later, in 2021, Johanne Elster Hanson contacted us with the lovely translation given at "Inscription" and an offer to be that Norwegian consultant. We can safely say that she will not be overworked but it's good to have her in post for the next time we need her services.

Johanne tells us that the translation is by G. M. Gathorne-Hardy and she found it in the book 'All That is Mine Demand: War Poems of Nordahl Grieg' (Hodder & Stoughton LTD, London, 1944). She writes "As a native Norwegian I find Gathorne-Hardy's translation quite remarkable".

Site: St Olav's Church (8 memorials)

SE16, St Olav's Square

St Olav's Church was designed by John Love Seaton Dahl. Crown Prince Olav was present at the laying of the foundation stone, 1926, and then at the consecration, 1927. During WW2 this was the church used by King Haakon VII and the Norwegian government in exile. It is one of over 30 churches around the world run by the Norwegian Church Abroad, also known as The Norwegian Seamen’s Church.

Serendipitously the Google Streetview of September 2017 captured the Haakon bust covered with a veil, presumably just hours before the photo captured here.

The Ebenezer Church plaque is in the garden in front of the church in the centre of the northern wall.

The Fallen plaque is laid into the ground of the garden, at the foot of the WW1 memorial.

The three 'St Olav' plaques are attached low on the west front of the building.

At Surrey Docks we have an 1889 map which shows the road layouts before the Rotherhithe Tunnel roundabout arrived.

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This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
The Fallen

Information Subjects commemorated

Nordahl Grieg

Norwegian poet, novelist, dramatist, journalist and political activist. Our ...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
The Fallen

Information Also at this site

Show all 7

Ebenezer Church - Prince Oscar

This is the foundation stone from the Norwegian church that preceded St Olavs...

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Haakon VII

From Royal House of Norway: "The bust of King Haakon ... is a variation of th...

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King Olav V of Norway

{Beneath a bas-relief of the king:} Olav V, Norges Konge, 80 år 1983. H.M. Ko...

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St Olav's Church - 1926 - foundation stone

Den Norske Siomannsmision, St Olavs Kirke Denne Kirkes grunnsten blev lagt av...

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St Olav's Church - 1977

Kronprins Olav var tilstede ved kirkens innvielse, 26 Juni 1927 Kong Olav V B...

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