Thorleiv Røhn

Last updated

Thorleiv Bugge Røhn

Thorleiv Bugge Rohn with King Haakon VII Coronation Medal (1907).jpg

Thorleiv Bugge Røhn in 1907
Photographer: Gustav Borgen
Born(1881-07-23)23 July 1881
Kristiania, Norway
Died 20 September 1963(1963-09-20) (aged 82)
Meldal, Norway

Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium

Service/branch Norwegian army coat of arms.svg Norwegian Army
Force Publique
Years of service Norwegian Army: 19031940
Force Publique: 19091915
Rank Major (Norwegian Army)
Commandant (Force Publique)
Awards Haakon VII Coronation Medal
Knight of the Royal Order of the Lion
Belgian Congo Silver Service Star
Knight, 2nd class of the Order of Saint Stanislaus
Thorleiv Røhn
Medal record
Men's gymnastics
Representing Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
Intercalated Games
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1906 Athens Team

Thorleiv Bugge Røhn (23 July 1881 20 September 1963) was a Norwegian Army officer, who as a gymnast was a member of the team that won the gold medal in the team competition at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, Greece.

Gold medal medal, generally awarded for first place or a high achievement

A gold medal is a medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture.

1906 Intercalated Games International multi-sport event celebrated in Athens (Greece) in 1906

The 1906 Intercalated Games or 1906 Olympic Games was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated in Athens, Greece. They were at the time considered to be Olympic Games and were referred to as the "Second International Olympic Games in Athens" by the International Olympic Committee. Whilst medals were distributed to the participants during these games, the medals are not officially recognized by the IOC today and are not displayed with the collection of Olympic medals at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.


Facing limited military career prospects in Norway, Røhn sought better fortunes abroad. Having been involved in a failed business venture in Cuba in 19071908, he joined the Belgian colonial army Force Publique in 1909. He served in the Belgian Congo until being ordered back into active Norwegian Army service in 1915. Having been a member of the Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling , Røhn was convicted of treason in the Norwegian post-Second World War legal purge.

<i>Force Publique</i> military unit

The Force Publique was a gendarmerie and military force in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1885, through the period of Belgian colonial rule. After independence, the FP was retitled as the Congolese National Army or ANC.

Belgian Congo former Belgian colony corresponding to modern Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Belgian Congo was a Belgian colony in Central Africa from 1908 until independence in 1960. The former colony adopted its present-day name, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in 1964.

Nasjonal Samling Norwegian political party

Nasjonal Samling was a Norwegian far-right party active from 1933 to 1945. It was the only legal party of Norway from 1942 to 1945. It was founded by former minister of defence Vidkun Quisling and a group of supporters such as Johan Bernhard Hjort – who led the party's paramilitary wing (Hirden) for a short time before leaving the party in 1937 after various internal conflicts. The party celebrated its founding on 17 May, Norway's national holiday, but was founded on 13 May 1933.

Personal life

He was born in Kristiania, Norway. His parents were Ole Thorstensen Røhn and Maren Elise Bugge, who were both teachers. [1] [2] [3] In the years 1898 to 1900 he attended Aars og Voss' School, [4] gaining his examen artium academic certification. [5] [1] His father died in 1899 and his mother in 1944. [6] Two of his sisters were killed in a British bombing raid on Oslo in 1944. [7] After retiring, Røhn moved to the village of Meldal, where he died in 1963. He never married. [7]

Oslo Place in Østlandet, Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence, and with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 it functioned as a co-official capital. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city's name was spelled Kristiania between 1877 and 1897 by state and municipal authorities. In 1925 the city was renamed Oslo.

Examen artium was the name of the academic certification conferred in Denmark and Norway, qualifying the student for admission to university studies. Examen artium was originally introduced as the entrance exam of the University of Copenhagen in 1630. The University of Copenhagen was the only university of Denmark-Norway until The Royal Frederick University in Christiania was founded in 1811.

Meldal Municipality in Trøndelag, Norway

Meldal is a municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Orkdalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Meldal. Other villages include Løkken Verk, Bjørnli, Å, and Storås.

Military career

In Norway

Thorleiv Bugge Rohn in a fencing uniform in 1907 Thorleiv Bugge Rohn (1907).jpg
Thorleiv Bugge Røhn in a fencing uniform in 1907

In 1903 he graduated from the upper section of the Norwegian Military Academy. The same year he became a first lieutenant in the Kristiansandske Brigade. In the years 1905 to 1907 he attended the Norwegian Military College, but left the school three months before graduation, citing personal reasons. [1]

Norwegian Military Academy

The Norwegian Military Academy (Krigsskolen), in Oslo, educates officers of the Norwegian Army and serves as the King's Royal Guard. The academy was established in 1750, and is the oldest institution for higher education in Norway. The current commandant is Colonel Erlend Bekkestad.

The Norwegian Military College was a military educational institution in Norway.

He transferred to the Trondhjemske Brigade in 1915, and was promoted to the rank of captain on 11 August 1916. Between 1916 and 1930, he was the commander of the 5th Heavy Machine Gun Company. From 1925 to 1930 he was also the commander of the garrison company in Trondheim. In 1930 he took command of 12th Company of the 12th Infantry Regiment, the same year transferring to the reserves. [1] [6] [8] In 1930 he twice applied unsuccessfully for a promotion to the rank of major, and the command of a regular army battalion. [9] As a captain in the reserve forces, he applied unsuccessfully for the rank of lieutenant colonel, and the command of the landvern battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment, in 1933. [10] In 1936 he was promoted to the rank of major, [6] He never advanced further in military rank, even though he applied twice more for a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His penultimate attempt at promotion to lieutenant colonel occurred in 1938, when he applied for a promotion and the command of the landvern battalion of the 13th Infantry Regiment. [11] The final application he handed in was rejected by the Norwegian authorities in 1939, when he applied for a promotion to lieutenant colonel and the command of either the 11th or the 12th Infantry Regiments' landvern battalion. [12]

Trondheim City in Norway

Trondheim is a city and municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. It has a population of 193,501, and is the third-most populous municipality in Norway, although the fourth largest urban area. Trondheim lies on the south shore of Trondheim Fjord at the mouth of the River Nidelva. The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), St. Olavs University Hospital and other technology-oriented institutions.

A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when a nation mobilizes for total war or to defend against invasion. Reserve forces are generally not considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.

Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large-scale, low-strength fortifications. In German, the word means "defence of the country"; but the term as applied to an insurrectional militia is very ancient, and lantveri are mentioned in Baluzii Capitularia, as quoted in Hallam's Middle Ages, i. 262, 10th edition.

In his spare time, he held lectures on the subjects of defence, sports and shooting. [6]

Belgian service

In 1909 he entered the service of the Belgian colonial army Force Publique , living in Belgium and in the Belgian Congo. [4] Initially serving as a first lieutenant, he advanced to the rank of Commandant before he was ordered by the Norwegian authorities to leave Belgian service in 1915. [1] No longer supernumerary, due to the Norwegian Army needing more officers during the First World War, Røhn was instructed to resume his regular duties with the 5th Brigade from 1 July 1915. [13] [4] Røhn was one of 200-300 Norwegians who joined the Force Publique through its history, and one of 21 Norwegians to attain the rank of Commandant in the Belgian colonial army. [14]

Sports career

The Norwegian 1906 gymnastics team. Rohn is the second from the right, mid row. Athen-troppen 1906.jpg
The Norwegian 1906 gymnastics team. Røhn is the second from the right, mid row.

In 1906, Røhn was a member of the 20-strong Norwegian team that won the gold medal in the team event in gymnastics at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, Greece. The team won the first ever gold medal for Norway in an Olympic competition, [7] [15] having trained together for one month before travelling to Greece. [16] The press at the time praised the Norwegian team as "the world's first gymnasts" and described them as "flying marble statues". [2] No individual prizes were awarded at the games. A single gold medal, a silver cup and branches of a wild-olive tree were sent to the Norwegian Gymnastics and Sports Association, and initially stored at the Bergens kunsindustrimuseum in Bergen. The silver cup, a gift from King George I of Greece, was, after arrival in Norway, inscribed at the base with the names of the gymnasts from the 1906 team. [17] At a national level, he represented the Oslo-based club Oslo Turnforening . [18]

In the shooting sport he represented Gauldal skyttarsamlag, an association of rifle clubs in the Gauldal region, in the pre-Second World War years. [19]

Cuban business venture

In 1907 Røhn was granted leave from his military service. [2] On 7 September 1907, he travelled from Kristiania to Cuba. He had invested in a stake in the 4.32 square kilometres (1.67 sq mi) "La Liza" plantation, near the city of Baracoa, which had been previously purchased by other Norwegians. The intention of the business venture was to grow crops of tobacco, cocoa, bananas and coconuts. In addition to the crops, the Norwegians planned to cut timber and raise swine for sale at the local markets. The enterprise failed to make a profit, and Røhn returned to Norway in late 1908. [20]

Second World War

Røhn was a member of the Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling . [21] [Note 1] In the legal purge after the end of the Second World War, Røhn was convicted of treason against Norway. [23] Because of his treason conviction, Røhn was banned from membership in the Norwegian Congo Veterans' Association (Norwegian : Norske kongoveteraners forening, French : Section de Norvège des Vétérans Coloniaux), and also lost the right to a pension from the Belgian state. [24]

Honours and awards

Røhn was awarded the Haakon VII Coronation Medal in silver, for having participated in the coronation of Haakon VII of Norway in Trondheim in 1906. [1]

For his services in the Congo, the Belgian authorities made Røhn a Knight of the Royal Order of the Lion, as well as awarding him the Belgian Congo Silver Service Star. He was also a Knight, 2nd class of the Russian Order of Saint Stanislaus. [1]

Related Research Articles

Jens Thiis Norwegian art historian

Jens Thiis was a Norwegian art historian, conservator and a prominent museum director. He was conservator at the Nordenfjeld Industrial Arts Museum in Trondheim beginning in 1895 and director of the National Gallery in Oslo from 1908 to 1941.

The National Socialist Movement of Norway, formerly Zorn 88, is a Norwegian neo-Nazi group with an estimated fifty members, led by Erik Rune Hansen. Founded in 1988, it is a secretive group with tight membership regulation.

Nicolay Nicolaysen Norwegian antiquarian and archeologist

Nicolay Nicolaysen was a Norwegian archaeologist and Norway's first state employed antiquarian. He is arguably best known for his excavations of the ship burial at Gokstad in 1880.

Tore Pryser WWII historian

Tore Pryser is a Norwegian historian, who has served as professor at the Lillehammer University College since 1993.

Odd Erling Melsom was a Norwegian military officer and newspaper editor.

Axel Drolsum Norwegian librarian

Axel Charlot Drolsum was a Norwegian librarian, who headed the University Library of Oslo from 1876 to 1922.

Arbeideren was a daily newspaper published in Oslo, Norway.

Kjeld F. K. Stub was a Norwegian priest and politician.

Carl Bonnevie Norwegian politician and civil servant

Carl Emil Christian Bonnevie was a Norwegian jurist and peace activist. He also served as a Member of the Norwegian Parliament.

Johan Tidemann Sverre was a Norwegian military officer and sports official.

Kristian Rikardsen Løken was a highly decorated Norwegian military officer who served in the Belgian Force Publique from 1907 to 1917, fighting German colonial forces in East Africa from 1914 to 1917, and went on to command a Norwegian Army infantry brigade during the 1940 Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War.

Ole Andreas Øverland Norwegian historian

Ole Andreas Øverland was a Norwegian historian, writer and illustrator. He was characterized by Terje Bratberg as "one of the most prolific historians Norway has produced". He is best known for writing and illustrating two editions of a history of Norway; Illustreret Norges Historie

Torgils Lovra was a Norwegian editor.

Thorleif Dahl (jurist) Norwegian lawyer (1907-1997)

Thorleif Dahl was a Norwegian jurist who served as a civil servant representing Nasjonal Samling during the Second World War.

Ole de Vries Hassel was a Norwegian jurist and civil servant who represented Nasjonal Samling during the Second World War.

The National Socialist Workers' Party of Norway was a minor extraparliamentary political party in Norway. The party was founded in 1930, and dissolved in May 1940.

Stein Barth-Heyerdahl was a Norwegian art painter and national socialist. A reluctant member of Nasjonal Samling (NS) briefly after its founding in 1933–34 and from 1941, he was mostly active in the National Socialist Workers' Party of Norway (NNSAP) during the 1930s. He was editor of the short-lived NNSAP-paper Nasjonalsocialisten in 1934–35. Barth-Heyerdahl lived in Berlin for extended periods during World War II, and became part of the circle around the NS-critical periodical Ragnarok, which espoused pan-German and neopagan ideologies. Along with Per Imerslund, he was one of Norway's strongest proponents of racialist pagan ideas.

Bjarne Keyser Barth was a Norwegian fortress artillery officer. A military officer from 1914, Barth took part in Norwegian neutrality protection duties during the First World War, mostly at Oscarsborg Fortress. Remaining in military service after the end of the First World War, he served at several different Norwegian fortresses, finally at Fossumstrøket Fortress in south-eastern Norway.

Kristian Brinch Koren

Kristian Brinch Koren was a Norwegian historian and archivist. He was appointed national archivist of Norway in 1912, serving from 1913 to 1933.

Jacob Nicolai Wilse Norwegian priest and meteorologist

Jacob Nicolai Wilse was a parish priest in Spydeberg and Eidsberg, Norway. He was born in Lemvig, Denmark and is known for writing topographic works with extensive descriptions of travel in Norway in the 1790s. Wilse is considered Østfold county's first significant cultural researcher and one of the fathers of Norwegian village history. His friend Hans Strøm also wrote topographical works for Sunnmøre and Eiker. Like Strøm, Wilse authored one of the first descriptions of the relationship between nature and human activity. He was also an Enlightenment-era philosopher, a so-called "potato priest". Wilse was an early supporter of Norway having its own university, and he also envisioned a women's university.



  1. Nasjonal Samling , led by Vidkun Quisling, actively collaborated with the Germans throughout their 1940–1945 occupation of Norway. After the end of the Second World War the members of the party were charged with treason. [22]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Barth, Bjarne Keyser, ed. (1930). "Røhn, T. B.". Norges militære embedsmenn 1929 (in Norwegian). Oslo: A. M. Hanche. p. 508.
  2. 1 2 3 Lunde 1907, pp. 136137
  3. "Røhn, Ole Thorstensen". Deichmanske Bibliotek register til Norges tidsskrifter: II. Norsk biografi (til 31/12 1909) (in Norwegian). Kristiania: Cammermeyers Boghandel. 1911. p. 460.
  4. 1 2 3 "Røhn, Torleiv Bugge". Studentene fra 1900: biografiske oplysninger samlet til 25-aars-jubilæet 1925 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Grøndahl & Søn. 1925. p. 508.
  5. Aars og Voss' skole 1913, p. 121
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Røhn, Torleiv Bugge". Studentene fra 1900: biografiske opplysninger samlet til 50-års-jubileet 1950 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Det Mallingske Boktrykkeri. 1925. p. 141.
  7. 1 2 3 Stenersen 1999, p. 155
  8. "Statsraad igaar". Trondhjems Adresseavis (in Norwegian). Trondheim. 12 August 1916. p. 3. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  9. Stortinget 1931, pp. 56, 60
  10. Stortinget 1934, p. 52
  11. Stortinget 1939, p. 57
  12. Stortinget 1940, p. 52
  13. "Statsraad igaar. Mange embedsutnævelser". Trondhjems Adresseavis (in Norwegian). Trondheim. 5 June 1915. p. 6. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  14. Morel and Morgenstierne 2002, p. 202
  15. Jorsett 1996, pp. 2930, 201
  16. Andersen 1951, p. 47
  17. Heyerdahl 1991, p. 79
  18. "Thorleiv Røhn". . Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  19. Vigander 1933, pp. 264265
  20. Stenersen 1999, pp. 46, 48, 80, 8990, 92, 155
  21. "De norske kongofarerne". Kongelig slaveleir: Historien om et terrorregime (in Norwegian). Forlaget Fritt og vilt. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  22. Borge, Baard (1995). "NS, Nasjonal Samling". In Dahl, Hans Fredrik. Norsk krigsleksikon 1940-45 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Cappelen. pp. 304–305. ISBN   8202141389 . Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  23. Morel and Morgenstierne 2002, p. 194
  24. Morel and Morgenstierne 2002, pp. 193-194