SHAKO: The King’s Guard

June 17, 2019 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

Guarding History, Too

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(Photo by John M. Doyle, copyright 4GWAR Blog)

OSLO, Norway — Members of His Majesty the King’s Guard march to their posts at Oslo’s historic Akershus Fortress Saturday, June 15. Your 4GWAR editor was touring the medieval complex when these troops passed by.

Norway’s King H Håkon V began building Akershus Castle and Fortress in 1299. The medieval castle had a strategic location and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a Renaisssance castle and royal residence.

The complex today contains the castle, the Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum.  The Resistance Museum chronicles the heroic and harrowing  civilian and military struggle against the five-year Nazi occupation that began when the Germans invaded Norway on on April 9th, 1940.

The King’s Guard dates back to the late 1850s, when the Royal Norwegian Company of Marksmen was established to enhance security around King Oscar I in Stockholm (Sweden). The company was renamed His Majesty The King’s Guard in 1866, and was transferred to Kristiania (now Oslo) toward the end of the union between Sweden and Norway. Since 1888 the King’s Guard has been on duty at the Royal Palace and other Royal residences 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, according to the Royal House of Norway website.

Today the King’s Guard has permanent sentry duty at the Royal Palace, Skaugum Estate, Bygdø Royal Farm when in use, Akershus Fortress and Huseby military camp.

Your 4GWAR Editor is in Norway for the Climate Force Arctic Expedition 2019 to Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of Norway — and a hotspot in both military and climate  strategies.  The rapid melting of sea ice in the Arctic and the opening of new sea lanes has raised U.S. Coast Guard concerns about safety, pollution and search and rescue operations. It has also sparked national security, environmental and economic concerns among the nations bordering the Arctic.

Longtime visitors to the blog may recall 4GWAR has been writing about the Arctic for nearly a decade. We’ll be so far north over the next week that internet connection will be weak, if not impossible, so we’ll be out of touch until late June.

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SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

 

Entry filed under: Arctic, ARCTIC NATION, HIGH NORTH, SHAKO, Traditions, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (June 14, 2019) FRIDAY FOTO (June 21/22, 2019)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rebecca Campbell  |  June 18, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Don’t forget the role of the King’s Guard in the desperate first hours and days of the German invasion of 1940 when their determined resistance prevented German troops from seizing the Norwegian King and Government, thereby ensuring Norway fought on, although the King, Government, Navy, Merchant Navy, Air Force were forced into exile in the UK from where they fought on until final victory, while large parts of the demobilised, conscript, army formed the underground MilOrg resistance network at home.

    Reply
  • 2. John M. Doyle  |  June 21, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Thanks Rebecca, and sorry for the tardy reply (internet’s a bit spotty aboard ship at 80 degrees North Lat.) You’re quite right and thank you for bringing up the Army’s role in WWII. Much of what you mention is addressed in Oslo’s Resistance Museum and also in the gripping 2016 Norwegian film, “The King’s Choice.”

    Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4353996/

    Reply

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