from factory ship to farm to Buckie slip
Kristian Henry Spetalen was born at Tjølling, Larvik in Vestfold, on 8 August 1899. He was the son of Ole Kristian Olsen and Antonie Kristiansdatter (Klåstad).
We know little of early life. He was, however, on board D/S Kosmos II, a large factory ship (owned in Sandefjord) during the 1939-40 whaling season when Norway was still neutral. The boat had just arrived in Teneriffe on 9 April 1940 when the German invasion of Norway took place. A week latter, Kosmos II departed for Gibraltar. After a number of other trips, Kosmos II eventually arrived at Plymouth on 2 June 1940..
It is at this point that Henry Spetalen appears to have left the ship. The circumstances since he embarked the previous winter had changed; Norway had been overrun and the government was in exile in the United Kingdom. Henry opted to stay in the UK too.
He was registered in London for the duration of the war with the number 2463, 34112. His movements are unclear over the summer of 1940 but, like many Norwegians, he doubtless underwent checks to see that he was who he said he was and posed no danger to the United Kingdom.
From the beginning of September 1940, he was employed as a farm labourer in Cheshire and continued in this for a year until 17 September 1941. At this point, his maritime background in the merchant navy proved more valuable and he was moved to Inverness and for the next two years worked at the harbour there.
From the end of December 1943 through until 1946, Henry Spetalen was employed on repairs at the Royal Norwegian Slip and Repair Shops in Buckie.
During his time in Buckie, he may well have stayed with Mary Smith and her family in High Street, for her descendants have a photo of Henry, on which he had written on the back.
After the war, Henry returned to Torsøy near Larvik as the 1947 phone directory shows (he had often used the surname of Hovland additionally). Henry had married in 1932 Marie Kjønniksen (1912-1998) and they had one son. Henry Spetalen died in 1971.