Happy Syttende Mai!

We would like to wish a happy Nation Day to all our Norwegian  friends!

The Passing of Kaare Nevdal, RNAF Veteran

We are sorry to report that Kaare Nevadal, former Royal Norwegian Air Force veteran, passed away at his home in Rockford, Illinois, on March 13, 2021.  Just last October, Kaare had turned 100 years of age, an event which was celebrated by friends and neighbours in the community.

As noted in our October 9, 2020 post, Kaare was born near Bergen, Norway, in 1920.  After the Nazis invaded Norway, Kaare escaped by boat to the Shetland Islands, and enlisted in the Royal Norwegian Air Force.  He was sent to Canada, where he trained as a radio operator and air gunner at Little Norway in Toronto.  During his training in Toronto, Kaare met his future wife, Muriel Jones.

Kaare was transferred overseas with R.A.F.’s Norwegian Squadron 331.  He flew combat missions over the North Sea from bases in Iceland and Scotland.  He and Muriel settled in Rockford, Illinois, after the war, where Kaare worked in the insurance industry.  He was very active in the community, serving in leadership roles in organizations including the Lutheran Church and Rockford Kiwanis Club.

Kaare is survived by his children, Sandra Rogers and Mark Nevdal, and their families in the USA, as well as family members in Norway.

Passing of Dagfinn Magne Stai

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dagfinn Magne Stai on February 12, 2021, in Toronto.  

Mr. Stai was born in Norway in 1920, and joined the Royal Norwegian Air Force during WWII.  He was sent to Canada and trained at Little Norway.  Mr. Stai became a navigator, and served overseas with Norwegian Squadron 334 of the Royal Air Force.

While training in Toronto, he met his future wife, Grace.  The pair settled in Canada after the war.  They were married for 75 years and raised three daughters. 

In October 2019, at age 100, Mr. Stai was awarded a Commemorative Medal for his wartime service by the Norwegian government, in a ceremony at the Little Norway Memorial, Gravenhurst.  In the photo below, former Norwegian Ambassador Kari Anne Ovind congratulates Mr. Stai on his award.

Dagfinn Magne Stai  leaves daughters Trish, Karen and Sonja, their partners, grandchildren, and family in Norway.  Rest in peace.

Happy 100th Birthday to Kaare Nevdal!

We would like to congratulate Kaare Nevdal of Rockford, Illinois,  on his 100th birthday, October 9, 2020!

Kaare was born near Bergen, Norway, in 1920.  After the Nazis invaded Norway during World War II, Kaare escaped to Britain and enlisted there in the Royal Norwegian Air Force.  He was sent to “Little Norway” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for training as a radio operator and air gunner.  It was at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto where Kaare met his future wife, Muriel Jones.  

Kaare was transferred back to Britain as a member of a Norwegian squadron of the British Royal Air Force.  At first, he was stationed in Iceland, flying missions in Northrops and Catalinas over the North Sea.   The squadron subsequently transferred to Scotland, where they operated Sunderlands until the war ended. 

Post-war, Kaare and Muriel lived in Norway for a time, before immigrating to Rockford, Illinois, in 1948.

We at Old Stone Books hope that Kaare has a very happy 100th birthday, with many more to come!

Distinguished Fellowships awarded by the Norway Canada Institute

Candis Jones and I are deeply honoured to receive Distinguished Fellowships from the Norway Canada Institute of Huntington University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. The Fellowships were awarded in recognition of "Distinguished Contributions to Norwegian-Canadian Military History," through our book Exile Air: World War II's 'Little Norway' in Toronto and Muskoka. As the author of Exile Air, I am fully aware of the historic and allied relationship between Canada and Norway. I am deeply honoured that my writings about "Little Norway," the Royal Norwegian Air Force training base, which was established during WWII in Toronto and Muskoka, have been recognized by the Norway Canada Institute.  I commend Dr. Kevin McCormick, President and Vice-Chancellor, and Huntington University, for their roles in launching the Norway Canada Institute as a means to promote and celebrate our two nations, our shared military history, and the countless contributions made by Canadians and Norwegians across the globe. Candis Jones, photographer and photographic-editor for Exile Air, notes: "The story of 'Little Norway' and the young servicemen and women of the Royal Norwegian Air Force who trained in Canada during WWII is remarkable. It is especially important to my family as my Father in Law, Lieutenant Harald Olafson, was a flight instructor at Little Norway. I'd like to thank the Norway Canada Institute for focusing on important stories, such as this one, which bring into focus the ties that bind both nations together. Canada and Norway have a long history of cooperation, and it's inspiring to see positive stories from both countries, along with the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups, being promoted at an international level."  

Cheers to CANAV Books on their upcoming 40th Anniversary

Congratulations to CANAV Books on its upcoming 40th anniversary! Toronto's Larry Milberry established CANAV Books in 1981 as a publishing house focusing on Canadian aviation history.  Since then, CANAV Books has published 36 Canadian military histories, including the widely-respected Sixty Years -- RCAF & CF Air Command 1924 - 1984.  Larry Milberry is posting a history of CANAV Books on his blog, which you can read at At Old Stone Books, we'd like to thank CANAV Books for its excellent contributions to Canadian aviation history for the past four decades.  We wish it many more years of success ahead!  

Covid-19 and tuberculosis

  As the world lives through this pandemic, similarities between Covid-19 and another terrible plague, tuberculosis, come to mind.  Both can be transmitted by air, both attack the lungs, and both commonly cause fever and coughing. Differences include the fact that tuberculosis is a bacterial illness and Covid-19 is a viral one. When scientists discovered antibiotics like streptomycin near the end of WWII, tuberculosis was drastically beaten back, though due to factors like multi-drug resistant strains of the disease, it has not been totally eradicated.   As international scientists work to find a vaccine to battle Covid-19,  we hope that history repeats itself, and that these dedicated men and women quickly find the answer the world awaits.    

Inger Stene Passes Away

We were saddened to learn that Inger (Dietrichson) Stene passed away in Toronto on May 28, 2020, at age 102.   Inger was born in Norway. During World War II, she worked with the Norwegian Resistance fighting the country's Nazi occupiers, until she was forced to flee to Sweden to avoid capture. After the war, Inger married John Magne Stene.  John had been an officer and pilot with the Royal Norwegian Air Force, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross for acts of valour during active operations. Inger and John moved to Toronto, Ontario, in 1956, where Inger worked at the University of Toronto for many years.  John predeceased Inger in 2008. Inger is survived by her step-daughters Sheila Stene and Kristin Basso; her son-in-law Guido Basso; and their half-sisters, Vanessa and Katharine Vansittart. Here is a link to Inger's obituary, which appeared in the Globe & Mail newspaper on June 6, 2020: On a personal note, Inger generously shared her wartime memories with me, while I was writing Exile Air.  She was an elegant, wise, and charming lady. May she rest in peace. (Photo of John and Inger Stene at Little Norway Memorial, Muskoka Airport, 2007.)                        

75th Anniversary of VE Day

May 8, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of  Victory in Europe Day, when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to Allied forces following nearly six years of war.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to the cancellation of most public events, Veterans Affairs Canada will be commemorating the day digitally. Here is a link to Veteran Affairs  Canada's website: For my part,  I remember my late father, Andrew Baston, who served in the Canadian Army  during  WWII, and had landed at Juno Beach, Normandy, France, on D-Day plus one.  He was still overseas with the troops on May 8, 1945. In the photo, Dad is on the left.                       

Passing of Oivind Lorentzen Jr.

We are grateful to David Wold of Greenwich, Connecticut, for letting us know about the passing of Oivind Lorentzen Jr., a former member of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.  Oivind died peacefully in Greenwich on March 27, 2020, at age 101.

Oivind was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1919, the son of Oivind Lorentzen and Ragna Nilsen Lorentzen.  When Germany invaded Norway, he had been studying marine engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but left his studies and travelled to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to join the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Oivind trained as a pilot at Little Norway, and eventually was stationed in the Shetland and Orkney Islands, flying Short Sunderland flying boat patrol bombers over the North Sea to fight the enemy. After the war, Oivind joined his father’s shipping business, and along with his brothers, operated liner trades between the United States and South America. Oivind was Chair of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and President of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce. He also built a series of sailboats and actively competed in ocean races.

Oivind was predeceased by two wives: Evelyn Byrd LaPrade and Dorothy Holzinger Meeker, and is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

(Information from Greenwich Time, April 2, 2020.  )