Peter Wessel Tordenskiold - Legendary hero of the seas

Norway is a country whose coastline measures 3400 kilometers. It is the home of vikings, polar explorers, emigrants and adventurers. For a seafaring nation, however, its history boasts few naval war heroes. Yet this is not unnatural, since Norway had no navy of its own when war heroes were wreaking havoc on the high seas.

However, there is one illustrious name and the only one from recent history that is mentioned in our national anthem - Tordenskiold. We have to share him with Denmark, itís true, because that was where the wars were started from and the navy commanded from. That was where he lived for most at the 30 years of his life and he is buried there, in Holmens Church in Copenhagen.

Peter Wessel was one of many children in the home of Alderman Jan Weasel in Trondheim. To quote the song: Daughters six and Sons twelve, but only one became Tordenskiold. At the age of 14 he ran away to Copenhagen and enrolled as a naval cadet. He distinguished himself during the Great Nordic War and rose quickly in rank. In 1712, he was given command of his own ship and as a young man of 25, he was knighted and given the name of Tordenskiold.

After the famous Battle of Dynekilen, where he destroyed a Swedish transport fleet, he was promoted to the rank of commodore. He commanded the fleet that blockaded Gothenborg, destroyed a Swedish naval unit in Marstrand and captured the fortress of Karlsten to mention but a few of his deeds.

Volumes have been written about Tordenskiold and his life, which ended in a duel near Hanover In November 1720. With such a brief, adventurous, dangerous and victorious life, he was assured the role of hero in history. Three hundred years after his death. Tordenskiold is still a familiar name and concept

For many decades. Tordenskiold was portrayed on Norwegian banknotes and match boxes were adorned with his picture. And, of course he can be seen on stamps. When the Norwegian Post Office celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1947, a series of 11 stamps was issued. depicting important events and persons belonging to that 300-year period. One of them shows Peter Wessel Tordenskiold and a battle scene.

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