Nils Uhlin Hansen

Nils Hansen (1919-1945) grew up with his brother, sister and parents in Eidsvollsgate. His father was the head cashier in a bank. His mother came from a Swedish family of good standing. Thus he grew up in a secure and well-off environment, with visits to Sweden and Easter holidays in the mountains as some of the highlights.
Even if Nils suffered from asthma he participated in athletics at an early age. He competed in many events, but particularly short races and the long jump revealed his extraordinary talent. At the age of 18 he recorded 6.75 m in the long jump, and the next year he passed seven metres (7.05) in a meet at the Høiskolebanen track, the first person from Trøndelag to do so. His progress continued in the summer of 1938. He was selected to the national team, participated at a meet in London (with 80,000 people in the stands!) and crowned his season during the national championships. As a member of the Freidig sports club he won the long jump with a jump of 7.39 m, and in the 100 m race he came in fourth at 10.90. Since then there have been major improvements in shoes and the surfacing of tracks, but more than 70 years later such a result in the long jump is not to be scoffed at, even at the international level.
During the national championships in 1939 he won the silver medal in the long jump. His best achievement came in September the same year when he hit 7.54 at an international meet in Bislett, Oslo. This result was a "Nordic record". No one from the Nordic countries had managed such a jump before. This result was the Norwegian national record until 1959.
But then the war came. It meant an abrupt end to the careers of many athletes born around the time of Nils Uhlin Hansen. Nils U. graduated from upper secondary school in 1941, and sporadically participated in illegal meets. He was also involved in resistance activities (just as his father and brother were), and the same autumn he escaped to Sweden. In the summer of 1942 he came to Scotland where he received military training and was enlisted in the Norwegian Independent Company No. 1 [often referred to as Kompani Linge]. In 1943 and early in 1944 he went on missions in Norway. In the autumn of 1944 he came to Gauldalen where the mission was to sabotage the railway line to Røros, an important transportation line for the Germans. He was part of the so-called "transportation team", the aim being to force troop transports to use the more vulnerable sea route. In December the resistance group carried out two major attacks on the railway, perhaps the most comprehensive of their kind during the war.
However, using informers and infiltration tactics, the Germans tracked them down, and Nils Uhlin Hansen fell, together with Odd Husby from Byåsen and Sigurd Haugen from Narvik in an ambush near Singsås on 11 January 1945. They were later buried in Singsås, where a memorial stone has also been erected for those who fell during the war in Øvre [upper] Gauldal. Both Nils Uhlin Hansen and Odd Husby have streets in the Byåsen district named after them.
Recommended reading: Asbjørn Øksendal: Operasjon Lapwing [Operation Lapwing]. Grøndahl, 1973.


Author: Einar Rædergård