W/Cdr Rolf Arne Berg was not only the CO of No. 132 Norwegian wing, but also one of the most dearly held officers among his peers. His career was closely tied with No. 331 Squadron, with which he served from the very beginning in July 1941. His personal tally counted 6 (according to some sources 5.5) enemy aircraft destroyed.
As part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, the No. 132 Norwegian wing participated in the Normandy Landings and moved to Caen, France in August 1944. From September onwards, the Norwegian squadrons participated in the liberation of Holland and took part in the crossing of the Rhine. Beside his commanding duties, Berg took very active part in operations; some said that he flew more sorties than anyone else in the entire 2nd TAF.
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk. IXE, PV181
Personal aircraft of W/Cdr Rolf Arne Berg
No. 132 (Norwegian) Wing, 2 TAF
Click to enlarge
As Wing Commander, Berg was entitled to carry personal markings on his aircraft. Indeed, his own initials were used instead of the regular squadron codes, but Berg went beyond the regulations. Added Norwegian national markings on the wings and rudder and matching three-colour bands at the spinner together with standard RAF fuselage roundel and lower fuselage D-Day stripes made for a very colourful aircraft. Interestingly, it is almost certain that Berg never got any official approval for replacing the RAF roundels on the wings.
Berg’s PV181 was built by Vickers Armstrong at Castle Bromwich and was delivered to 33 Maintenance Unit on 5 September 1944. It was officially taken on strength by No. 66 Squadron on 5 October 1944. However, PV181 was never used operationally by that unit as was selected as Berg’s personal aircraft
On Saturday, 3rd February 1945, Berg’s operational tour was completed and he was about to leave the unit, his briefcases packed. He decided to fly one more mission that day. It turned out to be his last. Hit by Flak while attacking a Luftwaffe airfield at Eelde, Berg?s Spitfire was reported to have lost a wing and then went straight down without any form of control. It crashed into a farm house without exploding. W/Cdr Berg was killed in his aircraft.
The remains of W/Cdr Berg’s Spitfire at Eelde, Holland.
[Andy Ingham coll.]
Rolf Arne Berg and was initially buried in a cemetery near the crash site in Holland. However, after the war his remains were returned to his home town of Orkanger, Norway where he was buried in September 1946.
[Hendrik Cazemier photo]