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60th birthday of the Danish Frogmen Corps.

 
 

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On Saturday, 17 June, 2017, the Museum celebrated not only its 20th birthday, but also the fact that it had grown into one of the oldest Cold War museums in Europe.

At the same time, it also celebrated an even more important fact: on that very day, sixty years ago, the Danish Frogmen Corps was inaugurated. The latter fact is illustrated by an exhibition about the first years after 1957.

You may ask: “What does an exhibition about the Frogmen Corps have in common with Langelandsfort”? Well, after the inauguration of the Corps and during the Cold War, the Langelandsfort was frequently used as a training-area for the Danish frogmen. The Danish Crown Prince, Frederik, who also served as a frogman, received his training here on the island of Langeland. “We are also privileged to have with us one of the first veterans of the Frogmen Corps, the 80-year-old Filip”, said the director of the Langelandsmuseum as well as of the Cold War museum Langelandsfort, Peer Henrik Hansen, who is at present working on a publication about the Corps of Frogmen and managing the exhibition entitled: “Frogman – Child of the Cold War”.

 

When the Cold War Museum Langelandsfort opened its gates for a double jubilee, its main purpose was to highlight the Corps of Frogmen.

Saturday, June 17, 2017, the museum celebrated its twentieth anniversary and the fact that it has grown to be one of the oldest Cold War museums in Europe. At the same time, it marks an even greater jubilee: the fact that the Corps of Frogmen was inaugurated 60 years ago.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is Filip Nielsen. As a 17-year old he voluntarily joined the Danish Navy and at 19 years of age he was one of the first to join the newly inaugurated frogmen corps as a trainee. “I always loved to be in the water and that’s why I volunteered”. This love, however, did not last very long during the training. “After half a year in hell we became frogmen”, Filip says dryly. Filip’s life and the lives of the other frogmen were influenced by the Cold War, which was to have an impact on the situation in the whole world for decades to come.

After a number of trainees had dropped out, Filip passed his test as number 10 of his class, which proves that he is one of the very first frogmen that were trained in Denmark. A lot has happened since then.

 

In the television-series about the frogmen, made by Danish television station „DR“ in 2015, they gave a very deep insight into the workings of the oldest Danish elite-unit – and they do not mince their words when they tell about the operations in which the frogmen corps was involved, such as at the Horn of Africa, and illustrate their story with photos. We don’t find the same openness, however, in the reports on the activities during the Cold War.

 

“In military circles one hears a lot of reports about how the Danish frogmen were used in those Cold War days, but it is nearly impossible to verify the truth of this stories. And by the way, how does one document the fact that a Danish frogman had been lying on the bottom of the harbor in Leningrad? If he was there at all”? said Peer Henrik Hansen.

Apart from the exhibition, there was also a lecture by author and specialist on Russian affairs, Leif Davidsen, who drew a connection between his books about the Cold War and the threats we face with present-day Russia.

The exhibition was opened at 11.30 hrs. and the lecture started at 12.00 hrs. There was free admittance to the museum, where Danish red sausages and wartime cocoa were served free of charge.

 

For further information please contact Peer Henrik Hansen at Tel. nr. 61103850 or by E-mail: phh@langelandkommune.dk 

 
     
     
     
     
     
 

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