MORE than 50 relatives of British soldiers and allied aircrew who took part in a little-known special forces raid, Operation Freshman, will be travelling to Norway next month on a private visit to mark the 80th Anniversary of this action.

They will visit the sites where three of the aircraft crashed, the places where some of the men were executed, and the Commonwealth Graves where they are buried

The raid was the Allies first attempt to destroy the heavy water facility at the Norsk Hydro plant in Vemork, a key element in Nazi Germany´s efforts to create a nuclear bomb.

Author Dr. Bruce A. Tocher has spent the last three years researching the operation with the aim of publishing a new book on the raid.

And so far, he has traced and made contact with the families of 36 of the 48 men who took part, nine of whom were Scots.

He has been unable to track down any relatives of Corporal James Dobson Cairncross, 9th (Airborne) Field Company, Royal Engineers who came from Hawick.

Border Telegraph: Newspaper cutting

Corporal Cairncross survived the crash landing of Horsa Glider (DP-349) in Fylgjesdalen, but was murdered by the Gestapo in Stavanger a few days after capture.

James was 22-years-old and was the son of Green’s shop assistant Robert Cairncross and hosiery seamer Elizabeth Cairncross (nee Laidlaw) who lived at 14 Teviot Crescent, Hawick and were married on January 30, 1920, in Hawick.

James was well-known in local Boys’ Brigade circles, being a staff-sergeant in 3rd Hawick and was the holder of the King’s Badge, a high Boys’ Brigade award. He would also go camping with the BB every Summer.

A keen sportsman, James played for Hawick Linden rugby XV, and also enjoyed cricket, cycling and mountain climbing.

Before enlisting, he was employed as a joiner (carpenter) with Messrs Beattie.

One of his fellow soldiers described James as a big ‘loud’ Scotsman with a friendly demeanour and a peaceful disposition, who was popular amongst his mates.

James had received the news that his father was seriously ill and planned to visit him as soon as he had returned from the raid.

If you know of any relatives of Corporal Cairncross please let us know at the Border Telegraph and we will pass the information to Dr Tocher.