In his book Bomber Command, Max Hastings mentions offhandedly that

All the Norwegians were immensely rich by RAF standards because they received flying pay of eight shillings per hour operational in addition to their £28 a month salary.

Why was this so? Why were Norwegian bomber crews paid more than other RAF bomber crews? Was this true of other non-UK (or non-Commonwealth) Allied crews?

  • 3
    Perhaps they got extra pay from the Norwegian government-in-exile?
    – Tomas By
    Jan 9, 2021 at 18:38
  • @TomasBy I'd guess something like that (though one might expect that to have been then subtracted from their £28 a month salary).
    – orome
    Jan 9, 2021 at 18:50
  • 1
    Does it say other RAF pilots weren't given the same flying pay?
    – Schwern
    Jan 9, 2021 at 19:19
  • 1
    @Shwern What do you mean?
    – orome
    Jan 9, 2021 at 19:43
  • 3
    @TomasBy that's my guess as well, I know the Dutch crews in the Pacific were under contract with the Dutch government and paid by them but under command of the US. A similar situation may have existed in the UK with Norwegians
    – jwenting
    Jan 10, 2021 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


During operations of Royal Norwegian Air Force from Britain,

Both planes and running costs were financed by the exiled Norwegian government.

This probably explains the difference in pay.

A good question is where the money came from - one source is:

the big Norwegian merchant fleet outside German-controlled areas

  • Before they discovered all that oil! Even then they took better care of their citizens.
    – orome
    May 3, 2022 at 18:22
  • Yes, they brought their old gold with them.
    – sds
    May 3, 2022 at 18:23
  • Well, military pilots are not exactly commoners...
    – sds
    May 3, 2022 at 22:28
  • 2
    We’ll with life expectancies in weeks —
    – orome
    May 3, 2022 at 23:20
  • 1
    The main income for the norvegian government-in-exile were services ie a cut of the allieds/and other private enterprises employ of norvegian merchant ships and their crews. Which together with running of electricity intensive industrial processes (fertilizers/aluminium etc) was the main norvegian export products until the oil industry. May 4, 2022 at 19:45

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