After World War II broke out, Nazi Germany occupied Norway in 1940. During this period, Norway’s British allies needed strong armament to defend their country against the Nazi onslaught. However, these weapons were being delivered to England by Norwegian ships, but when traveling over the Atlantic, Nazi Germany frequently sank them in order to halt their distribution. Several seafarers who had never joined the army yet worked as front liners in this battle died in this horrific occurrence.
The Norwegian military drama “War Sailor” portrays the life of one of those sailors whose entire life was impacted by being on the sea and continuing to ship for the British in wartime. Alfred Garnes was one of those unfortunate working-class sailors who embraced the opportunity to serve the Allies with the goal of receiving a substantial salary to support his family, but from 1940 to 1945 – all these years he spent in ships were for naught, as he neither got the due money nor regained peace in his life.
Let’s talk about those choices that human beings make in their lives only to regret them. One of them was Alfred’s choice to join the merchant navy on one of those ships. While sailing for the allied countries under the British on the Atlantic ocean, Alfred made a lot of friends between the years 1940 and 1945. Not only Sigbjorn but also Aksel, Hanna, Kjell, and many more were a part of his close-knit group and essentially became his family. But, with the exception of Sigbjorn, he saw all of them die right in front of his eyes. When the German torpedoes blew up the Falkanger, killing practically everyone else, Sigbjorn, Alfred, and one other sailor survived. They discovered Aksel was still alive, but he was in excruciating pain from a serious wound. A passing ship halted seeing the survivors from the torpedoed ship, but they couldn’t take them on board; instead, the captain of the ship provided a handful of morphine injections for the injured boy.
Without any support in the middle of the ocean, having no choice left, Alfred put an end to Aksel’s agony by giving him a lethal dose of morphine. He could have done better to wait for his natural demise instead of killing him, but watching the kid screaming in pain devastated him. Immediately following Aksel’s passing, the other sailor guy began to get terrified of Alfred and Sigbjorn. He started calling them Devils and got up to attack them. Alfred got into a fight with him, but he strangled him to death just to defend himself. He couldn’t dispute that the war had brought out the worst in him. He had been plagued by these deaths for years, and he was unable to ignore them. But even worse, when he learned that his family had passed away, he crumbled. We witnessed him losing his sanity and going insane. It was remorse that was always gnawing at him. His daughter begged him to stay as he was about to embark on his quest, but he ignored her. Even after nearly all of the ships he boarded were destroyed by explosions, he made the decision to continue sailing for a secure future. But none of his choices actually benefited him. His wife and kids looked up to him, and all they wanted to see was Alfred returning safe and sound. But he ignored such facts and continued dealing with death. And while doing so, he lost sight of the fact that his family had grown weary of waiting for him and had started to move on.
Sigbjorn told Alfred that his family was still alive after he eventually located him in a shattered state in Singapore. However, as Sigbjorn refused to come along, Alfred returned home, but he didn’t really feel like he fit in anymore. Cecelia, who had already grown attached to Sigbjorn, had started to feel uneasy around Alfred, and Alfred couldn’t stomach it. Even his younger son, Olav, who couldn’t even identify him as his father, showed little interest in him. He wanted Sigbjorn to return home, because before Alfred returned, Sigbjorn was the one he could really look up to. Thus, even though, Alfred was grateful to Sigbjorn for taking him home, he didn’t think it was worthwhile to come back. The biggest shock finally struck him when he discovered that the British traders would not be compensating him for the years he had spent at sea. He didn’t just sail all these years; he also endured several life-or-death situations.
Alfred started looking for work on his own after realizing he could no longer rely on these employers. His old age, nevertheless, proved to be an obstacle. Lastly, we find that when Alfred started to wrinkle up in 1972, he turned to his kids, who were actively working to improve their lives. He saw Sigbjorn for the last time, but he had little to say to him. He might have expressed his resentment, thrown a tantrum, or any number of other emotions, but after seeing his one and only remaining friend, because of whom he was still alive and with his family, he could only be quiet and express his gratitude. The last episode of the series emphasized Alfred’s internal conflict in the aftermath of World War II, which claimed so many years of his life. However, the fact that “War Sailor” conveys is that only because of the existence of love, compassion, and friendship between Alfred and Sigbjorn, their internal conflict didn’t advance.