FSSF Roll, Finn W.

John Robertson

Staff member
Finn W.
  • UNIT
FSSF (HQ Det)​
  • RANK

Croix de Guerre avec palme (France)
South France 1944
from Oakland,California (or San Joaquin County - National Archives)
born 1919 Oslo,Norway
son of Sigurd E. Roll (U.S. Consol)
Norwegian Forces 1940
left Norway 1941
4 years high school
nursery operator/flower grower in civilian life
entered service 30.10.1941 Washington,D.C.
Infantry (Private 13042580)
FSSF 1942-44 (Captain)
474 Infantry Regiment 1945 (Major)
returned to Norway May 1945
moved to France late 1950s
married Evelyn McElroy 1952-53 (lasted 3-4 years)
married Lizette
died March 1988 age 69
obituary (translated from Norwegian)
Obituary > Finn Roll > March 23, 1988
Major Finn W. Roll is dead, 69 years old. With his passing is an exceptional military career over. He was born in Oslo, the son of U.S. Consul Sigurd E. Roll. He grew up in Frogner, was an active track and field man and his friends' faithful friend. On 9 April 1940, he went through the northern forests and joined the Norwegian forces at Jevnaker. Later he went through Sweden to Haparanda to fight on in the north. He arrived at 7 June 1940. The fighting was over in Norway. In the summer of 1941 he and his friend Captain Riisted sailed to Scotland in an old 6meter. Roll was also a U.S. citizen and went to the United States and volunteered, before the United States was involved in the war.
In January 1942 the Special Division the First Special Service Force (FSSF) was created and Roll reported for duty. 3,000 men were specially trained in commando war in Montana. FSSF was inserted in the reconquest of two Japanese occupied islands in the Aleutian Islands.
They were taken without loss of strength. FSSF was set in Morocco, from Casablanca to Oran, then on to Salerno in Southern Italia. When the 5th Army under General Clark stopped at Monte Casino and other heavily fortified mountain on the way to Rome, the FSSF was inserted into the Anzio area to get the Germans in the back and liberate Rome, keeping the bridges across the Tiber intact. Here they also fought against the Hermann Goering Panzer Division and SS Reichsf?hrer . Rome was liberated in June 1944.
Before the invasion on the French Riviera, an alarmposition on Iles d?Hyeres had to be destroyed. Major Roll with a small special force were landed from a submarine. After intense close-quarter combat Roll could give his message to General Clark, 5th Army that the mission was completed. The invasion of the French coast could go after schedule. In September 1944, the Riviera coast was cleared, after fights from city to city. Roll was named honorary citizen of two French cities and awarded the "French Croix de Guerre decoration with Palm".
Major Roll was transferred to General Patton's army and participated in the Rhineland, and eastward. He was among the first American officers who liberated the concentration camp Buchenwald. The war ended in Central Europe. Roll was transferred to the 474th Infantry Regiment with the aim of the invasion of Norway. Fortunately it was not necessary. In the happy days of May, Major Roll marched in the head of his group in Oslo, and they paraded proudly in front of King Haakon when the King came back.
In Oslo, Finn Roll could be reunited with his family - except with his father, consul Sigurd E. Roll, who had been killed by the Germans in June 1944. It was the German based retaliatory action "BlumenPfl?cken", in which 10 citizens were brutally murdered after special F?hrerBefehl.
After Japan's defeat Roll was transferred to Sapporo, later it was participation in the Korean War and the liaison officer at MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo.
In 1956, Finn Roll said goodbye to the military, and went back to Nice where he married and settled down for good.
Written by Gunnar S?nsteby, Erik R?stad
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New Member
Finn W. Roll

I had the honor to met and talk with 3 former prisoners of Buchenwald in 2011 while visiting the Air Force Museum. Finn W. Roll was married briefly to my aunt, Evelyn McElroy Roll. I was amazed to read that Major Finn was one among the first officers who liberated the concentration camp Buchenwald.