Egmont Tornberg


Colonel, aviation pioneer.

Egmont Tornberg was born in 1891 in Rytterne and later became a lieutenant in the Navy in 1914, lieutenant in 1917 and began flying in 1918.

He transferred to the air force when it was formed in 1926 and in the same year, as a captain, he set an altitude record for seaplanes. The altitude record was set at 5731 meters in a Heinkel with a 500 kg load (equivalent to a combat load). The record was duly approved by the International Federation and exceeded the previous record by 700 meters.

In 1928 Egmont headed the Swedish rescue expedition of survivors from the Italian airship Italia north of Spitsbergen. He showed an impressive leadership during two months of hard material and personal strain under very difficult and rapidly changing weather conditions with risky flight over the Arctic Ocean, ice drift and dense fog.

Part of the rescue team with Tornberg in the middle.
Photo: from private collection.

From the Italia action of 1928.
Photo: from private collection.

Later in life, Tornberg was head of F 1, Jämtland Air Force F 4 and Norrbotten Air Base Corps F 21.

In 1940, Tornberg became colonel and eleven years later he died at the age of 59, being the last of the marine pilots to start his flying career in 1917.


Burial site: 0115-0811B

Image description: Portrait photograph by Egmont Tornberg, Head of the Western Air Base Area 1943-1946. Signed, framed photo. Photo: Unknown Photographer / Air Force Museum. [The image is cropped]
Click here for an uncropped image