Success for JU’s new public lecture series

On 31 August, a spellbound audience learned about what happened to fighter pilot Peter Norström and his friend and colleague Gilbert Hägg on the fateful November day of 1972. Anders Dybelius, assistant professor of history at the School of Education and Communication (HLK) at Jönköping University (JU), was the first in the JU LIVE lecture series.

The JMW hall in the University Library at JU was almost full of interested audience members who were able to hear a breathtaking and tragic story. Dybelius took the audience back to the Cold War and told them about the battle pilots Norström and Hägg, but above all about what would be Norström’s last flying exercise.

Anders Dybelius lecture during JU LIVE

“As a historian, I’ve always been fascinated by how a small country as Sweden, with such scarce resources, is number one in the world when it comes to constructing the world’s best fighter aircraft, and also in several generations of fighter aircraft. But at the same time, the pilots were treated and allowed to practice with such small margins, with the result that as many as 550 pilots died during the Cold War,” says Anders Dybelius.

It was during a combat exercise in Småland that the accident happened. Peter Norström went down with the plane at low altitude and turned too sharply, which meant that he lost control of the plane (he probably became unconscious) and the plane crashed at a speed of over 1,100 km/h in a moss outside Malmbäck.

“Very nice format for the lecture”

“I’ve been aware of the accident in 1972 for a long time, but it wasn't until rumours started to appear that Peter Norström was still in the moss that I really started writing and talking about this as a “factoid”. A word that historians use when something is completely wrong, in this case Norström is actually buried in Grums, his hometown,” says Dybelius.

Daniel Sandberg

Daniel Sandberg thought the lecture was very interesting.

One of the audience members was Daniel Sandberg, who is interested in the topic and the local connection.

“It’s an interesting subject, especially when there are local interests as it was around Malmbäck that the accident occurred. I think it’s historically interesting, as the Cold War was a completely different time and different conditions. It was a very nice format for the lecture and a very competent lecturer, his story made the subject feel real and come alive,” says Daniel Sandberg.


Anders Dybelius’s lecture was the first of four during the Autumn in the JU LIVE series, where the public is invited to take part in research at JU, free of charge. JU LIVE is being co-organised with Folkuniversitetet and is a new concept that has taken over after “Offentliga föreläsningar”.

The next lecture will be held on 28 September by Johanna Falck, PhD student and programme manager at the advanced level at the School of Health and Welfare, who will talk about the chronic hidden female disease lipedema.
All lectures are held in Swedish.

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