The Shetland Bus
The Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway, photographed today, with the Norwegian flag and colours.
The Shetland Bus was a name given to clandestine special operations during the Second World War which provided a link between Shetland and occupied Norway. Small Norwegian fishing boats, and later fast submarine chasers, were used to land weapons and supplies, and rescue refugees.
The names of the 44 crewmen who lost their lives during the operations are displayed on the memorial. The memorial also incorporates stones taken from the village or place in Norway that each of the crewmen came from.
In the background of the photo above is the tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which arrived yesterday carrying 80 members of the veterans’ group Norges Veteranforbund for Internasjonale Operasjoner. There is a story and video about the visit on the Shetland News website.
There are many poignant stories connected with the Shetland Bus.
The Scalloway Museum has a permanent exhibition about the history of the Shetland Bus, and museum website has a short video and introduction.
I can also highly recommend David Howarth’s book, The Shetland Bus (available online from The Shetland Times Bookshop). David Howarth was a British naval officer who helped set up the Shetland Bus, and after the war had a boat-building business in Scalloway. (Two other remarkable books he wrote about the Second World War, which I also recommend, are We Die Alone and The Sledge Patrol).