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Shetland Bus revisited

Leaving Lunna on Thursday morning - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

A TEAM from Norway’s Special Forces commando unit has been in the isles to commemorate the sacrifices made by men operating the wartime Shetland Bus.

The six officers from the Forsvarets Spesialkommando are on a 1,200 mile round trip in two high powered RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) from Horten, in Oslo Fjord, via Peterhead to Shetland and back to Norway.

The men arrived in Scalloway on Tuesday afternoon where they lay flowers at the Shetland Bus memorial and were given a tour of the village’s new museum, which was opened by the Norwegian prime minister last year.

They arrived at the former Shetland Bus base at Lunna on Wednesday afternoon where they stayed overnight in the rooms occupied by their heroes.

Lieutenant Tobias (second name withheld) said the Shetland Bus continued to play an important part in Norwegian consciousness and the trip was an attempt to connect with that history.

The FSK is about to name a new 20 metre safety boat after Shetland Bus skipper Andreas Nårø, and the men wanted to see for themselves the base where he was stationed more than 70 years ago, the lieutenant added.

“The Shetland Bus means a lot to Norwegians and particularly to our unit as we are descended from the special forces that were active during the Second World War.

“It is important to know what went on here in Scalloway and at Lunna House and to keep that history alive for us younger generation.

“We probably should have come much earlier; but now we are here, and we are very glad for Helen and Tony Erwood to let us stay at Lunna House.

“That’s what we were after, being in the same surroundings and in the same atmosphere the guys were in 70 years ago,” Tobias said.

One thing that is different though is the speed with which the commando crossed the North Sea. It took them just nine and a half hours to cover more than 400 nautical miles from Oslo to Peterhead.

It took them a further seven hours to reach Scalloway while the latest leg to Lunna was completed in two and a half hours.

The team is now back on their way to Bergen, but will stop briefly in Lerwick on Thursday morning to refuel and buy some Shetland flags.