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Community / Projection of those lost at war a ‘poignant reminder’

SHETLANDERS lost in the Second World War are remembered in a projection display on Lerwick Town Hall this weekend ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

A slideshow is being displayed of the WW2 Roll of Honour, which lists the names of 300 locals who served in the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy and who died or were missing ‘presumed dead’ in the war.

All the pages from the Roll of Honour have been scanned into the slideshow of around 160 images by local historian and teacher Jon Sandison.

The images are projected onto the north wall of Lerwick Town Hall this Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6pm to 10pm, and they will be visible from Hillhead and Aitken Place.

Anyone viewing the projections is asked to wear a face covering and ensure they are socially distanced from others outside their household.

Vehicle drivers are asked to take care in the area and look out for pedestrians.

The majority of those Shetlanders who volunteered chose to serve at sea, in either the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy, and this is reflected in the lists of sailors in the Roll of Honour.

Others saw service in British Army regiments and the Royal Air Force, and their names also appear.

Shetland was heavily defended during the Second World War, with estimates of up to 20,000 servicemen based in Shetland, carrying out training exercises and construction work to prepare for the possibility of German invasion, supported by the local Home Guard.

Various artillery and anti-aircraft defences were constructed, and airfields at Sumburgh and Scatsta became RAF bases with Sullom Voe also a base for flying boats.

The Shetland Bus boat operation, meanwhile, also supported the Norwegian resistance movement.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which has been widely commemorated.

Many events have been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic and there will be no Remembrance Sunday parade at the war memorial at Hillhead in Lerwick this year.

Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell said: “This year, as in every other year, we continue to remember the sacrifice made by those who didn’t return from the Second World War.

“The projections of Shetlanders on the Town Hall will be a poignant reminder of the close connections to our community which suffered so many losses during the six years from 1939 to 1945.”