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History / Events planned to mark Shetland Bus anniversary

The Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway. Photo: Shetland News

A ROYAL Norwegian Navy ship will make a visit to the isles this week to mark the 80th anniversary of a key moment in the Shetland Bus operation.

There will also be wreath laying ceremonies in Lerwick and Scalloway on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

The Norwegian navy ship due to visit Shetland is the Skjold-class corvette HNoMS Gnist. Some of its crew will also tour the Scalloway Museum.

Although sailings began a few years earlier 1943 marked a turning point when three American sub-chasers went into service on the Shetland Bus operation.

During the World War II German occupation of Norway, the Shetland Bus played a crucial role.

Under the cover of darkness, a group of small boats – collectively known as the Shetland Bus – ferried people and weapons between Shetland and Norway.

Initially it operated informally using fishing boats, before it then became a formal part of the war effort completing more than 200 trips.

Not all of those trips were successful, and 44 lives were lost during the crossings. However, the introduction of the sub-chasers brought an end to the fatalities.

This week’s events comes after a Norwegian NATO ship stopped off in Lerwick last month and also saw its crew leave a wreath at the Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway.

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