UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Saturday 20 July 2024
 14.1°C   SSE Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

History / Norway connection honoured with ceremony at Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway

From left to right: Shetland Bus Friendship Society's Stephen Leask, deputy lord lieutenant Iain Tulloch, commander Henrik Bergmann of the Royal Norwegian Navy, two flag bearers, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland Brigadier Andy Muddiman, SIC convener Andrea Manson, Royal British Legion representative Daniel Laverty. Photo: SIC

THIS WEEK’s Shetland Bus commemorations moved to the operation’s former base Scalloway on Thursday for a wreath laying ceremony.

It followed a similar event in Lerwick at the war memorial on Tuesday.

The Scalloway ceremony was preceded by the arrival of the Norwegian navy ship the Gnist, which left Lerwick for the village – at a decent speed – on Wednesday night.

Like the Lerwick ceremony, members of its crew were involved in the Scalloway event, which basked in some fine April sunshine.

The UK navy were represented too, whilst local guests were present as well among a healthy turnout from the public.

Opening the event was representative of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society Stephen Leask.

“The strong bond between Shetland and Norway was forged in these times of hardship and danger, and continue to this day,” he said.

Wreaths were laid by navy and British Legion representatives as well as SIC convener Andrea Manson and deputy lord lieutenant Ian Tulloch.

During the World War II German occupation of Norway, the Shetland Bus operation 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 sub-chaser ships in 1943 – 80 years ago – brought an end to the fatalities.

Speaking at the wreath laying event in Scalloway, Leask said: “This visit by our esteemed guests, standing beside us here today is testimony to this unique connection, for to live in the hearts of those we leave behind, is not to die.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Commander Henrik Bergmann of the Norwegian navy said those involved in the Shetland Bus operation “sacrificed blood sweat and tears”.

“Some paid the ultimate price and have never returned. But none of them died in vain.”

Photo: Shetland News

Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland Brigadier Andy Muddiman said the Shetland Bus operation showed a “strong moral commitment” that continues to be needed today.

“Since the war we’ve faced common adversaries in the North Atlantic, and the North Sea and in the high north, and now, once again, those threats are re-emerging and we’ve having to think very hard about how we cooperate,” he said of the relationship with Norway.

“As we look round the world and the situation in Europe in particular, we’re well aware that tyranny, and people’s personal response to that tyranny, is an ongoing issue.”

The operational base of the Shetland Bus moved from Lunna on the east to Scalloway in 1942, where it remained for the rest of the war.

The Shetland Bus memorial, which pays tribute to the 44 crewman lost on the missions and has a model of a fishing boat used in the operation, sits just along the road from the Prince Olav slipway where vessels were repaired.

The slipway and a cradle there are set to be reconstructed in the coming years as a wartime exhibit.

Leask said: “As the work progresses this too will come a constant reminder of the strength of the connection between our two lands.”

The visiting guests were given a look at the slipway before heading off to the Scalloway Museum, which has a section on the Shetland Bus containing artefacts and information.

Meanwhile almost opposite the slipway is Norway House, which was previously living accommodation for Norwegian crews. It is now a multi-floor gym used by the local weight training club.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.