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History / Watch: ‘Strong bond’ with Norway honoured as naval cadets visit Scalloway

Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media

A CEREMONY was held at the Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway this morning (Thursday) as Norwegian naval academy cadets visit Shetland.

The cadets are in Shetland on board the sail training vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl.

The event heard speeches, including from representative of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society councillor Stephen Leask, while wreathes were laid too.

He paid tribute to the strong bond between Shetland and Norway.

“The brave men remembered here fought for the freedom of their nation, and this gathering today celebrates the commitment made by our young Norwegian visitors who continue to cherish and honour that freedom,” Leask said.

The Shetland Bus operation played a crucial role during the World War II German occupation of Norway.

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

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 brought an end to the fatalities.

The Shetland Bus memorial, which pays tribute to the 44 crewmen 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.

Work to reconstruct the slipway and a cradle there to honour the Shetland Bus operation and act as a historical wartime exhibit is progressing.

Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media
Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media
Shetland Bus Friendship Society representative councillor Stephen Leask. Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media

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