Tomorrow morning 90 cadets from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy will arrive in Lerwick on a surprise visit.
They have been away from home for three months and were crossing the Atlantic Ocean towards Norway, expecting to be back with their families in a few days.
But they do not know that the tall ship in which they are sailing, Statsraad Lehmkuhl, is going to make a detour to Lerwick where a military exercise based on the Shetland Bus will be waiting for them.
Second Lieutenant Robert Edvardsen said: “I am the commander for this exercise and our aim is to challenge the cadets’ ability to change their mental models rapidly. They think they are going home to their loved ones, but they are going to conduct an exercise here.
“This type of training demands an ability to adapt to new situations and environment from the cadets. This particular skill is necessary for all warfighters. The better you are at this skill the more focused are you at the task at hand.
“As a background we are using the well-known scenario from the Second World War, where sailors conducted operations in Norway from bases in Shetland and with outstanding assistance from locals.
“At the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, the heroic stories of the Shetland Bus are part of the curriculum. I believe that the unforgettable service of the Shetland Bus personnel is a motivational factor itself.
I also believe that it is our duty not to forget those who risked so much, and those who gave their lives during the war.
“This exercise is in this spirit – to train leadership and tactics in appreciation of the sailors and Shetlanders that gave so much for freedom and democracy.”
Mr Edvardsen added that the planned exercise had “positive feedback” from everyone in Shetland “and we will feel welcomed with open arms”. Special thanks were given to the Scalloway Museum for their help.