A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Shetland Bus Memorial at Scalloway today (Sunday), to mark the 75th anniversary of a major turning point in the Second World War operation.
A large group of Norwegian visitors had come across from Bergen for the event, some on the Hitra, one of three sub-chasers gifted by the US Navy in 1943 for use in the operation.
Previously the hazardous North Sea service, which involved carrying refugees to Shetland and supplies and agents in the opposite direction, had resulted in many casualties. But the introduction of the Hitria, Vigra and Hessa ensured a much safer operation and no more deaths.
Other Norwegian guests at Sunday’s event arrived on the tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a familiar visitor to Shetland but which was making her first visit to Scalloway.
The memorial ceremony was introduced by Shetland Bus Friendship Society John Hunter while a speech was give by Captain Aasmund Andersen. He highlighted the bravery of the people involved in the operation, the sole survivor of which was now 98 years of age.
One of those present at the event was Norwegian Special Forces veteran August Rathke, 92, who came to Shetland in January 1945 to undergo training in Britain.
Following a prayer by the Rev Magnus Williamson, wreaths were laid by Bergen mayor Marte Maos Persen, SIC convener Malcolm Bell and representatives of the Norwegian and British Navy and Shetland Bus Friendship Society.