Early day motion recognises the achievement of last Shetland Bus man

The life of the last member of the Shetland Bus and the vital role he played in the war effort is being recognised in parliament.

A parliamentary early day motion has been lodged at Westminster in honour of Jakob Strandheim, who has died in Norway at the age of 101.

The Shetland Bus was a series of operations run between occupied Norway and Shetland during the Second World War, transporting refugees out of Axis-controlled territory and moving agents and material into Norway to disrupt enemy forces.

It is believed the clandestine operations helped keep as many as 350,000 Axis troops diverted during the war, providing invaluable benefit to the Allied cause.

Raising the early day motion is isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

“It is right that we recognise the passing of this part of our history from living memory,” said Mr Carmichael.

“We are proud in the isles of our historic links to Norway, and of the vital role these islands played in the course of the World Wars.

“Jakob’s role – and that of the other crew members and local communities – is something that we must continue to commemorate and learn from even as the events themselves become more distant.”


Add Your Comment
  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • October 20th, 2021 12:00

    For the sake of clarity and accuracy, “The Shetland Bus” was undertaken and run by The Royal Norwegian Navy and the Royal Navy, many of the personal being reserves. The personal were hosted by Shetlanders and were grateful to Shetland folk for their hospitality and friendship. It was all part of the Free Norwegian and United Kingdom War effort and must be remembered as that.

    • Martin Ole Olsen Meling

      • October 20th, 2021 15:43

      For the sake of clarity and accuracy indeed!
      The “Shetland Bus” or England’s Taffik as it was also known was established by Norwegian fishermen long before the Royal Navy or the Royal Norwegian Navy became involved.
      David Howarth, who was tasked by SOE to oversee and organise operations did not arrive in Shetland until the spring of 1941. I quote from his book “The Shetland Bus”: “And no naval vessels at that time were both seaworthy enough to make such long voyages in winter and yet small enough to approach, with a reasonable chance of avoiding detection, a coast held by the enemy.
      However, fishing boats had been constantly arriving from Norway 🇳🇴 manned by refugees.” (This from as early as July 1940 and throughout the autumn and winter of 1940).
      For even more clarity and accuracy, as well as David Howarth’s very good book, I can recommend “I Shetlandfartens Kjølvatn” Kristian Magnus Vikse and “Englandsfeber” Trygve Sørvaag.

      Martin Ole Olsen Meling.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • October 20th, 2021 18:06

        HMS Renown set out from Scapa Flow for the Vestfjorden with twelve destroyers on 4 April. British and German naval forces met at the first Battle of Narvik on 9 and 10 April, and the first British forces landed at Åndalsnes on the 13th. 1940. That was the start, sadly the end was many years later. I think the Royal Navy became engaged and lost lives at the very beginning. The Battle of Narvik was before Norway was fully occupied. The Royal Navy or the Norwegian Navy became involved.at the very beginning, to say otherwise is simply wrong.

      • Martin Ole Olsen Meling

        • October 21st, 2021 16:34

        Ian Tinkler. Non of the Naval engagements you site had anything to do with the Shetland Bus. To say that the Royal Navy ran the operation is simply not true. The success of the Shetland Bus was down to the courage and sacrifice of many brave Norwegian fishermen. To suggest otherwise is to dishonour their memory.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • October 22nd, 2021 14:29

        No one is dishonouring the memory of brave Norwegian fishermen, or for that matter the Royal Naval personnel, 2500 killed at sea before Norway fell, nor the many thousands of resistance fighters across occupied Europe.
        The simple fact remains this article is featuring and honours “Jakob Strandheim.” His Uniform is that of the Royal Norwegian Navy. His Ship, I believe, the HNoMS Vigra was commissioned into the Royal Norwegian Navy.
        A few brave fishermen may well have fought in the seaborn resistance against the Nazi occupation. The were not fighting alone. The success of the Shetland Bus was down to a lot more than the courage and sacrifice of a few very brave Norwegian fishermen.

  • Larsen Karl E

    • October 21st, 2021 9:30

    Jakob Strandheim was second in command of the Shetland bus “Hitra”, a vessel that is well preserved and still running as a museum ship. He had a record breaking 56 crossings of the North Sea during the war.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.