Shetland 'Bus'

Shetland 'Bus'

Stephen Wynn
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This is a slim book of some 199 pages by Stephen Wynn.

It is not totally as it shows on the cover a history of the Shetland Bus which was a ferry service run between Shetland and Norway during WW2 ferrying men and material to Norway and refugees and operators back to Scotland. This book details in some depth the situation in Norway from its invasion by the Germans in 1940 until its liberation on the 9th of May 1945.

The author has in effect written a book which is as far as I can find is unique as it reports the situation in which the occupation as it developed in its distinct parts, political and civil, resistance activities in Norway and personalities and from both sides from Terbovan, the German commissar in charge of Norway, and Quisling the person who was in effect the ruler of Norway under German direction and members of the Norwegian Resistance. German subjugation of Norway was severe and atrocities were committed by the Germans and their collaborators and fellow travellers for acts of resistance such as the burning of villages and murder of the population. The book relates just how many covert operations undertaken by the Special Operations Executive and the Norwegian organisation the Kompani Linge took place in Norway and in particular those against the materials extracted such as iron ore which the German war industry required or the use of canoes with crews using limpet mines to attack shipping. Many people are named of which unless you are Norwegian the reader would never have heard of and have with this book will become known to a wider population.

There is a specific part in the book concerning the Shetland bus and the bravery of the men who operated the service as crews and the terrible conditions that they sailed in, in particular in the winter months and conditions in the North Sea plus the added risk of detection by German air and sea forces. There also a section in the appendices that has been extracted from Hansard (Official published record from the House of Commons) regarding debates that mentioned Norway.

There are a couple of gripes with a number of typos and German rank misidentification, but I’m sure they can be dealt with in any reprints in the future.

In conclusion as I stated earlier this is one of the books that reveals that a war of resistance in the west was not just fought in France and the Low countries but in Norway as well, in conditions that were quite inhospitable in particular during the long northern winters.

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