Shetland "Hands Across the Sea" Norway



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A base for the operations to Norway was established at Lunna in the East Mainland. It seemed an ideal location in many ways. The headquarters was Lunna House, an old manor dating from the 1660's.

It was situated on a narrow isthmus with good harbours in the east and west. It was also secluded which would help with the necessity to keep the operations secret.

Although Lunna was ideal in many ways it had its drawbacks. The Lunna base was a lonely place and life ashore often became monotonous for the crews.

All communication with the outside world was difficult. As time went on it became evident that the base should be moved.

The most important reason for this was that its main advantage, its isolation, has become a weapon against it. The base was known and in a possible German sea or air raid they would be completely helpless.

Lunna was an ideal base for the secret organisation being off the main road and away from the main shipping areas with a good depth of water beside the stone pier.

There were plenty of stone sheds to serve as stores and the large mansion house there made ideal headquarters. The main drawback was the distance from the repair yards of Lerwick and Scalloway and the frustrating delays in having vital repairs carried out.

During the summer of 1942 the base was moved to Scalloway. This was on the wrong side of Shetland for going to Norway, and even if there is a sheltered, natural harbour, the waters off this part of the coast are difficult and dangerous.

However, Lerwick was already taken up with naval units. The cooperation of Jack Moore and his engineering firm William Moore and Son weighed heavily in favour of Scalloway as efficient maintenance had become essential. The Prince Olav Slipway was built at Moore's workshop to repair the boats of "the Shetland gang" as they were called in Norway.

The slipway was opened in the autumn of 1942 by King Olav, who was then the crown prince.

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Made in Shetland