The Shetland Bus was the name given to the clandestine organisation formed by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the military intelligence service of Norway’s government-in-exile.
From 1941 till May 1945 the group first used Norwegian fishing boats then later on faster well-armed sub-chasers, based at Scalloway, in Shetland, to ferry agents and equipment into Nazi-occupied Norway and to maintain contact with resistance groups. On return, crews brought out Norwegians who feared arrest by the Germans. Coded messages were passed in BBC broadcasts.
Most crossings were made in winter, when daylight was short, with no lights and with North Sea conditions at their worst. Boats were disguised as working fishing boats with only light machine-guns hidden inside fish-barrels on deck. Civilian Shetlanders were integral in helping the Norwegians to prepare for their special operations and looked after their crews.