The Shetland Bus

A documentary by Rebecca Archer (Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom)

The Shetland Bus Operation was a wartime resistance movement set up by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s secret organisation, the Special Operations Executive. Soon after German forces invaded Norway, the whole country rapidly fell under Nazi rule, resulting in thousands of Norwegian refugees and disorganised resistance groups hiding in their own country. The operation aimed to work behind enemy lines with the resistance groups, by not only providing a regular transport system between Shetland and Norway, but also an escape life-line for refugees and fugitives. From 1941-1945, young Norwegian volunteers, mostly fisherman, used disguised Norwegian fishing boats to make many hazardous trips across the North Sea in the dark and stormy months of winter. The job was dangerous, as they also risked being discovered by the German Luftwaffe as they delivered wireless operators, armaments and secret agents into Nazi occupied Norway, and on their return brought back refugees and resistance operatives to Shetland. The concept with The Shetland Bus Documentary is to reveal how this dangerous operation was undertaken and what its significance was to World War Two.