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The Shetland Bus [Paperback]

Kjell Colding , David J. Howarth
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shetland Times Ltd; New edition edition (28 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1898852421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1898852421
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


During World War II, the "Shetland Bus" would go across the North Sea to occupied Norway, to take supplies and saboteurs into the fjords under the noses of the Germans, and to take refugees to safety on the return journey. This is the story of those secret wartime missions.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
You won't find any buses within the pages of this splendid book. This book relates the little known story of the brave British and Norwegian men who operated what we would today call a "shuttle service" between Nazi-occupied Norway and the Shetland Isles, 200 miles apart across the treacherous North Sea. Even if you're not into war-related fiction/non-fiction, I would recommend this book for a good read.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly gripping 10 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An utterly gripping and fantastically well written account of the unconventional British Navy and Norwegian operations through the dark, storm lashed winters in Shetland. Howarth vividly evokes Shetland - you can almost feel the rain on your face. This book is a fitting remembrance to the courage of the men who risked all; in Shetland people remember them very well. It describes how closely Norway worked with Britain and how a special relationship developed betweenour two countries. Every year Norway sends 2 christmas trees to the UK, one intended for Trafalgar Square in London, and the other to Shetland.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and uplifting tale of heroism 10 Dec 2008
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This is a wonderful tale of an diverse mix of men from Norway and Britain, some military, most not who came together in the Shetlands to form a link between Norway and Britain during the dark days of Nazi occupation. The tales of heroism at sea are awe inspiring, long voyages north of the Artic circle in vile conditions right under the nose of the Nazi war machine to deliver men and munitions and importantly hope to Norway. A really good read indeed about people whose deeds are scarcely known but fully deserve to be recorded. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A modern saga - epic, dramatic, true 18 Nov 2010
The book: from late 1941 to early 1943 there was a steady stream (as long as the nights were long) of small Norwegian fishing boats between Shetland and many parts of Norway. The shortest crossings were some 150 miles; the longest 900 miles - all this in 50 to 75 feet boats with single-cylinder engines, in winter, with the occupying Germans hunting them with 'planes and warships. The boats carried people, messages, explosives, weapons (400 tons), 350 refugees, 60 radio transmitters; sometimes they laid small mines, and occasionally they would attempt the odd attack on a German battleship. The boats were manned by volunteers, resourceful and brave Norwegians, and when their boats were sunk they died, or if they were lucky escaped by rowing forty miles in a leaky boat - one guy rowing, the other baling. In early 1943 the losses were mounting, so they switched to US subchasers, with which they carried out 114 ops without losses - this bit occupies two pages! The main part is about what all Norwegians understood by the Shetland bus: small Norse fishing boats plying a dangerous trade. One of the skippers was Leif Larsen, who for his services received the GCM, DSM (bar), DSC, DSO - the only allied officer of the war to receive all of these; plus a host of Norwegian medals.

The author was one of the main organizers on the Shetland side; he was categorically forbidden to sail with his 'independent buccaneers', which rankled; he felt the proper spirit was officers to share their men's dangers and all their risks. In the end he asks 'was it worth it?' and writes "everyone in Norway knew that the route to and from Shetland was always kept open" and that "our base of 100 men" was an essential link in a chain which bound 284,000 German soldiers in Norway throughout the war.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different sort of War Story 22 Dec 2008
When changing flights between England and Shetland I picked up a used copy of this book at a charity stall in Inverness airport. Expecting the usual sort of war story, I was quickly drawn into a fascinating account of bravery and stamina, to such an extent that I couldn't put it down until it was finished. Although I had, and still do, visit Shetland regularly, the story of the Shetland Bus was new information for me. Since reading it I have made a point of visiting the places mentioned, and on a recent visit to Shetland I experienced some of the exceptionally wild weather that these islands endure.
If you like true stories, this is one of the best. Then go north, and see the place, you will never forget it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling 21 Jan 2010
By Miquel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of a bunch of brave men operating out of Shetland and into occupied Norway. Although the scale of the operations was small in the overall WWII context, the audacity and bravery some of these men displayed is astonishing, they saved lifes and kep hope alive. I recommend reading it together with "Another Man's Shoes" (to get the vision from those that were on the occupied land).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They served us well 8 Feb 2009
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A must buy for all folk interested in war history.

A very easy read and factual.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lars when I was very young...a true hero.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shetland Bus 1 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An informative book, which I have read many years ago, but which I wanted to read again having just returned from Norway. It sets out in detail the early "seasons" for this work, but then skips the last few seasons when the fishing boats were replaced by ex American ships. Pity about the error made by the author's son in the last page. The memorial to those lost and those who survived the experience was unveiled in Aalesund and not Bergen as stated in the text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
Delivered in good order - no problems thank you
Published 28 days ago by Emerald Mermaid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great to re read the book set for my GCE exam in the 60's
Published 2 months ago by P G Kaines
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a fantastic book especially if you visit norway
Published 2 months ago by Sheila
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shetland Bus
An excellent and detailed study of a little-known episode (episodes) of ww2. Thoroughly researched, and illustrated as well as can be expected with this subject.
Published 4 months ago by C. Barclay
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten wartime conflict
Easy to read factual history of a fascinating wartime operations in the Norwegian theatre. The bravery and commitment of ordinary people in sustaining the fight against Nazi... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Simon Says
5.0 out of 5 stars shetland
bought as a present for somebody else
sail was excel buy informative a d very descriptive
excel buy well done
Published 7 months ago by lowepeter
5.0 out of 5 stars COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN
Started to read it Sunday morning finished it Sunday night when i cooked my rather late Sunday Lunch.
One of the best books I have ever read.
Published 8 months ago by BL Drick
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing War Heroes.
I first read this in the Express Weekly comic in 1956 under the title of the Shetland Gang, which didn't do it full justice. But it did make me aware of the history. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Peter Tinkler
4.0 out of 5 stars Filled a gap
Thoroughly good read giving excellent insight into world war 11 in Norway and its resistance networks that helped overcome the invasion
Published 12 months ago by Kathy Bowles
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroric Voyages
Through five years of war Norwegians and British fishermen fought almost single handed against the German occupation forces in Norway. Read more
Published 13 months ago by John C Groves
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