Monday, 17 April 2017

WW2 Invasion of Shetland

At the outbreak of the Second World War the Shetland population was around the 18,000 mark. Soon nearly 24,000 servicemen arrived to make sure that the Germans didn't take control of these islands or the seas around them.

This friendly invasion of British service men automatically caused problems as there was little accommodation to house them. This resulted in a large amount of building work which benefited the local workforce.

It wasn't just the number of Nissan huts that sprang up but other concrete structures that would provide the defence of Shetland

Lookout hut on the cliffs

 Torpedo launch site protecting the south entrance to Lerwick harbour 

                                                Various gun posts provided the protection needed.

Today many of these structures remain in the outlying areas of Shetland and provide a fascinating insight into that era. There is not normally the pressure that you find in other parts of the UK to re-use the land for building. Some building have been removed for safety reasons while the biggest change has been in Lerwick which has expanded. This is where the largest amount of troops were stationed, but even here if you look carefully you can see the odd building among the houses

I have been collecting verbal accounts from people who lived in Shetland during WW2 and have amassed many hundreds of photos of various WW2 structures in Shetland which i hope to use in a book(s) that I will write at some stage. Still more research to do yet.

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Monday, 10 April 2017


Shetland has a good mixture of the old and new, this is especially evident in Lerwick and Scalloway

 The above was new in October 2016 down near the pier in Lerwick, called `Da Lightsome Buoy' it is a celebration of the role the pelagic fishing industry plays in Shetland life.

In Lerwick old stair wells lead to interesting buildings

                                               How long ago did this building have windows?

Striking red doors 

This area was used for filming the recent BBC1 Shetland drama, good news that filming will start again next month. Just hope that Shetland has more coverage this time

                                                                            Lerwick behind bars

                                                              Signs of how windy it is  in Shetland

                                            Anderson High School due to move to new premises later this year

Spring has almost arrived in Shetland, with a mass of daffodils beside the road, Puffins back at Sumburgh in the last few days, Skylarks in full song and the temperature in double figures.

We attended a birthday party at Islesburgh  recently and met Peter & Sandra Manson. Peter had a multi coloured beard and hair and the other day did a sponsored head shave, they were both raising funds for two local charities. They hoped to raise £5000 but due to the generosity of the local people raised an amazing £22,000 - well done to all, it could only happen in Shetland

The wind farm band wagon rolls on the Garth Wind Farm in North Yell opened last week and aims to boost the  local economy. At the same time Peel energy announced that they might build 21 Turbines across Mossy Hill just to the north of Lerwick but this depends on whether they get the go ahead for the interconnector (now around £80 billion)- just hope this and others never go ahead.

It must be a good time to start think about boosting tourism. People are talking trying to attract people up to Shetland in winter and why not with several Up Helly Aa's to attend, numerous music events and of course an opportunity to see the Aurora. (see what its all about and send me a request to join Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook) I am sure they come to see a wild place and would not see wind turbines as a tourist attraction.

Please take a look at my other blogs