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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  1. THe defences there not as well known as Orkenys, due to Scapa Flow being there I guess

  2. Yes i think you are right, also not much information has been published. Lots still to find