Shetland Bus

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Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:56 pm

Looking for information on the small vessels that used to run arms and operatives etc from Aberdeen to support the Shetland Bus operations from Shetland during WW2. I’m sure the operation had a name and was mentioned on this forum some time ago. Sadly I didn’t make note of it at the time. Also does anyone have any more information on the relationship between the Shetland Bus operations and HMS Ambrose II, the forward Base for HMS Ambrose in Dundee supporting submarine activities from Lerwick to the Norwegian coast. A number of submarines were involved in Shetland Bus special operations out of Lerwick and Lunna and I’m interested to know how that worked or was planned. I have little information about HMS Ambrose II here in Lerwick other than where it was based and that the submarines called to load stores, bunkers and torpedoes as well as a safe haven for the crews to have a run ashore. I should add that having gone through the Port records for Lerwick as well as many of the submarine voyage reports I have on computer almost all the submarines that passed through the port during WW2 - there are maybe 4 entries simply noted as submarine without name or flag which I cannot find any record of so possibly Russian ..? I am also a good way through the transfer of all WW2 Port records for Lerwick onto computer, covering the period from midway 1939 until midway 1945.
Hoping someone can help, thanks.
Retired port control officer with Lerwick Port Authority
Platon Alexiades
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Platon Alexiades » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:12 pm

I may be able to help as far as submarines stopping at Lerwick if you can provide the dates for these 4 entries.

Platon
Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:19 pm

Hi Platon, thank you for your offer and initially please find three missing names from March 1942. I attach a screen shot which includes the other ‘Subs’ around Lerwick at the time. I cannot find any records of British, French, Dutch or Norwegian submarines that could be attributed to these three unknowns! I hope you can prove me wrong!
Thanks John
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Platon Alexiades
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Platon Alexiades » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:48 pm

Hi John,

The search in my database drew a blank for the period 14-16 March 1942. I do not claim it is perfect as corrections are being made on a daily basis! I checked British, French, Dutch, Norwegian and Soviet submarines,

A few observations:

Two submarines were at Lerwick at that time:

HMS Tuna: at Lerwick 11- 16 March 1942. No log has survived for this period. She may have sortied for exercises. She sailed for patrol on 16 March.
FFS Minerve: the pages for 10-18 March 1942 are missing from her log. She was at Lerwick at the time and may also have sortied for exercises. She sailed for patrol on 19 March.

In addition:

FFS Rubis: did not stop at Lerwick but was in the general area on 14 March.

HMS Trident briefly stopped at Lerwick on 17 March on her way to the Holy Loch after completion of a successful patrol (she had torpedoed the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 23 February).

Best regards,

Platon
Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:53 pm

Hi Platon,

Many thanks for your interesting comments and observations. I had also thought that the most likely explanation for these unnamed arrivals were submarines already in port slipping out and back having been on exercise off Lerwick so it’s reassuring to have a second opinion. As you obviously have some expertise in this area I do have several more questions about submarine movements through Lerwick but should I continue to post them up here or pm you to continue privately...? I don’t want to upset the moderators by sticking on this one topic...?
Thanks again
John
phil morgan
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:41 pm

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by phil morgan » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:35 am

Shetland Bus
From a brief look in the book “Shetland Bus” by David Howarth there is no indication of any contact with HMS Ambrose. It will take a little longer to dig further.
A Major L H Mitchell was the CO based in Shetland, with a junior naval officer, David Howarth, as second-in-command.
The book mentions several Norwegian boats and crew members, and it has several mentions of various operations and escapades.
Good hunting
Phil Morgan
Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:23 am

Hi Phil,
Thanks for your reply and yes the Shetland Bus book has a lot of very interesting details as does the War Sailors site which lists the small boats that arrived in Shetland having escaped from Norway. A very useful source from which to compare names with those shown in the port records for Lerwick (there are in fact additional vessels show in the port records that don't feature in the WS list but thats for another post). What I had hoped for was a similar list showing the small boats that ran between Shetland and Aberdeen supporting the Shetland Bus operation bringing in arms and men from the Mainland. These could then be matched to arrivals shown in the port records.
With regard to HMS Ambrose II, the shore base for submarines at Lerwick there was certainly some contact between them and the Shetland Bus operators with record of several operations both out of Lerwick and Lunna involving submarines landing agents and supplies to remote locations in Norway.
According to the Imperial War Museum there is a privately published memoir by Lt Commander Todd titled 'A Long Time Underwater' that includes a piece about his time in Lerwick when based at HMS Ambrose II, in 1943. An interesting read I'm guessing and a publication which I would love to get hold of!
Other names mentioned as being based at HMS Ambrose II are E.R.J.Oddie, Commanding Officer April - September 1943 and Lt Charles Campbell Haddow - March - August 1943 (from Unit Histories RN Officers 1939-1945)
Still looking for that link between the two shore establishments in Dundee and Lerwick (HMS Ambrose and HMS Ambrose II) and the Shetland Bus operations !
Thanks
John
Siri
Site Admin
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:57 pm

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Siri » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:19 am

Murmanseld wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:53 pm
but should I continue to post them up here or pm you to continue privately...? I don’t want to upset the moderators by sticking on this one topic...?
Thanks again
John
It takes quite a bit to upset this moderator, so please continue to post here; others might benefit from them.
Siri, webmistress of warsailors
Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:42 am

Ah, excellent thanks. Didn’t want to get things wrong at this early stage having just joined the group!
John
Platon Alexiades
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Platon Alexiades » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:09 pm

Murmanseld wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:53 pm
Hi Platon,

Many thanks for your interesting comments and observations. I had also thought that the most likely explanation for these unnamed arrivals were submarines already in port slipping out and back having been on exercise off Lerwick so it’s reassuring to have a second opinion. As you obviously have some expertise in this area I do have several more questions about submarine movements through Lerwick but should I continue to post them up here or pm you to continue privately...? I don’t want to upset the moderators by sticking on this one topic...?
Thanks again
John
Hi John,

You may find more information on submarine movements in the Allied submarine section of uboat.net, however it is not organised to provide quick answers on a specific date. My database is more suited for this. You can certainly post your questions here. Perhaps separate topics will be easier to handle.

Best regards,

Platon
Murmanseld
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:28 am

Re: Shetland Bus

Post by Murmanseld » Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:02 pm

Thanks, yes I’ve been through uboat.net which has proved a nice double check of dates for submarine movements through Lerwick as well as providing details of several visits which weren’t shown in the port records. At present I have details for 549 submarine movements through Lerwick between 1941 and 1945.
It’s mostly the foreign ‘subs’ that I have struggled to find details on and if you or anyone else can fill in some blanks for me that would be much appreciated. Once the transfer of written data for WW2 from the port archives is completed and on my computer, including all the submarine activity, the whole lot will be printed off and passed to our local museum. It will perhaps be more accessible then to anyone interested in this period of Lerwick’s wartime and maritime history to access than having to search through old dusty ledgers, with handwritten records often hard to decipher! The Port Authority should be commended though for maintaining an excellent archive with shipping records going back to 1913 and continuing through to the present day.
Will post up what I am looking for separately on a new thread starting with 1941.
Thanks
John
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