There is no shortage of historical reasons why links between Shetland and Norway remain as close as they are today. Nordic traditions are prevalent here in Shetland, our communities would be unrecognisable without them.
There is a bond between our lands the likes of which exist between few others. While there maybe countless examples, in relatively recent history, none are so poignant than our shared struggles during WWII.
Officially named the Norwegian Naval Independent Unit, the Shetland Bus was the nickname given to the group who provided a permanent link between Shetland and German occupied Norway from 1941 until 1945. The unit was operated initially by a large number of small fishing boats and later augmented by three fast and well-armed submarine chasers. Disguised as working fishing boats, most crossings took place during the dark winter months in heavy North Sea conditions with the constant threat of discovery by German aircraft or patrol boats. Several fishing boats were lost.
Kolbjørn Kristiansen, from Norway, and Mary Helen `Molly` Watt, from Scalloway met in 1941. Molly later learned Kolbjørn was a member of the Shetland Bus operation. They married, had 5 children, and after the war they settled in Hammerfest, Norway.
Recently their granddaughter, Margaret Helen Langø, was in Shetland visiting family. While here she bought a Harriet’s Hat pattern before returning to Norway.
Margaret made contact with us through the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal asking for permission to translate the pattern into Norwegian.
I bought a Harriets Hat knitting pattern to support the appeal, but I want to do more. Fair Isle knitting pattern are very popular in Norway.
I am also Secretary in my The Oppdal Rheumatism Society,and we make Knitting Events 4 times a year, where happy knitters come together in our Town Hall, workshops and professional knitters sharing their patterns and yarn.
I would love to make one of our Knitting events for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal.
As a thank you for the support and help between our folk during the war (grandad felt so safe working together with the shetlanders, the most decent folk ever he claimed)
And as a contribution from our EMT Society in Norway,as we want everyone to have the best healthcare,regardless location. Many of my colleagues are knittingfolk.
Margaret says she lives in a small community with a population of around 6500, slightly less than Lerwick here in Shetland.
Many years later,one of their grandbairns educate herself to become an EMT,working in the Norwegian Ambulance Services. That is me. I watch how an MRI scan save lifes and health nearly everytime I go to work.
I live in a small community, 6500 inhabitants, and we have an MRI scan just 1 hour drive by car. We are lucky.
We’re all incredibly moved by this gesture, and Billy has been discussing things with her throughout today. He’ll be helping her as much as he can so she can translate the pattern easily and organise the fundraising events she wants to. However, when it’s ready, the Norwegian Harriet’s Hat pattern will also be made available to download here on the site, so her kind offer can be extended across the whole of Norway.
We’ll be posting follow ups to let you know how Margaret gets on with her events, and of course to announce the release of her translated copy of the Harriet’s Hat pattern.
UPDATE : 30/07/2019
Margaret’s translation of the Harriet’s Hat pattern is now available to buy online here – Harriet’s Lue – På Norsk