New work to pay homage to War heroes

The incredible story of the Shetland Bus heroes is to be celebrated in a new work by Martin Winter performed in a special concert by Tertnes Brass in November.

  The tiny fishing boats were used for the covert operations

Tertnes Brass is to pay musical homage to some of bravest heroes of the Second World War who risked their lives crossing the treacherous North Sea in Winter to ferry arms, engineers and special forces fighters under the cover of darkness to help Norwegian resistance against Nazi occupiers.

The Shetland Bus

They have commissioned a new work from trumpet player and conductor Martin Winter entitled 'The Shetland Bus' (Shetlandsgjengen) — the nickname of the clandestine operations that took place from 1942 to the end of the war that disguised small fishing boats to carry their vital cargo.

The boats made an incredible 198 trips to Norway and back to Shetland transporting 192 agents and 383 tons of weapons and supplies. On the return journey they carried back 73 agents and 373 refugees. 43 brave men of the group were killed.

Special concert

The work which will be performed in a special concert on Saturday 28th November tells the story of one specific journey of the 'Shetland Bus', starting from the secret harbour of Lunna in the Shetlands.

During the terrible winter months the boat led by Leif 'Shetland' Larsen, who was to become the most decorated officer outside of the Royal Navy, undertook a mission to northern Norway.

Undertaken in complete darkness, they encountered a particular brutal storm as well as being hunted by both wolf pack submarines and Luftwaffe planes, relying on their Captain's remarkable seafaring skills.

Immense challenges

Martin told 4BR: "Despite the immense challenges of nature and enemy the trip was a success and following the return to Shetland the Norwegian crew celebrated by playing traditional Nordic folk music.

However, the piece also includes 30 seconds of silence in honour of those who were lost on other journeys."

The boats made an incredible 198 trips to Norway and back to Shetland transporting 192 agents and 383 tons of weapons and supplies. On the return journey they carried back 73 agents and 373 refugees. 43 brave men of the group were killed4BR

Remarkable man

Leif Larsen was presented with the DSO, DSG, CGM, DSM and Bar for his incredible service in leading his ships, with renowned historian David Howarth describing him as "one of the most remarkable personalities of the entire Second World War". A statue in his honour now stands in the Bryggen area of Bergen.

Martin also revealed that there is a link between the great hero and the banding community in Norway as Larsen's brother Arlix conducted the then Bjorsvik Band in 1951, shortly before the Bjorsvik merged with Eikanger to form the now world famous band.

Further details about the free live stream concert will be published on 4BR in due course.

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


On the 1st Day of Christmas...

December 1 • My true love said to me... Have you heard the one about?


New Year treat from Cory

December 1 • The world's number 1 brass band will be offering players a chance to keep up those New Year's practice resolutions.


Report & Results: 2020 Brass Band League online solo contest

December 1 • There was a fantastic response from entrants in taking part in the Brass Band League Northern Ireland online solo competition — and plenty of fantastic playing on show too.


New English Covid-19 guidance from BBE

December 1 • Brass Bands England publishes new Coronavirus pandemic advice to take effect from 3rd December.

The Marple Band - Marple Band Family Christmas Concert

Friday 18 December • Marple Conservative Club, church Lane, Marple, SK6 6AY

Black Dyke Band - Brighouse & Rastrick, Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 27 March • Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA

Contest: 100thSpring Festival

Saturday 8 May • 97 Church St, Blackpool, FY1 1HL

Contest: Whit Friday March Contests

Friday 28 May • Saddleworth & Tameside OL3

Contest: 168th British Open

Saturday 11 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Foss Dyke Band

November 30 • Front Row Cornet vacancy still up for grabs! Come and join Foss and enjoy our newly refurbished band room with newly appointed MD David Dernley. Foss Dyke are a 1st Section Band with a moderate contest and concert schedule.

Chadderton Band

November 17 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Most welcome to come along and have a blow give us a try.

Crewe Brass

November 12 • Crewe Brass require an Eb or Bb Bass to complete the "engine room" line up. We are also seeking a Tuned Percussionist to complete our section.

David A. Stowell

Conductor and composer


 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd