75th Anniversary of the covert SHETLAND BUS wartime operations from the Scottish Shetland Islands in to occupied Norway.
Only 25 of these covers have been produced featuring this privately produced cinderella stamp of a WW2 submarine chaser used for Shetland Bus operations. The cinderella stamp has been cancelled with a faux commemorative Scalloway postmark.
Clandestine boat trips in to occupied Norway were regularly carried out from the Shetland Islands beginning in Summer 1941 until the end of WW2. Apart from supplies, Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents were taken in to Norway and, among the people extracted, were downed allied airmen. The operation became known as "The Shetland Bus" and 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of its first operations.
The Shetland Bus started operating by using slow fishing boats as depicted by the cover image of the Scalloway memorial but, in October 1943, operations across the North Sea became much faster and safer when the americans donated three "submarine chasers" which the norwegians named HNoMS Hessa, HNoMS Vitra and HNoMS Vigra. The cinderella stamp on this cover shows Vigra in Scalloway, Shetland. It should not be forgotten that 44 men gave their lives while serving on the Shetland Bus.
The cinderella stamp, which has been professionally printed, perforated and gummed, is not an official postage stamp but has been produced privately to adorn mail items (in addition to valid postage) and create collectable keepsakes like this cover. There is a long tradition of producing cinderella stamps in the UK and around the world to highlight events and support campaigns and they are now a widely accepted specialisation in philately.
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