In pictures: WW11 fishing boat to return to Norway

A historic fishing boat, stolen in WWII to make a dramatic North Sea escape to Scotland, is to be returned to Norway.

In the village of Johnshaven, preparations are being made to return a 100 year old fishing boat back to southern Norway from where it was stolen 70 years ago. Four Norwegians, desperate to escape the clutches of Nazi occupation “borrowed” the boat - VA 92 L - from a known Nazi collaborator, and made a remarkable and heroic crossing of the open North Sea to Scotland, coming ashore at Old Portlethen on July 28 1941.

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After the successful escape the boat was sold as a creel boat, renamed as Thistle and worked out of Stonehaven for the next four decades. Finally unseaworthy she came to rest on the quayside at Johnshaven, donated to the Johnshaven Heritage Society. Several attempts to find funds to restore her and to find a final resting place came to no avail. Exposed to the elements her condition steadily deteriorated.

Historian and writer Andrew Orr learned about Thistle through his researches into the Scottish–Norwegian book Sea Dog Bamse. He was able to use his many contacts in Norway to find the offer of a permanent home for VA 92 L - the Lista Museum in West-Agder. This is the place where the boat was actually built and was registered. The Johnshaven Heritage Society generously decided to gift the boat to Norway.