Norwegian visitors explore Toon's war connection
A party of 30 Norwegians visited Peterhead earlier this month to explore the Secret Base and war-time connections with the port.
The party was led by Johan Aakre of the Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, and they were met by Peterhead’s town centre officer, Heather Barclay, who was their guide for the day.
Peterhead’s secret naval base was at Port Henry Harbour but prior to their visit there they were welcomed to the town’s Arbuthnot Museum where they enjoyed some light refreshments - and specially baked cakes decorated with the Norwegian flag.
There they spoke with museum attendant Heather Lawson whose father worked at the base but was unable to tell his family until it was declassified in the 1970s.
They were also shown a knife that was given to a family who lived in Adziel House in Strichen.
The house was used to debrief agents when they were brought back over from Norway and the knife had been given to the family from one of the agents. It is belived they used it as a vegetable knife!
The party then headed down to Port Henry Harbour where the base was.
It also incorporated the area occupied by John Smith and the former Union Bar, where they held meetings.
The Union Bar had belonged to Alexander Ellis who was a Bailie in the town but was also one of the biggest smugglers in Buchan.
They then proceeded to visit the site of the telegraph cable which ran from Egersund to Peterhead.
Egersund was captured by the Germans in April 1940 with the main objective of cutting the undersea telegraph cable linking Norway to the UK.
The cable carried telegraphs between the two countries.
By severing Norway’s links with the outside world the Germans intended to inhibit Allied intelligence from gaining information on the German invations.
It would also aid the Germans in gaining control of Norway’s communications, an din using those communications to pacify the population and discourage resistence.
The party presented a section of the telepgraph cable to Arbuthnot Museum which will form part of a new exhibition later this year.
Speaking to the Buchanie, Mr Aakre said: “The cable between Egersund and Peterhead is a very important part of our history. We are spending one week over here to see where the connection was and also to we are very interested in the secret naval base.
“I had an aunt and uncle living here. while my grandfather’s boat was one of the boats which was used to go back and forth to Norway so I am interested in both the war and on a personal level,” he said.
He added that his neice had died when she was just ten months old and was buried in the town.
“I have laid some Norwegian heather at the grave,” he added.
Heather Barclay said: “The presentation of the cable slice is an important symbol of the link between the two towns.
“It will now go on display at the museum.”
She added that promoting cultural ties between Egersund and Peterhead could help boost local tourism in the future.