Donation of Handmade Tools

A collection of wooden tools, handmade and signed by William Groat, Principal Lighthouse Keeper at Sumburgh Head during World War 2, have been kindly donated to Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve by Mandy and Bob Porter of Exnaboe.  Mandy is William’s granddaughter, and although she was only seven when he passed away, she remembers William as a kind man.

William is also remembered for his important contribution to the war effort through the letters he wrote to the Admiralty in London; these questioned the decisions on the placement of guns at Sumburgh Head, and the need for greater protection of women and children on the site.  William took on the post at Sumburgh Head as his last job before retirement and this gave him the experience and authority to raise concerns directly with the Admiralty. He held the position as Principal Lighthouse Keeper from 10th June 1937 to 1st February 1945. William joined the Lighthouse Board following his early career as a carpenter, during which he utilised these beautiful tools.

The wooden tools will be included in an exhibition in the Shetland Museum and Archives display cabinet at Sumburgh airport in 2015. The display will focus on the work of the Radar station at Sumburgh Head and the seventy fifth anniversary of the radar team alerting the British fleet at Scapa Flow to an attempted bombing raid by the German Luftwaffe on April 8 1940.