New Military Trail to Commemorate Anniversary of Wartime Event at Sumburgh Head

Published: 08 April, 2021

Download our new Military Trail to find out more about the defensive role Sumburgh Head played during World War 2

On 8th April 1940, Admiralty Experimental Station 1, the Naval Radar Station at Sumburgh Head thwarted a surprise German air raid on the British Home Fleet, at anchor in Scapa Flow, Orkney. To commemorate this wartime event we have created a new Military Trail for visitors to explore the grounds of Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and find out more about the defensive role that this part of Shetland had during World War Two.  

The Trail includes fascinating wartime photographs from Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, including the Radar Station under construction in autumn 1939 (courtesy collection of Lt Dunworth via Squadron Leader Mike Dean, MBE), see above. There are also more recent images of surviving wartime features, uncovered during groundworks carried out from 2012, as part of the renovation of Sumburgh Head Lighthouse. These groundworks were monitored by Shetland Amenity Trust Archaeologist, Chris Dyer, to record and interpret these features and recover any artefacts, including a military cap badge and bullet casings. 

Visitors to the site are encouraged to use this new Military Trail to find the features on the ground that relate to this fascinating chapter in the history of Sumburgh Head Lighthouse. The trail also details the events of the 8th April 1940, when Sub-Lieutenant George Clifford Evans detected planes south-east of Sumburgh and provided early warning of an impending attack on the British Home Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. 

Download your copy of the 'Sumburgh Head at War' trail.