Last voyage for the legendary Thistle

THE tiny fishing boat which was at the centre of one of the most dramatic escape stories of the Second World War yesterday began a poignant journey back to Norway from Scotland.

In 1941 the 23ft open-decked boat, now named the Thistle, was used by four Norwegians to flee from their Nazi occupied homeland on a hazardous voyage across the North Sea.

The vessel was used as a creel boat for more than 40 years by fishermen in Stonehaven before being donated to the Johnshaven Heritage Society, a short distance down the Kincardine coast.

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Yesterday a crowd of more than 100 men, women and children crowded onto the quayside at the fishing village to wave the Thistle off on the first stage of its journey back to Norway where the boat will become a permanent memorial to Norwegians who fled to join the Allied war effort.