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This is a 1939-1945 defence medal awarded to Willie Laurenson, who was one of several Shetlanders who kept vigil at the whaling base at Leith Harbour, South Georgia throughout the Second World War. The harbour was Chr Salvesen & Co's main whaling station and base. Salvesen's was a British whaling company, and they operated in the waters surrounding Antarctica for over 50 years. By 1910 they were the largest whaling operation in the world. The threat of invasion at Leith Harbour during the war was taken seriously, and a small group of whalers were recruited as a defence force. The
majority of the men were from Shetland and had worked at the
whaling in previous years.