Take a poignant visit to the fjord town of Reydarfjordur, and learn how the inhabitants saved dozens of British soldiers during the Second World War.

Iceland was under Allied occupation for much of World War II and Reydarfjordur was occupied by around 3,000 British troops. The reminders of this time are fairly visible, ranging from an airport and old barracks to small gun shelters. In 1995 a Wartime Museum was founded in the old barracks.

The Museum portrays life in Iceland during the war as well as the harrowing tale of the journey by the ill-fated Kings’ Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) in January 1942. The platoon were marching over the mountains from Reydarfjordur when, just two kilometres from their destination of Eskifjordur, they got into trouble near a small farmstead called Veturhus. A young man inspecting his family’s modest property for weather damage, came across a KOYLI soldier, barely alive, and realised he would not be alone. He and his younger brother searched through the night for the remaining platoon members on the slopes of Eskifjardaheidi and, over several hours and in blizzard conditions, they rescued 48 soldiers and took them into their home. Four soldiers found their own shelter but eight soldiers lost their lives that night – the greatest loss of life sustained by British troops in east Iceland during World War II.

Following the moving visit to the Museum you will make a short stop at the town’s cemetery where flowers will be laid on the graves of the eight young servicemen who lost their lives. This is a fitting end to this interesting and emotional tour which has given you an insight into 1940’s rural Iceland during wartime.