Historical Airplanes Visit Reykjavík Airport En Route to Normandy

reykjavik airport historical planes

Three historical planes visited the Reykjavík Airport last night. The planes, which are all restored from the Second World War, were on their way to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

One of the youngest pilots in the world

Among the crew of one of the planes were father and son team Tim and Job Savage from Florida. Job is one of the youngest such pilots in the world. This was the young aviator’s first transatlantic crossing.

tim and job savage
Job (L) and Tim (R) Savage. Photo by Erik.

When we spoke to them they had arrived from refueling in Greenland. “It’s been an 11-hour flight from Goose Bay in Labrador,” Tim stated. “We got up at 3:30 Goose Bay time, left the airport in a rainstorm and made it to Greenland around 12:00 Greenland time.” The team report that the trip went well, though cockpit temperatures averaged -5°C [23°F]. The Greenland stop lasted for around an hour and a half before continuing to Iceland.

The pair described the trip as “quite the adventure.”

The plane in question they piloted was a 1941 Douglas DC-3 that had been used as a transport plane during the Second World War and later served as an airliner.

That’s All, Brother

A third historical plane made its way to the Reykjavík Airport as well last night. Dubbed “That’s All, Brother,” the plane has been described as one of the most historically significant planes still in flight. “That’s All, Brother” is a Douglas C-47, a military version of the similar DC-3. It famously led the first wave of paratroopers during the Allied invasion of Normandy, which will be commemorating its 80th anniversary this year.

historical plane reykjavík airport

The crew spent a day in Reykjavík and clearly did some shopping at souvenir shops. After their return on board, the public was invited to tour the historical planes, which left the Reykjavík Airport this morning to continue their journey to Scotland.


Deep North Episode 66: Skeletons in the Closet

björn sveinsson

Saturday, May 18, 1946 was a pleasant spring morning in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. The war, with all its horror, had ended a year previously and western Europe was gradually moving toward a civil society based on human rights, justice, and democracy while simultaneously rebuilding and ridding itself of the last vestiges of Nazi occupation. At Vestre Fængsel prison, a 36-year-old Icelandic detainee sat alone in his cell, reading an English novel his younger brother had brought for him. When he had been taken into custody, he had been certain that the arrest order was built on an unfortunate misunderstanding and that he would surely be released once the post-war situation had calmed. A long, boring, and lonely year later he was still awaiting trial, having been indicted on a number of onerous charges. His hope was flagging and none of this boded well for his future.

Many might know the story of how Iceland was affected by the Second World War, but the story of many Icelandic ex-Nazis remains untold. We take a look at the life of Björn Sv. Björnsson – an Icelander and member of the Waffen SS.

Correction: In the discussion after the article, Björn Sv. Björnsson is mistakenly referred to as Sveinn Björn Sveinsson.

Read the story here.

Deep North Episode 58: Disaster on Dark Seas

ES goðafoss

On the morning of November 20, 1944, a single U-boat cruised silently at periscope depth beneath the rough waves of the North Atlantic, lurking just a few kilometres off the Northwest coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. The lone periscope was virtually invisible in the turbulent grey ocean waters. The German submarine, type VIIC/41, designated U-300, was commanded by 24-year-old Lieutenant Fritz Hein with a crew of 50 men barely out of their teens. Their mission was simple: To attack and destroy Allied vessels off the southwestern tip of Iceland as they approached the Icelandic mainland from North America. The bigger the ship they could sink, the better.

Read the story here.

Is there an article about the Icelandic passenger ship that was sunk in 1944 by a U-boat?

godafoss icelandic ship ww2

On November 10, 1944, a German U-boat sank Goðafoss, an Icelandic passenger ship, just outside Reykjavík harbour, leading to the deaths of  24 people. We haven’t written about the event itself, but we have, however, covered the reception history of an interesting book about the event, called “Útkall: Árás á Goðafoss,” or “SOS: Attack on the Goðafoss.” 

Published in 2003 by Óttar Sveinsson, it attracted international attention and has been translated into multiple languages. Notably, when it was translated into German, a special press conference was held at the Frankfurt book fair, in which an Icelandic survivor from the attack and a former U-Boat crew member met and reconciled. After the German translation attracted some attention, a documentary was even made about the event in Germany. 

While the Goðafoss may certainly be the most notorious U-boat attack from an Icelandic perspective, it was certainly not the only one to affect Icelanders. Because of Iceland’s important position between Europe and North America, many wartime convoys passed through Iceland. Icelandic vessels were very careful to fly the Icelandic flag to signal their neutrality, but some eight Icelandic vessels were nevertheless attacked and sunk by U-boats during the war.