Odds and ends

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Iceland, Then and Now

For several years I have comtemplated revisiting Iceland, where I served during the war. The pictures indicate the changes that have occurred over the past 63 years.

This the cemetery where nine of my squadron mates are buried. All the graves in this plot are of casualties of British Commonwealth nations, including Canada. Several crew members of HMCS Skeena died while their ship was working out of Reykjavik. It is tended for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

This is the same spot in December, 1944. Notice the lack of trees at that time. I marched in that parade. It was a very blustery day, as indicated by the snow covered uniforms of the honour guard.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Living up to his name, Traveling Man visited Iceland, 63 years after doing wartime service there with the RCAF. This view was taken from the water storage facility for the City of Reykjavik, mounted on a hill alongside the airport. It was taken by Ragnar Ragnarsson, a friend I had met on the Internet. In the background is the airport from which our squadron operated. From a restaurant at the top there is an unlimited view in all directions.
My trip to Iceland proved to be even better than my expectations. Ragnar and I spent an entire afternoon together. He took me to all the places I wanted to see and gave me a tour of the city and surrounding area. Although there is nothing left of our wartime camp site, remembered by Americans as Camp Kitcherbellaikin, and renamed camp Maple Leaf when we took it over from them, I took some pictures at the cemetery nearby where nine of our Squadron casualties are buried.
My visit ended with a bang. I didn't expect to be treated to a 6.3 scale earthquake. However, I was already at the Keflavik airport waiting for my departure time, and the tremor there was barely noticeable. In fact, I didn't know until I got home that the quake had happened.