70th anniversary of British soldiers’ rescue in Iceland

This weekend marked 70 years since residents of the Veturhús farm near Eskifjörður, east Iceland, saved the lives of over 40 British soldiers.

The soldiers had set off on foot from Reyðarfjörður over the mountains hoping to reach Eskifjörður. They set off in good weather on the morning of the 20th January 1942. As the day progressed they encountered severe wind and snowfall. A total of 60 British soldiers were on the trek and eight of them died.

The ill-fated walk and the ensuing rescue effort were commemorated yesterday at Veturhús, with flowers, candles and flags; as well as speeches and readings from media and personal accounts from the time.

Magnús Pálsson, one of the rescuers from 70 years ago, was invited to the British embassy in Reykjavík, where he received official recognition and tribute from the British military.

Mayor of Fjarðabyggð (where Veturhús is located) Jens Garðar Helgason, told Vísir.is that the recognition was more than deserved following the bravery and selflessness shown by the young Magnús, his siblings and their mother on that fateful day.