Oversexed Soldiers in Iceland


The Brits came in the night, landed at Reykjavik with no fuss, no bayonets, no shots fired. They arrived to occupy Iceland because the Nazis had been sending delegations, were showing great interest in Iceland. Their interest was understandable since Iceland was like a great aircraft carrier in the North Sea. It provided a critical link in the supply route from North America to England.

Iceland has never had an army, navy or air force, no experience of warfare and, for centuries were forbidden to carry weapons, so the arrival of the British army occasioned a great deal of curiosity. Efforts were made on both sides to make the occupation as conflict free as possible. There were restrictions on when armed forces personnel could leave their base, on their behavior when off the base.

The problem, however, was that first the Brits and then the Americans arrived in large numbers for such a small country. The soldiers were young, male, had some money to spend, were different. It was inevitable that there would be clashes between young Icelandic men and the soldiers. It was equally inevitable that many of the Icelanders would resent the occupation and the disruption of their lives.

Daisy Neijmann gave a talk at the University of Victoria (sponsored by the Richard and Margaret Beck Trust) during the Learneds on the way that British and American soldiers have been portrayed in Icelandic fiction.

She pointed out that the soldiers were seen by some as engaged in trangressive behaviour exploiting women and children. The victims of this behaviour were women and children. The occupation was described as a fairy tale, a fantasy realm where monsters violated social order. It

Which Is The New Iceland?

When I was growing up in Gimli, Manitoba, that is, the capital of New Iceland, Iceland was a distant and storied place. During the war years, 1939-45, Iceland was an important strategic location, a permanent battle ship and aircraft carrier in the North Sea. Travel there was restricted largely to the military, first the British and then the Americans.

After the war, there were a few Icelanders who came to New Iceland. There were regarded as rather exotic creatures, sort of the way polar bears are when they drift onto land on ice floes.

A lot of people, including many of my relatives, spoke Icelandic. However, the tight, insular world of New Iceland, had started to break down. People who weren