Christmas in Iceland

Iceland occupied an interesting position during World War II due to its geography. Its location along the North Atlantic sealanes was much prized by both the Allies and the Axis and led eventually to the British invasion on 10 May 1940. The British, and subsequently from 7 July 1941 onward, the Americans, quickly set-up naval and air bases to help protect the beleaguered convoys during the height of the Battle of the North Atlantic. The 25,000 British and 40,000 American troops stationed there outnumbered all adult men in Iceland at the time. Obviously, the forces stationed there celebrated the holidays in the same fashion as those elsewhere. Gathered below are a few pictures of this.

US Soldiers Sing Carols. The Christmas spirit is universal, the traditions unchanging even in the midst of war. Where ever our American troops are to be found throughout the world Christmas Carols will be heard in joyful hymns on the eve of the Nativity of Christ. In Iceland – “O, Come Ye, O Come Ye, To Bethlehem”. 1942.
One of the most successful Christmas decorations set up was this ward of the hospital. Together with the help of nurses, patients not tied down to bed designed and put up the trimmings. Note the home made Christmas tree. Iceland, Dec. 25, 1942.
Christmas Eve these soldiers perched atop their hut embankment and serenaded all passers by with Christmas Carols. Iceland, Dec. 24, 1942. Camp Hickham, Iceland.

[Images courtesy of the US Army Center of Military History.]

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

Leave a Reply