Iceland covert listening station

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Michael S, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Michael S

    Michael S Member

    My Dad was enlisted into REME but seems to have been seconded to a mission to support a secret listening station in Iceland. I understand 18 or 20 of them were parachuted to the listening station but everyone had perished having run out of food. My Dad and one other managed to get to the nearest town (I understand the rest of the rescue mission also perished) where they had a fairly hostile reception from the locals.
    Does any body have any information on this or know where I could start to unearth some?

    Thank you

  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Is this family lore or established fact?
    Any idea as to dates etc?

    Might be an idea to get a copy of his Service Records to get you started.

    Reason I say this is that, at various times, Iceland was occupied by the British in WW2 and I'm surprised that 'they ran out of food'. I'm not saying it's all made up, just that it would be helpful if facts could be validated.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just been reading up about Operation Fork (April/May) 1940 and that was undertaken by Royal Marines, after that I see no reason to require anyone to parachute anywhere on Iceland

  4. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    10th May 1940 Iceland was Invaded.
    These R.E Coy were there at sometime during the war.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: Movement Control.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 1 Electrical and Mechanical Section.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 19 Field Survey Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 294 Army Field Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 659 General Construction Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 666 Artisan Works Company (Art Wks Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 668 General Construction Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 687 Artisan Works Company (Art Wks Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 688 Artisan Works Company (Art Wks Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 699 General Construction Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 711 General Construction Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 803 Road Costruction Company (Rd Constr Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 804 Road Construction Company (Rd Constr Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 807 Road Construction Company (Rd Constr Coy).
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: 1007 Docks Operation Company.
    ICELAND: Royal Engineers: Docks Detachment Section (Det Sec).

    Natives could not have been that unfriendly with 255 babies being born (consensually) and about 332 Icelandic women married foreign soldiers. ;)
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    I did a search on British forces in Iceland during WW2 and see that the O/P has asked a same question on a genealogy site back in 2013, without result. However, I did find this site,

    The Wartime Memories Project - Can you Answer?

    If you search for Iceland on there it throws up an interesting query by an Icelandic researcher.

  6. Your account, Michael, does not seem plausible. I am a native, and of an age that has not missed the talk, fancy and fantasizing rife in postwar decades. I have never head of any events that may provide a foundation for a story embellished in this way.

    To be sure there were British, and later American, SIGINT stations in Iceland, in particular HF/DF, but well guarded and secured.

    But if we turn the tables, the German consulate in Reykjavík operated a secret transmitter in the immediate prewar years until compelled to close it down after having been laboriously DF'd and traced to the consulate even by means of earhting its aerial in the middle of a transmission. It is reported - reliably, but I don't care to find the sources now unless asked to - that an armed seizure of the consulate was contemplated at one stage. Instead the Commissioner of Police, one Agnar Kofoed-Hansen [to some extent German-educated and always distrusted by the British and the Americans], went alone to visit Mr Gerlach, the consul, demanding discontinuation of his transmissions.This the consul, adamantly refusing knowledge of any transmissions, had no choice but to heed. It is highly interesting to me whether the British heard of this affair, of course secret at the time, prior to the occupation on 10 May 1940. I find it extremely implausible that British assistance was solicited in the matter - but after all Icelandic neutrality was not quite what it appeared to be in those days (not primarily for ideological reasons, but rather in view of the pragmatic fact that Iceland must respect the interests of the power that has hegemony in the North Atlantic at any particular time).

    Then, your granddad would have been attacking, not supporting, the transmitting, not listening - station, and presumably not arriving by parachute. I apologize for my aimless speculation and for my groping in the dark. I don´t have any information on this matter, nor do I know were you could start to unearth some.
    Capt.Sensible likes this.

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