The Icelandic Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Sturla Sigurjónsson and his wife Mrs Elín Jónsdóttir have paid a visit to RAF Lossiemouth to renew the historic links which exist between 120 Squadron and Iceland which date back to the Second World War.
During the visit they viewed Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft ZP804 which is named 'Spirit of Reykjavik' in honour of the role played by the Icelandic capital and its people in enabling the Allied victory during the Battle of the Atlantic.
“I’m delighted to welcome Mr Sigurjónsson to RAF Lossiemouth, to celebrate the historic connection between Iceland and the UK’s maritime patrol heritage. At our darkest hour, the people of Iceland welcomed the RAF and their support was crucial to our victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. Now, as then, our two nations remain firm friends and partners in the cause of Euro-Atlantic security.
Group Captain Layden
Station Commander RAF Lossiemouth
"Peace, stability and security in the North-Atlantic is of fundamental importance to Iceland. This has been our objective for decades, achieved in close consultation and cooperation with our Allies. We welcome and appreciate the UK´s contribution, including the return of British maritime patrol aircraft to the region. The naming of a P-8 as ‘The Spirit of Reykjavik' reflects the close ties between our countries."
His Excellency Mr Sigurjónsson
Icelandic Ambassador to the UK
120 Squadron, the first RAF Poseidon squadron, deployed a flight of seven Liberator aircraft to RAF Reykjavik in September 1942. The Squadron, in its entirety, was based there between April 1943 and March 1944 to tackle the U-boat submarine threat which was wreaking havoc with Allied shipping bringing essential food and supplies to the UK.
The connection between the Squadron and Reykjavik was cemented by His Majesty King George VI approving the addition of an Icelandic Falcon, standing on a demi-terrestrial globe, to the official squadron badge which is still used to this day. Iceland remains a key strategic location for NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 120 Squadron hopes to reinvigorate its ties with the people of Reykjavik over the coming years.
Nine Poseidon MRA Mk.1 aircraft have been ordered for the RAF and five have been delivered to date. The UK Government has invested £470m overall in RAF Lossiemouth, which will future-proof Quick Reaction Alert and Maritime Patrol operations for many years to come.