Icelandic man remembers RAF plane shooting at him 75 years ago in remote farmland

Magnús Ágústsson, a teenager at the time,  was going to gather sheep in Bieringstangi in Vatnsleysuströnd on the Reykjanes peninsula some 75 years ago when he saw a plane flying low over his farm and going straight towards him. 

The plane swooped over the farm, Halakot, lowered its flight path even more and Águstsson threw himself onto the ground.  That's when the bullets from the plane's machine guns started peltering the ground, hitting the earth around two metres away from where he was lying. Then the plane flew up again and disappeared to land at Keflavik airport. 

Águstsson, interviewed in this weekend edition of Morgunblaðið by Orri Páll Ormarsson,  still has no idea what the pilots were thinking, on that beautiful sunny day in the midst of WWII and he will probabl never find out.

"I'm not sure if they wanted to give me a fright or to kill me, whether it was some game or whether it was dead serious.  I can still picture it, the glow of fire on the rocks from the rain of bullets," he remembers. "I know that if that line of bullets had hit me, it would have cut me in half."

The British invaded Iceland on 10 May 1940,  to prevent the Germans from doing it first and to defend Iceland against them. The defence of Iceland was then transferred from Britain to the United States on 7 July 1941.

Ágústsson is now 95 years old and says that he's proud of his life. "I've had a rich and eventul life. There have been such enormous changes to Icelandic society and to the whole world. So many changes that actually I can't even find any of the things that were normal when I was young."

He's lived his whole life on the shore of Vatnsleysuströnd and earlier this year he was made a citizen of honour at Vogar, the only town there, for his contribution to the economy, his time in the city council and his contribution to culture. 

The full interview (in Icelandic) is published tomorrow in the weekend edition of Morgunblaðið. 

Exchange rates

USD USD 110.06 EUR EUR 126.80
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Exchange rates

USD USD 110.06 EUR EUR 126.80
GBP GBP 144.30 DKK DKK 17.02
NOK NOK 13.45 SEK SEK 12.30
CHF CHF 110.33 JPY JPY 1.00
ISK price of selected currencies, according to the official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Iceland. Updated daily.