Vikings of the First World War: Icelandic Canadians in Service
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, this exhibition explores the stories of Icelandic Canadians who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in Europe. The exhibition features medals, photographs, letters, and other artifacts from Manitoban Battalions. It also includes a multimedia, multi-screen video installation from the National Museum of Iceland.
During the First World War, over 1,000 Icelandic Canadians joined the war effort, serving as soldiers, nurses, and medics. They organized in Winnipeg in 1916 under different Battalions, including the 197th (Vikings of Canada) and the 223rd (Canadian Scandinavians). Most sailed to Europe in the autumn of 1917.140 of these volunteers were killed in action.
Icelandic Canadians featured in this exhibition include three brothers from the Einarsson family, Joe, John, and Villi, who grew up in Saskatchewan but later came to Manitoba to volunteer. Also featured are medals and a bronze maquette of Sir William Stephenson, an Icelandic Canadian who became an ace pilot during the First World War, later becoming a spymaster for the Allied Forces during the Second World War.