IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says fellow travel writer, Roderick Eime has stumbled on a conundrum in Iceland involving a mysterious young Australian World War I soldier, and a prominent Icelandic spinster who died 32 years ago at age 88.
It’s in a tiny cottage in the historic Hafnarfjordur district of Reykjavik that the lady decreed before her death in 1980 be left untouched as a folk museum for generations to follow. Quaint old-time kitchen utensils still sit on the wood stove, vintage furniture is still in place and old family photos adorn a sideboard.
And, says Rod, amongst those photos is a studio portrait of a striking young soldier in uniform – an Australian First World War soldier complete with slouch hat and “rising sun” emblems on his collars.
But as Rod asks: what is he doing here, and just who is this handsome young man who was neither son, husband nor brother of the lady who was an only child and never married, yet felt him worthy of a studio photograph prominently displayed on her sideboard for life?
Main speculation rests on the possibly of an unfulfilled romantic interest, but having never left her native Iceland how, Rod muses, did they meet?
Rod says the lady’s name was Sigridur Erlendsdottir, daughter of Erlendur Marteinsson and Sigurveig Einardottir.
If you think you’ve an inkling as to the identity of the dashing young bloke on her sideboard, Rod would love to hear from you so he can pay tribute in a final chapter to the young man’s life – and his relationship with Sigridur Erlendsdottir who in later life was prominent in politics and worker’s rights.