Three quarters of a century later and NATO warships and air power - including RFA Wave Ruler, a Merlin helicopter from 820 NAS and HMS Sutherland (once she's completed escorting HMS Queen Elizabeth on initial trials in the North Sea) - sailed in formation through Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord), just north of Iceland's capital Reykjavik, for a service of commemoration attended by the ambassadors of Britain, Russia and Germany and Iceland's Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson.

Led by Iceland's Coastguard vessel Tyr, a wreath laying was held mid-fjord while the other vessels circled, before sailing into the capital to prepare for a large-scale anti-submarine exercise, Dynamic Mongoose.

Michael Nevin, the UK's ambassador to Reykjavik, described the commemoration as a "moving show of solidarity".

Anton Vasiliev, the Russian ambassador to Iceland, told dignitaries aboard the Tyr: "This is a rare - and extremely important act. We are showing the global community that we are all together, remembering an important period in our history, showing that we stand together, fighting against the real challenges that we face today."

More than a dozen warships and submarines are involved in the second of NATO's key annual sub hunts (the other, Dynamic Manta, took place in Sicily in the spring), which is now under way off Iceland's south coast. It runs until the en of next week.