After spending more than four decades underground, Harold Smith, 82, emerged from his bunker yesterday to learn the country was no longer at war.
'We all thought it was the end,' said Mr Smith, a former fishmonger from Greenwich. 'I distinctly remember the government warning coming on the radio, when they said the Cod War was escalating and that Iceland was preparing to drop the H-bomb on London. At least, I think that's what they said.
'I thought it best if I went underground with the Mrs for a few years, just to be on the safe side. I'll be damned if those bloody Icelanders think they can enter into our excursion zone to steal British fish and get away with it. They're our bloody cod, and they know it.'
Mr Smith's wife Doreen said: 'I always told him he took the Cod War too seriously. I tried explaining to him that it was a historic territorial dispute dating back to the late 1800s and highly unlikely to be resolved by nuclear conflict, but he refused to believe me.
'Still, I think it was for the best for us to have stayed down there until now. I'd have liked to have left a few decades earlier than this, between you and me, because it had started to get rather cramped and dusty down there, but I'm glad to be out in the daylight again.'
Mr Smith said he decided to leave the underground cavern after making the decision to fight for his country. 'I couldn't live with myself, being down there filling in crosswords, knowing that my country was preparing for war. I've had a few years to think about it, so I'm ready to take up arms for Blighty whenever Iceland feels like it wants a fight again. This war isn't over until I say it is.'
When told by a reporter that the Cod War was never a real war, Mr Smith replied: 'I suppose you eat Icelandic fish do you? You bloody traitor - you lot make me sick.'