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An elite force - 'we will remember them'.
The Commando Monument
A Memorial in the Highland
Standing on the crest of a hill surrounded by mountains and moorland the Commando Memorial is a fitting tribute dedicated to an elite body of men, the Commandos, a force initiated in 1940 by Winston Churchill during the early days of World War II.
For it was to this area of the Scottish Highlands that those men who volunteered for the Commandos came to undergo their specialist training. Their headquarters were based at nearby Achnacarry Castle and it was these bleak mountains and rugged terrain that became their playground.
an elite force initiated in 1940 by
This memorial to the Commandos was unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1952.
The monument which stands 17 feet tall is made from bronze and depicts three Commandos in typical WWII battledress looking towards Ben Nevis. A plaque on the monument reads "In memory of the officers and men of the commandos who died in the Second World War 1939-1945. This country was their training ground." The bronze sculpture was designed by Scott Sutherland.
However this memorial is not solely to remember the fallen heroes of World War II.
Set a little way aside from the memorial lies a small Garden of Remembrance to the memory of fallen colleagues, past and present who have given their lives in the service of their country after 1945.
This iconic monument and fitting tribute is located a mile to the north west of the village of Spean Bridge and just off the main A82 Fort William to Inverness road.
The Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge, Fort William.
The Commandos were created in 1940 in direct response to a request by wartime leader Winston Churchill. Tired of hearing of Germany's continued successes he wanted to give the enemy a 'bloody nose' by way of secret, stealthy 'high profile' missions behind enemy lines.
Commandos were to be 'volunteers' from traditional fighting units who would be given specialist training (and equipment) to carry out their wartime missions.
The remote Highlands of Scotland were the ideal training ground.
It is probably a commando that writer Ian Fleming based this famous character James Bond 007 upon.
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But there is more.
For those wishing to read and learn more about the role of Commandos and their daring exploits in WWII there is an interesting museum and 'Commando Bar' packed with memorabilia, displays and information at the Spean Bridge Hotel, a few miles away in the village of Spean Bridge.
Many of their daring missions are set out in detail and the planning, execution and success of their exploits makes most amazing reading.
Admission is free although donations are welcomed.
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About the author
Antony was born in the small coastal town of Saltburn-by-the-sea, and lived in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire before returning to his native Yorkshire. He has spent his adult life in the north of England working for a UK Bank and two Government Agencies.
Now living in Yorkshire between the Dales and the Moors Antony enjoys writing and taking photographs. He has written and published two ebooks bringing together some of his short stories and humorous anecdotes, and been published in The Yorkshire Dalesman.
His interests include walking, photography, history, travel, reading books and watching cricket.
© 2011 Antony J Waller