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The Commando Memorial
The Commando Memorial is erected near Spean Bridge in the Scottish Highlands, the location in the ward of Lochaber has a great view on the highest Munro in Scotland, Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr is just next to it. Construction on the memorial started in 1949 and was finished in 1951, the design is by Scott Sutherland who won a competition for Scottish sculptors. The Commando Memorial was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth on 27 September in 1952.
The Commando Memorial is about 5,2 meters high made out of bronze and shows three commando’s in typical World War Two uniforms complete with weapons, ammunition pouches, webbing and cap comforters. ‘United we conquer’ is the text on top of the plinth beneath the three soldiers. In recent years a place to remember the commandos has been added to the memorial grounds. Commandos from all era’s are remembered here, from World War Two to Afghanistan and the Falklands. Next to it is a field where ashes of deceased commando’s can be placed, and many who served in World War Two have chosen this final resting place for their ashes.
The Commando Memorial looks out over the former training grounds of the commandos. The commandos were based at Achnacarry Commando training centre in Achnacarry Castle from 1942 on. The trainings were often with live ammunition, highly intensive and all over the Lochaber region. Commandos who fell behind in any part of their training were immediately send back to their former unit. The nationalities of the commandos was diverse, British Commandos, United States Army Rangers, commandos from Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands and France trained here. Some 25000 commandos trained here between 1942 and 1945.
The Commandos During World War Two
Immediately after Dunkirk in June 1940 prime minister Winston Churchill instructed to form the commandos. Britain needed a specialized force that could carry out raids on the German army. This elite force could operate in different environments from the desert to the mountains and the arctic. During the Second World War about 1700 commandos lost their lives on all fronts, eight commandos received the Victoria Cross. They were used in Norway, raids on the Channel Islands, the Mediterranean, in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Burma and on D-Day.
The Commando Memorial is situated next to the A82 about a mile from Spean Bridge in the direction of Iverness. It is open for public and there is a car park next to it.