The Commando Memorial is one of Scotland’s Best-Known War Memorials:
Travelling on the A82, heading south towards Fort Willliam, we made a stop for a photo-shoot of Ben Nevis. What we weren’t expecting to see was this imposing Commando Memorial, three gigantic bronze figures standing proud in full battle gear – rifles, binoculars, woollen caps, boots and all. We weren’t told at all that this was in fact one of Scotland’s best-known war memorials.
The Commando Memorial is a bronze monument sculpted by Scott Sutherland and unveiled by the Queen Mother here in 1952. The three figures stand on a stone plinth and the entire monument is 5.2 metres tall. On the top of the stone plinth is inscribed “United We Conquer”. The Commando Training Depot was established at Achnacarry Castle in 1942 and the British Commandos trained all around the Lochaber region. The monument overlooks their training area. The nearby Garden of Remembrance was a later addition.
The British Commandos was an elite force formed in 1940 on the request of Winston Churchill.
Their mission was to carry out raids against German occupied Europe. Initially, it was made up of soldiers from the British Army who had volunteered for special service. Later members from all branches of the British armed forces joined, including foreign volunteers from German-occupied countries. During the next five years the highly trained Commandos fought in all theatres of war and military campaigns and the men serving with the Commandos were awarded 479 decorations during the war.
The Commando Memorial is about a mile out of Spean Bridge village and during the summer months you can see the Commando Exhibition at the Spean Bridge Hotel. This Exhibition tells the story of the men that make up this elite fighting unit, and a Commando Trail takes in some of the locations where they trained. After the war, most of the units were disbanded, however it seems that some military associations still sponsor a Commando March. This is a timed seven-mile march, in full battle gear, backpack and combat boots, that starts at Spean Bridge and ending at Achnacarry.
If you are travelling around the Lochaber region, make a stop at the Commando Memorial where you’ll also get a fine view of Ben Nevis. Look for the junction of the A82 and the B8004 road.Did I leave anything out?