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HomeScottish History Blog80th anniversary of the Royal Marines Commandos marked at Spean Bridge

80th anniversary of the Royal Marines Commandos marked at Spean Bridge

Hundreds of commandos gathered in Lochaber to mark the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Marines Commandos.

The gathering took place at the Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge in the heart of Commando Country. Surrounded by hills and mountains it was in this landscape that the commandos and special forces trained during the Second World War.

The first army commando units were formed in June 1940 after Prime Minister Winston Churchill called for the creation of raiding forces to carry out hit-and-run operations in German-occupied Europe.

It wasn’t until February 1942 that the Royal Marines were asked to begin forming their own commando units.

Drawn from the men of the Royal Marine Division, a total of nine Royal Marine Commando units were formed for service in the Second World War.

Not far from the Commando Memorial is Inverailort House which was requisitioned by the War Office in May 1940. It was here that the Special Training Centre was established where guerilla and irregular warfare tactics and techniques were taught.

Just a few miles along the road from Inverailort is the castle of Achnacarry, the seat of Sir Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel, Chief of Clan Cameron. It was established as the main training centre for the commandos in 1942 and became known as the Commando Basic Training Centre through which around 25,000 personnel passed through.

Lochaber is widely regarded as the birthplace of modern special forces.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of ScottishHistory.org. Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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