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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.

Just a few miles up the road from the Commando Memorial 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 and is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. Neil has a keen interest in the military history of Scotland and in particular the military history of the Jacobite risings.

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