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TITLE
Lord Lovat talks about the formation of the Commandos
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFRLORDLOVAT_07
PLACENAME
Beauly
DISTRICT
Aird
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmorack
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Simon Fraser, 17th Lord Lovat
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1542
KEYWORDS
Commandoes
armed forces
Second World War
agriculture
laird
lairds
audio

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Simon Fraser, commonly known as the 17th Lord Lovat, (1911-1995), was the 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser and a prominent British Commando during World War II. He was seriously wounded during the invasion of Normandy in 1944 but went on to make a full recovery. In the post-war period he devoted much of his time to politics and looking after the family estates in the Beauly district.

In this audio extract, taken from an interview with Sam Marshall for Moray Firth Radio, Lord Lovat recalls the early years of the war, during which he began considering a different approach to war tactics.

'When I left the Scots Guards to get married I joined the Lovat Scouts, which was expected of me, who were territorials - mounted yeomanry - we all had horses. And they were a splendid regiment and quite outstanding, I think, the rank and file especially, but like all territorials at the beginning of the war, the weakness lay at the top where people had gradually reached the rank of commanding officer not through any great ability but through length of service and promotion, which worked up from the bottom to the top. Nobody was ever sacked for incompetence or questioned as regards who would succeed, and frankly I felt that the days of horses were past and that the Scouts were capable of much better things than spending half their day grooming and cleaning up the horse lines. And it seemed very obvious, I think, that we needed a different interpretation of how to conduct the war. From the First World War everybody was defensive; the First War was fought, a bloody war, just winning a few yards of blood-soaked land in trench warfare. You advanced or you were driven back and you smashed the other side with superior howitzer or canon fire, and we went back to that in the Maginot-Siegfried line complex. And of course when the Germans broke out in '40 they went round the Maginot Line and drove the French and British armies into the sea at Dunkirk. So that proved to be a failure but there still remained this sort of 'dig in, sit tight' complex and one felt that the war couldn't be won that way - at least I was one of many who felt like that - so, we started out on a new way of thinking which was, what was called 'Combined Operations' in which Commandoes took the war back to Europe in a series of raids and they combined with the navy to get us there'

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Lord Lovat talks about the formation of the Commandos

INVERNESS: Kilmorack

1980s

Commandoes; armed forces; Second World War; agriculture; laird; lairds; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Lord Lovat

Simon Fraser, commonly known as the 17th Lord Lovat, (1911-1995), was the 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser and a prominent British Commando during World War II. He was seriously wounded during the invasion of Normandy in 1944 but went on to make a full recovery. In the post-war period he devoted much of his time to politics and looking after the family estates in the Beauly district. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract, taken from an interview with Sam Marshall for Moray Firth Radio, Lord Lovat recalls the early years of the war, during which he began considering a different approach to war tactics.<br /> <br /> 'When I left the Scots Guards to get married I joined the Lovat Scouts, which was expected of me, who were territorials - mounted yeomanry - we all had horses. And they were a splendid regiment and quite outstanding, I think, the rank and file especially, but like all territorials at the beginning of the war, the weakness lay at the top where people had gradually reached the rank of commanding officer not through any great ability but through length of service and promotion, which worked up from the bottom to the top. Nobody was ever sacked for incompetence or questioned as regards who would succeed, and frankly I felt that the days of horses were past and that the Scouts were capable of much better things than spending half their day grooming and cleaning up the horse lines. And it seemed very obvious, I think, that we needed a different interpretation of how to conduct the war. From the First World War everybody was defensive; the First War was fought, a bloody war, just winning a few yards of blood-soaked land in trench warfare. You advanced or you were driven back and you smashed the other side with superior howitzer or canon fire, and we went back to that in the Maginot-Siegfried line complex. And of course when the Germans broke out in '40 they went round the Maginot Line and drove the French and British armies into the sea at Dunkirk. So that proved to be a failure but there still remained this sort of 'dig in, sit tight' complex and one felt that the war couldn't be won that way - at least I was one of many who felt like that - so, we started out on a new way of thinking which was, what was called 'Combined Operations' in which Commandoes took the war back to Europe in a series of raids and they combined with the navy to get us there'