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TITLE
Lord Lovat talks about Commando raids
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFRLORDLOVAT_11
PLACENAME
Beauly
DISTRICT
Aird
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmorack
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Simon Fraser, 17th Lord Lovat
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1547
KEYWORDS
Commandos
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 how the Commandoes emerged as a formidable fighting force.

'We started with a great deal of unpopularity because the regular army took the line 'Why should Sir Roger Keyes' (who was the first chief) 'why should he have a private army of his own?' And commanding officers were quite reluctant to spare volunteers, especially if they were their good officers, but I think we did cream off some very good officers and non-commissioned officers. And then we had to learn all about boating, because although we could shoot straight and march all night or swim, swim ashore - all these things that one had to do, we had to do it the hard way - we hadn't got facilities for getting - taking the war back to the enemy. But gradually we got a planning organisation set up in Richmond Terrace, London, where the chief of Combined Operations - it was first Sir Roger Keyes succeeded by Lord Mountbatten - and with Mountbatten the tempo rather quickened up.

Churchill was entirely behind the idea although the chiefs of staff were reluctant to let Commandoes do things because it meant risking very limited aircraft, very limited shipping facilities, and the danger of losing good troops as well. Because we were - we had an inferiority complex, right through the services, after Dunkirk, and as I say the good people, all the tanks, were all being sent to North Africa, to the desert, fighting Rommel. But gradually we made our reputation, having been thought a lot of sort of playboys, cloak and dagger playboys. We gradually did things like San Nazaire which was, I suppose, a great feat of arms, and Dieppe, the Commandoes did pretty well, and we blew up a lot of harbour installations in Norway; went to Norway pretty often. And gradually we emerged as a formidable force. We did well in the Mediterranean; one of the Stirling boys, working behind the lines in the desert, destroyed a hundred and forty-two German aircraft and that's quite a performance in itself'

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Lord Lovat talks about Commando raids

INVERNESS: Kilmorack

1980s

Commandos; 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 how the Commandoes emerged as a formidable fighting force.<br /> <br /> 'We started with a great deal of unpopularity because the regular army took the line 'Why should Sir Roger Keyes' (who was the first chief) 'why should he have a private army of his own?' And commanding officers were quite reluctant to spare volunteers, especially if they were their good officers, but I think we did cream off some very good officers and non-commissioned officers. And then we had to learn all about boating, because although we could shoot straight and march all night or swim, swim ashore - all these things that one had to do, we had to do it the hard way - we hadn't got facilities for getting - taking the war back to the enemy. But gradually we got a planning organisation set up in Richmond Terrace, London, where the chief of Combined Operations - it was first Sir Roger Keyes succeeded by Lord Mountbatten - and with Mountbatten the tempo rather quickened up. <br /> <br /> Churchill was entirely behind the idea although the chiefs of staff were reluctant to let Commandoes do things because it meant risking very limited aircraft, very limited shipping facilities, and the danger of losing good troops as well. Because we were - we had an inferiority complex, right through the services, after Dunkirk, and as I say the good people, all the tanks, were all being sent to North Africa, to the desert, fighting Rommel. But gradually we made our reputation, having been thought a lot of sort of playboys, cloak and dagger playboys. We gradually did things like San Nazaire which was, I suppose, a great feat of arms, and Dieppe, the Commandoes did pretty well, and we blew up a lot of harbour installations in Norway; went to Norway pretty often. And gradually we emerged as a formidable force. We did well in the Mediterranean; one of the Stirling boys, working behind the lines in the desert, destroyed a hundred and forty-two German aircraft and that's quite a performance in itself'