Never has the museum been so full! On Saturday 10th November some 250 Commandos and their families packed the Museum to see the opening of the new Commando display which has replaced the Model T Ford exhibition which has moved off to the Nevis Centre.

The ribbon was cut by Stan Scott, Chairman of the Commando Veterans Association, who led the way into Room 1 closely followed by WWII Veterans and their families.

With the help of the Commando Veterans Association we have put together a display to tell the story of Commando Training in Lochaber in WW2. The very name Commando was invented here at Achnacarry where 25,000 men went through the toughest military training of WWII. They became skilled in shooting, the use of explosives, unarmed combat and silent killing and took part in landing assaults on nearby Loch Lochy where live ammunition was used. They came from Britain, the occupied countries, the USA and Canada and left for daring raids on mainland Europe, the Mediterranean and the Far East. On display we tell the story of how the lawless city of Shanghai led to the design of the Fairburn Sykes Commando knife. We have on display much Commando kit – from a first pattern F-S knife and a Thomson machine gun to Blanco and a Commando string vest!

Other related events over the Remembrance Weekend included interviews of Commandos by pupils from Lochaber High School and the free distribution of a limited edition reprint of “The Achnacarry Green Beret Gazette”, a weekly news leaflet produced in Achnacarry in November 1944. .

We tell of the diversity of Commandos – from Raymond Hervo, a French cobbler by trade who came back to live in Fort William, Norman Banks’s silk handkerchief – revealing a map of Norway which was sewn into his trousers to assist any escape necessary after the raid on the Lofoten Islands , and the story of Bill Harvey, the Commando who didn’t come back – he was killed in 1944 in a raid on Holland.

We have footage from a 1946 film on training at Achnacarry and of the unveiling of the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. The display is open until we close before Christmas and, if our funding applications are successful, we will be constructing a full professional exhibition on Commando Training for Spring 2013. We thank all those visitors who have left us their contact details to help support our ambitions. Please email Colleen, our manager at colleen@westhighlandmuseum.org.uk if you too would like to be kept informed of our progress.