Wednesday, 11 November 2009
On holiday in July this year I visited the Commando Memorial near to Spean Bridge and their historic training base at Achnacarry. It was an incredibly moving experience, being there at dusk and with the memorial set in a panaromic landscape in the shadow of the imposing Aonach Mor. Nearby there was a small personal memorial garden with tributes to fallen Royal Marine Commandos from World War II through to the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. It was a poignant reminder back in July as to just how many of these and other brilliant soldiers we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of course since then the losses have increased considerably. One is too many. Incredibly brave and determined soldiers from all regiments are learning to overcome and deal with horrific life changing injuries they have received and their resolve never ceases to amaze and inspire me. They too should not be forgotten.
Being an Arbroath boy the troops of 45 Commando based at Arbroath Condor were in my thoughts as they sustained bad loses in Afghanistan last year before returning from their tour of duty. I have fond memories of a fantastic day at the base open day as a young lad when the Marines inspired me to achieve the fastest time on the assault course.
I did not buy a poppy this year, not having had the opportunity. Instead, I write this in memory and tribute to the fallen and injured in all past and present campaigns, as well as those killed or injured in peace time duties.
If you are reading this and wonder why it is on Loxia Fantastica then let me offer this: whilst standing at the Memorial in July a group of Common Crossbills were calling from a small spruce plantation nearby. However, that didn't seem important at the time and nor does it now.