Remembrance Day: Lochaber pays homage to its war dead

In front of a large crowd,  Air Cadets honour The Fallen in Fort William on Sunday. Photograph. Iain Ferguson,

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The cold but dry and bright weather that graced Lochaber on Sunday saw large turn outs for Remembrance Day services across the area.

As usual the two biggest events were those staged in Fort William and at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.

At Fort William, Parade Commander James Porter and Lord Lieutenant Donald Cameron of Lochiel, who were on the saluting dias, and a large crowd watched a parade march up to the town’s war memorial.

As well as serving marines from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group RM and serving soldiers from army commando units, the parade also contained local veterans and representatives from organisations, including all three tri -service cadet forces, Police Scotland, Royal British Legion Scotland, St Andrew’s Ambulance Service, British Red Cross, Lochaber Schools Pipe Band, local councillors, Scouts, Guides and Boys’ Brigade.

Ahead of the two-minute silence at 11am, a bugler played The Last Post and the Colours were lowered. After the silence, a piper played The Lament and the bugler sounded Reveille.

There followed a prayer and a reading after which wreaths were laid on behalf of Highland Council, Royal British Legion Scotland, Commando veterans, Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, Police and other uniformed organisations.

Lt Col Kevin Lane MBE, president of the Fort William and District branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, was pleased with the turn out for the Fort William service.

He told the Lochaber Times: ‘It was a bitterly cold day, but it did not deter a really good crowd of people coming out and attending to pay their respects.’

Lt Col Lane’s wife, Jeanette, secretary of the branch, added: ‘There was also a contingent of Dutch marines on parade, and it was really nice to see representatives of the Fire Brigade, Police and Ambulance Service as well.’

Lt Col Lane continued: ‘And it was also lovely, for the first time in many years, to see members of the Scouts there alongside all three cadet services.

‘We must also thank James Porter for the sterling job he did as parade commander on the day.’

At Spean Bridge, the parade and service was attended by a large number of service personnel and commando veterans.

Among them were marines from 43 Commando, as well as a number of soldiers from army commando units.

The brief service was conducted by Reverend Richard Baxter, while music was provided by Lochaber Wind and Pipe Bands.

On Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s Remembrance Day services, a ‘dawn till dusk’ vigil was maintained at the Fort William war memorial by  veterans from the local RBLS branch and members of the cadet services to recognise those from Lochaber who had given their lives in the service of their country.

The event also saw the unveiling of two new memorial benches for the town’s war memorial which pay homage to those who fell in both world wars.

Lt Col Lane commented: ‘It was very cold on Saturday and I have to say that for Saturday’s vigil, the cadets were absolute stalwarts for being involved and doing that.’