commando veterans association commando dagger

Home

Gallery

  Commando Veterans Forum
  [Recent Topics] Recent Topics   [Members]  Member Listing   [Groups] Back to home page  [Register] Register /  [Login] Login 
Inverailort House, Lochailort  XML
Forum Index » Wartime Commando Training Establishments
Author Message
Pete
CVA Website Archivist

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 2592
Location: Fife
Offline

Here is part of a transcript from an email sent to me by Jack Bakker recently. He also sent me a number of pictures he took. I have created an album for these and placed it in the WW2 Album - Training sub album. There is a link below at the end of Jacks. message :
"Last week I have been to Scotland to make arrangements for a program for Dutch Commandos. During the week I had the opportunity to visit Lochailort and more precisely Inverailort, the house where it all started so to speak.I have made some pictures over there, outside as well as inside the house. I thought I might send them to you to put them in the gallery of the forum perhaps or in some sort of an archive. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the house was the deplorable state it is in. We were welcomed by a very nice elderly lady who had worked for the family who owned the house. I forgot to asked her name!! The house is now in the possession of a nephew of the family. She was allowed to stay there and she now runs a small post office from the house. She invited us in and I must say the inside of the house was a shock to see! There is a very serious problem of dry rot and the smell of humidity is overwhelming. As we went to the attic she told us to stay close to the wall otherwise we might face the risk of falling through the floor! Some time ago she was wakened inthe middle of the night by a very loud rumbling sound. She thought that part of the house had fallen in! That wasn't the case however: there was a small earthquake going on! There were carpets drying out on the landing above the hall. She showed us the various doors at which you could still read the signs (see the pictures!) and in the guestbook she showed us the signature of Van Maurik, one of the instructors at Lochailort (see the book Commando Country by Stuart Allen). Asked why there isn't something done about the terrible state the house is in, she told me that a few years ago the house was grade 3 concerning renovation. It has been graded down so there won't be any money available to do something about the state it is in. When we were there the weather was very warm so every door and window was open, but that doesn'thelp a lot. In the colder times of the year there is insufficient heating to warm the whole house. Only the most important rooms are heated then. The lady said that it will only be a matter of time when the whole of the house will be too rotten do something about it. It's a question of time before the whole will fall in. It think it is a disgrace to see a house with so much history fall apart. It is all about money of course, but even then! It should be made a museum for instance. "

The link to the album is here:
http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/WW2/Commando+Training/

Thanks very much Jack for the information and pictures. I agree with your concerns.

Regards

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 03/07/2009 20:15:10


Pete Rogers
Son of L/Sgt Rogers MM & nephew of TSM McAllister. No 2 Cdo 5 trp. A video I made from photos: Commandos for Life
Another video I made about Commandos is HERE
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted

[Email]
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Pete,

Thank you very much for your good work!

When any members of the forum are in the area, it would perhaps be an idea to pay a visit to the house to see the state it is in and meet the very nice lady. She told us that some time ago some Norwegian commandos were visiting the house as well.

In a way I can understand the money problem there is for renovating the house, but isn't there some organisation or part of the MOD that could give a helping hand?
Pete
CVA Website Archivist

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 2592
Location: Fife
Offline

Jack, the issue may be that it is still privately owned. The National Trust for Scotland does do the sort of thing that you are looking for, but I am not certain of their criteria. Their website can be found here. You may wish to contact them :

http://www.nts.org.uk/Conserve/buildings_home.php

As far as the MOD is concerned its all about cutbacks now if you believe the news reports

Regards

Pete Rogers
Son of L/Sgt Rogers MM & nephew of TSM McAllister. No 2 Cdo 5 trp. A video I made from photos: Commandos for Life
Another video I made about Commandos is HERE
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted

[Email]
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Pete,

Thanks for the link. I will have a good look at it to find out what their criteria are and send them a mail.
Macdonald
Forum Sergeant Major
[Avatar]
Joined: 30/10/2007 14:46:11
Messages: 99
Location: Edinburgh
Offline


Many thanks Jack for a great write-up and Pete for posting these!

Inverailort house is very close to my own heart, as I was raised only 8 miles from there, in the wee village of Glenuig. It was the local history and legend of Commando training ground that provided the inspiration for my great interest and subsequent paths in life

The nice elderly lady who runs the PO is Barbara.

She is as Jack says, very open and welcoming to anyone visiting with a connection or interest in the original SOE, Commando and Naval training that Inverailort offered.

Only last Summer, Barbara was kind enough to allow us to conduct Fairbairn/Sykes close combat training on the original house grounds

There are still signs of the training locally around Lochailort. One area is still known as Sniper Alley and there are still signs of the foundation posts for one training hut on a small island just before the river Ailort runs into the loch (and where trainees had to wade across prior to lessons!).

The state of the house is a great concern, as the historical, military and combative significance of the building is immense. It even bears connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie at the very start and end of his 1745 campaign.

It would be a great loss to see this landmark disappear completely (which is a very real concern) and I would be personally very keen to see any efforts made to preserve the building and mark its rare heritage.
The ultimate fate of the house however, appears to lie solely in the hands of the present owner.

I sincerely hope that something might be possible to preserve Inverailort House for the inspiration of future generations.

All the best,

Macdonald

- Commando D Living History Group -
www.commandod.com
[WWW]
Stephen Donnison
Forum Lieutenant-Colonel
[Avatar]

Joined: 08/04/2007 10:16:31
Messages: 733
Location: Lincolnshire
Offline

So im I right in saying that if my dad became a commando before Achnacarry opened this is the place he wouldve been sent ?

SE Donnison
[MSN]
Pete
CVA Website Archivist

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 2592
Location: Fife
Offline

Stephen on my father's service record it shows him posted to No 4. Independent Company from the 1st Btn. Liverpool Scottish on 18/7/40. Then on 21/7/40 it states " Attached to RTC Inverlochy " . I do not know where in Inverlochy this would have been. Maybe at the Castle there??The two areas are about 30 minutes apart by car. However as the Commandos had not been formed yet and as Achnacarry did not open until 1942 I believe, it presumably depends on when your father joined.
On the Combined Ops site a paragraph has been added stating "Prior to Achnacarry, Commando training was carried out in the Clyde Area at two main locations; the first in the grounds of Kellburn Estate, just south of Largs, and the second in the area around Inveraray on Loch Fyne - the home of the Duke of Argyll."

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 05/07/2009 21:17:01


Pete Rogers
Son of L/Sgt Rogers MM & nephew of TSM McAllister. No 2 Cdo 5 trp. A video I made from photos: Commandos for Life
Another video I made about Commandos is HERE
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted

[Email]
Stephen Donnison
Forum Lieutenant-Colonel
[Avatar]

Joined: 08/04/2007 10:16:31
Messages: 733
Location: Lincolnshire
Offline

Pete
on his service certificate it says he was a commando from October 1941

SE Donnison
[MSN]
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Dear forum friends!

Below you will find the mail I have sent to http://www.nts.org.uk/Conserve/buildings_home.php (the link Pete gave in his post), regarding the state Lochailort is in. I have for a good part made use of my post here on the forum. Perhaps that an avalance of mails from forum members could help in preserving the house?

"Dear Sir/Madam,
My name is Jack Bakker and I am a retired captain of the Dutch Commandos. Last week I have been to Scotland to make arrangements for a program for the Dutch Commandos. During the week I had the opportunity to visit Lochailort and more precisely Inverailort, the house where in 1940 the very first Commandos were trained, and the house which later became the special training centre for Special Operations Ecutive (SOE). I was welcomed by a very nice elderly lady called Barbara who has worked for the family who owned the house. The first thing I noticed was the deplorable state the house is in. The house is now in the possession of a nephew of the family Barbara worked for. I was invited in and I must say the inside of the house was a shock to see! There is a very serious problem of dry rot and the smell of humidity is overwhelming. As we went to the attic she told me to stay close to the wall otherwise I might face the risk of falling through the floor! There were carpets drying out on the landing above the hall. Asked why there isn't something done about the terrible state the house is in, Barbara told me that a few years ago the house was grade 3 concerning renovation. It has been graded down so there won't be any money available to do something about the state it is in. When I was there the weather was very warm so every door and window was open, but that doesn?t help a lot. In the colder times of the year there is insufficient heating to warm the whole house. Only the most important rooms are heated than. Barbara said that it will only be a matter of time when the whole of the house will be too rotten do something about it. It's a question of time before the whole lot will fall in.

I am bringing this to your attention because I honestly believe that it is a disgrace to see a house with so much history fall apart. In this house quite a few very famous British special forces units have their roots. Units such as the SAS. The founder of that unit, David Sterling, was one of the instructors at the Special Training Center Lochailort. If you would like to know more about the house and its history, I strongly recommend you the book Commando Country by Stuart Allen. In the first chapter he very well describes the history of the house and its surroundings. Perhaps reading that chapter will enhance my message to you. My question is: what can be done about the decay of the house Inverailort? Can't it be restored and preserved for generations to come? Could it be made a museum of SOE for instance? I would like to hear your opinion on this.
Kind regards, Jack Bakker"

I will let you know their answer!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/07/2009 21:34:58

Stephen Donnison
Forum Lieutenant-Colonel
[Avatar]

Joined: 08/04/2007 10:16:31
Messages: 733
Location: Lincolnshire
Offline

Good for you Jack. You should get a excellent response to that!

SE Donnison
[MSN]
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Below you will find the first reply I have received from http://www.nts.org.uk/Conserve/buildings_home.php.

Dear Mr Bakker,

Thank you for your email regarding your visit to the house where the Commandos were trained.

I am sorry to hear about the condition of the house and I have passed on your email to the National Estates Manager in order for him to respond to you directly.

Thank you for contacting the National Trust for Scotland.

Yours Sincerely
Gillian Wilson(Miss)
Customer Services Administrator
Wemyss House
28 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh
EH2 4ET
Tel: 0844 493 2100 (Customer Service)
Tel: 0844 493 2108 (Holidays)
Fax: 0844 493 2102

I will let you know the answer from the mentioned National Estates Manager when it arrives!
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Hello all!

I have received an answer (see below) from the NTS concerning Inverailort House. Having read the mail a few times, I am know a bit in the dark of what the follow up should be. I can of course send mails to they sites mentioned in the message, but perhaps there are some other ideas about how to move on from here?

Dear Mr Bakker,
Thank you for your enquiry about Inverailort House. We are concerned to hear that this building is in such a poor state of repair.
You mention that the property was grade 3 (i.e. ?C? listed in Scotland) and that it has been down-graded. Historic Scotland is responsible for the listing of buildings in Scotland. Further information on the listing process can be found at http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/heritage/historicandlistedbuildings.htm Their Listing Team will be able to advise you on whether the building was ever listed, and if so why it was down-graded or de-listed. It may be that they would re-consider the building for listing.

As a charity The National Trust for Scotland does not have statutory powers to enforce repairs or to list historic buildings. The enforcement of repairs is down to local authorities, in this case the Highland Council. However I note from the record on the Buildings at Risk Register http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/BAR/detail.aspx?sctID=1687®ion=Highland&div=&class=ALL&category=ALL&Page=22&NumImg=5 that the house is not listed, making the enforcement of repairs very difficult indeed. As a first step I would suggest you contact the Highland Council (details on the Buildings at Risk site above) to enquire about the recent history of repairs/development proposals and whether they are aware of any current proposals to repair the property. The Council will also have contacts with Building Preservation Trusts or Development Trusts in their region and may be able to suggest a way forward involving such a charitable body. Building preservation trusts acquire historic buildings that are at risk, repair and if necessary adapt them to a new use, and then sell them on in a restored state.

Please do contact me again should you require any further information or clarification on the listing and enforcement process in Scotland.

I wish you all the best with your programme and visit.

Regards,
Sian

Ms Sian Loftus
Jack Bakker
Forum Captain
[Avatar]
Joined: 02/05/2009 18:48:04
Messages: 151
Location: Roosendaal, The Netherlands
Offline

Update on Inverailort House, Lochailort.

It has taken some time but today I received a letter from Mr Hugh Maclaren, the owner of Inverailort House. In the letter he says that "a cheritable organisation called Venture Trust is putting plans together to save the house and turn it into a centre for disadvantaged young people. They are hoping to open a website soon to contact all interested parties. The task is formidable, but we feel there is a good chance of succes."

I will keep in contact with Mr Maclaren on how things will develop and keep you all informed. Let's hope that the future of the house is not so bleak anymore.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 13/11/2009 22:17:07

Macdonald
Forum Sergeant Major
[Avatar]
Joined: 30/10/2007 14:46:11
Messages: 99
Location: Edinburgh
Offline


Hi Jack,

Great to meet you in FW!

This is great news. Very positive, and it would be the very lifeline that Inverailort needs if this goes ahead.

Venture Trust have an office in Edinburgh, and our group shall be only too happy to pledge support towards their plans and campaign.

All the best,

Macdonald

- Commando D Living History Group -
www.commandod.com
[WWW]
Joe
Forum Private

Joined: 26/01/2010 11:04:54
Messages: 2
Offline

Hi Folks

Hopefully things will be moving in the right direction soon.

I've also visited Inveraillort recently and agree. It would be an absolute tragedy to lose such a historic piece of military significance.

I'm currently employed by Venture Trust and am hoping to begin running wilderness based programmes from a site within Lochaber. Currently, our No1 option would be Inveraillort.

I'm excited to feel the passio for the house and would like to correspond with interested parties in the future.

I'll keep you posted of any further developments

Yours Aye

Joe
 
Forum Index » Wartime Commando Training Establishments
Go to:   
©Commando Veterans Association 2006 - 2014. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all content on this site is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Powered by JForum 2.1.8 © JForum Team
commando dagger