Inveraray - Monday, October 27
["It's a long way to Inveraray. Rain drops keep falling on my head"]
Geoff and Margaret Slee of Edinburgh picked me up in their car early Monday morning and whisked me off to Inveraray. Though the day was overcast, dreary and drizzly, I felt (and Geoff said) it was the kind of day my father and his mates - from many Allied nations during WW2 - would have grown quite used to as they trained at HMS Quebec (Navy base) on Loch Fyne, a few minutes by car south of Inveraray.
["Troops sent to Inveraray would get off the train at Arrochar and Tarbet"]
["From Arrochar troops would be trucked on a long and winding road"]
["Veterans would long remember their first views of Inveraray"]
["The west side of the main street"]
["My father and mates would have been familiar with the east side too"]
I caught a sense of how rigorous the training was (in assaults and landings) undergone by Army, Navy and RAF personnel during the 1940s, thanks to the poor weather, harsh temperature of the loch and rugged countryside. But thanks to warm hospitality offered by local Scots and the undeniable beauty of the surroundings, time spent Scotland by Combined Ops trainees, Commandos, etc., would have been well remembered - as it is by me.
["The Navy drill hall still stands at the former HMS Quebec site"]
["A significant memorial to the members of Combined Operations"]
["The former HMS Quebec site is now home to a caravan park"]
["A few buildings and cement ramps still remain from the wartime era"]
["Seventy years ago assault landing craft filled the loch"]
["I will soon fly back to Scotland for more 'look-arounds and walk-abouts'"]
My first trip to Scotland was a door-opener and I will undoubtedly return for more and clearer 'look-arounds and walk-abouts' in the future. The desire to follow faint footsteps still holds me in its grasp.
Link to Scotland 2014 Photos - October 26
Link to Combined Operations by Geoff Slee