AS the nation prepares to mark Remembrance Sunday, things will look starkly different this year with most of the usual commemorations cancelled or curtailed. Instead, we will each find our own ways to pay tribute to the fallen.

Rather than congregating with heads bowed before a war memorial, cairn or cenotaph, many of us will watch a service on television or pause for a two-minute silence in kitchens, living rooms and on doorsteps around the country.

Among Scotland’s thousands of monuments to the war dead, which stand in cities, towns and villages, on hillsides and glens, one of the best-known is the Commando Memorial in Lochaber, just off the A82, around a mile from Spean Bridge.

Dedicated to the British Commandos in the Second World War, it overlooks the training areas of the depot set up at Achnacarry Castle in 1942. Depicting a trio of soldiers cast in bronze atop a stone plinth, the memorial was designed by sculptor Scott Sutherland and unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1952.

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The Commandos were formed in June 1940 following a request from Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill for a force that could carry out raids in German-occupied Europe. By the end of the war, 25,000 men had passed through the Commando course at Achnacarry.

They weren’t the only ones who honed their military skills in the Highlands. My late grandfather John Currie, a butcher’s assistant from Bothwell who was called up at 19, spent several months training in the Fort William and Lochaber area during the Second World War.

He wasn’t with the Commandos, but rather the Royal Army Service Corps where he learned engine maintenance and how to drive lorries laden with supplies. I think of him whenever I pass the memorial, trying to imagine what it was like for those who trained in various roles, uncertain what fate lay ahead.

Ironically, after all that time in rugged, mountainous terrain, my grandfather found himself deployed not to Norway as he had envisaged, but to the pan-flat Netherlands. After the war, he was demobbed, got married, raised a family and retrained as a planning engineer.

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Not everyone was so lucky. More than one million British soldiers and military personnel died during the First and Second World Wars, not to forget those killed in subsequent conflicts, including the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.