D-Day and the Highland Laird
Did you follow the 75th anniversary observances of D-Day last week? So many heroes fought and died on the beaches of Normandy, or parachuted into the French countryside, all under enemy fire.
The Wall Street Journal reviewed several D-Day histories, including this one:
Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die,
by Giles Milton. Isn’t that a great title? The reviewer calls it “an exquisitely written narrative that weaves individual tales into a modern tapestry.” It will be on my TBR pile soon!
Featured is the story of Brigadier Lord Lovat. Mr. Milton described Lord Lovat as having “the wind-blown air of an Elizabethan pirate-adventurer”. He led his commandos onto Sword Beach with his piper behind him playing “The Road to the Isles“.
Clan Fraser of Lovat
Simon Fraser was the 15th Lord Lovat and Laird of Clan Fraser of Lovat, a Highland Scottish Clan with a fascinating history. He also had a family connection to a very popular red-haired hero, Jamie Fraser. That is, he’d have had a family connection if only Jamie wasn’t fictional!
For heroism, Lord Lovat was the real deal. Peter Lawford played him in the movie, The Longest Day.
Lord Lovat’s daughter-in-law, Virginia Fraser had this to say about him in an article in The Telegraph:
As 24th Chieftain of Clan Fraser, Shimi – MacShimidh to give him his Gaelic title – was born into leadership. It was in his genes (David Stirling, his cousin, founded the SAS). Resilient, tough, charismatic, he believed in public service and in serving his country, but he also had a literary, almost poetic bent. Commanding and dashing, he exuded confidence that instilled courage in those around him.
“The handsomest man to cut a throat” was how Winston Churchill once described him.
Some Good Links
Lord Lovat really was the quintessential “tall, dark, and handsome” Scottish Laird. I’ve only been able to find the one royalty-free photo above, but this obituary of Lady Lovat in The Times has a wonderful photo of the handsome couple on their wedding day in 1938. (Sorry–the full story is behind a paywall.)
And here’s an interview with Lord Lovat when he was in his fifties, and another that was filmed the year before his death.
A Special Operations website published this longer biography of Lord Lovat:
Follow the links to see the pictures, even if you don’t have time to read the stories!
On D-Day, Simon Fraser’s swagger was matched by that of over 129,000 men. What stories of D-Day heroism resonated with you? Share in the comments!
Image Credits: Book cover: Amazon.com; Lord Lovat, Wikimedia Commons