Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Statue of Highland chief unveiled at D-Day beach

The statue of Lord Lovat
The statue of Lord Lovat

A Highland clan chief was witnessed standing “completely at ease” on the dunes of a bloody Normandy beach seven decades ago, as bagpipes played and machine-gun fire whistled past.

Lord Lovat seemed to be “taking in the scene around him”, according to a 1995 obituary, “almost contemptuous” of the worst efforts of the lethal German defences.

A long way from his Beauly home, he then proceeded to march the members of his commando unit who had not already been maimed through the middle of a minefield, towards Pegasus Bridge, which they held heroically.

The leadership of Brigadier Simon Fraser, chief of the Clan Fraser of Lovat, has already been immortalised in the 1962 Hollywood blockbuster, The Longest Day.

Now the famous commander can also be found once again standing “at ease” on the same dunes of Sword Beach, where he and his men landed on June 6, 1944.

A statue of Lord Lovat, made by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley and funded with £100,000 from the chief’s family, was unveiled at a ceremony at the site last month, in front of more than 100 members of the Fraser clan, and British and French dignitaries.

The bronze of the brigadier will be “taking in the scene” at the beach again on Friday as the Queen, US President Barack Obama and other heads of state attend commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Born at the family’s traditional residence of Beaufort Castle near Beauly in 1911, Simon Fraser was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Lovat Scouts, a Territorial Army unit, in 1930.

He transferred to the Scots Guards the following year, before succeeding his father to become the 15th Lord Lovat (although referred to as the 17th) and 25th chief of the Clan Fraser.

Upon the outbreak of war he volunteered to join one of the new commando units being formed by the British Army, and in 1942 was awarded the Military Cross for commanding a raid on the French village of Hardelot.

His plan for the capture of a battery of guns in the otherwise disastrous Dieppe Raid in the same year was described as “masterly” and “brilliantly successful”.

During the D-Day assault, Lord Lovat famously defied regulations by instructing his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe the commandos ashore.

Asked by Mr Millin at the time about the rules, he reportedly replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in