Training Centre Deaths

BLEAKLEY, Charles

Fus. Bleakley died by gunshot wound (instantaneous) at Bunarkaig, Achnacarry.  He was seen after death by Capt. J.E. Symondson RAMC, the Medical Officer at the Commando Basic Training Centre (CBTC). 

COOK, Herbert

Rfn. Cook, aged 18, died at the Commando Basic Training Centre.  His death is recorded as by '"shell round (mortar) of head while on service training."  He was "seen after death by Capt. J.H.

DREW, Norman

LCpl. Drew was found dead on 23rd October 1942 in the in the River Arkaig Achnacarry, 100 yards South of the Iron Bridge. He was last seen alive on the 4th October 1942.  The cause of death is recorded as by drowning and he was seen after death by Capt. J. E. Symondson, RAMC, the Medical Officer at Achnacarry. The informant is shown as a CSM at the Commando Depot. 
 

DRYSDALE, Kenneth J.H.

Pte. Drysdale drowned at Mucomir, Gairlochy, whislt serving at Achnacarry. 
 
A newspaper report shows that  he died along with another soldier, Pte Charles Sweeney aged 26 from Stoke on Trent, whilst fishing from a boat with 15 yr old John McKay, the son of a water baliff from Kilmonivaig. The report states that it appears they lost an oar whilst manoeuvring the boat  into a suitable spot near Mucomir Falls on the River Lochy and got carried away into the swirling water.  
 

FARRELL, William Henry

Mne Farrell was killed in an accident during commando training at the Commando Basic Training Centre. In the book 44 Commando, Achnacarry to the Arakan, the author states that Mne Farrell died as a result of an accident that took place during the Strong Point exercise in their final week of training. 
 

GIBSON, Eric Hookway

Sgt Gibson was killed in training at the Commando Basic Training Centre. The War Diary for 19th September 1943 states, "p.m. 2" mortar accident resulting in death of Sgt Gibson and Cpl A. Dooley, both of C Troop". 
 
His former occupation was "assistant golf professional"  and the cause of death is recorded as "multiple injuries head, neck, and chest."  He was seen after death by Capt. J.E. Symondson RAMC, Medical Officer at the CBTC.  

HOCTEL, Lamont Durward

Pte. Hoctel, 1st US Rangers, Company 'E',  drowned whilst training at Achnacarry.  The date of his death is during the period that the US 1st Ranger Bn., led by Colonel W. Darby attended the Commando Basic Training Centre for their training. His death is noted in their War Diary as "drowned during stream crossing exercise.".
 
The local Death Register records the following information
 
Former occupation: Petrol Attendant
Private, Ranger Batallion, United States Army

HUGHES, William Nichol

Gdsm. Hughes was found dead at 3pm on October 27th 1942 in Loch Lochy at Bunarkaig, 25 yards West of the boathouse. He was last seen alive on the 4th October 1942. His death is recorded as by drowning and he was seen after death by Capt. J.E. Symondson, the Medical Officer at the Commando Depot, and the informant was an officer from the Commando Depot, Achnacarry.

JOHNSON, Herbert

Lieut. Johnson died of illness at the Military Hospital, Buchanan, Stirling at 3.45 am on the 17th March 1944. The Register of Deaths records the cause of death as "chronic interstitial nephritis".  His profession is shown as "(Detective Sergeant, Police Force) Lieutenant KOY Light Infantry (att. Commandos)". 
 

LEES, Archibald

Pte. Lees, a former Police Constable from Lancashire, drowned in Loch Lochy during training.  He was seen after death by Capt.  J.E. Symondson RAMC, Medical Officer at the Commando Basic Training Centre.
 
An article in the Lancaster Guardian reported that he was one of the Police intakes to the Commandos entering military service in July 1942.  The 2nd Police Intake to the Commandos consisting of 273 men attended the Commando Basic Training Centre for their Commando training from 23rd July 1942 until 23rd September 1942.

LYONS, Frank

Mne. Lyons died of gunshot wounds and shock at The Military Hospital, Onich, near Fort William, believed to be located at the time in the grounds of Alltshellach House. His death occurred during an operation to treat the injuries to his left leg and right foot. The Register of Deaths records his unit as "RM Commando's."  

PHILLIPS, Albert Henry

Cpl. Phillips was serving with the new 11 Special Air Service Bn. , formerly 2 (Parachute) Commando, at the time of his death. This unit was the forerunner of the later Parachute Regiment.
 
He died as a result of an accident in training whilst at STC Lochailort.  His death is recorded as "Multiple injuries. Accidentally killed by falling over precipice. Instantaneous."  The death certificate records the Adjutant at STC Lochailort as the informant.  

SCULLION, James

Fus. Scullion, aged 18, died whilst at Achnacarry.  He was last seen alive on the 28th November 1941. His body was found at 3.30pm on the 2nd June 1942 on the foreshore of Loch Eil, opposite Kilmallie Houses, Corpach. Cause of death was declared as drowning. The informant is recorded as the Commanding Officer, Commando Depot Achnacarry.

SWEENEY, Charles Henry

Pte. Sweeney drowned at Mucomir, Gairlochy, whilst serving at Achnacarry.
 
A newspaper report shows that  he died along with another soldier, Pte Kenneth Drysdale, whilst fishing from a boat with 15 yr old John McKay, the son of a local water baliff from Kilmonivaig. The report states that it appears they lost an oar whilst manoeuvring the boat  into a suitable spot near Mucomir Falls on the River Lochy and got carried away into the swirling water.  
 

WOOLLAM, George Arthur

Lt George Woollam 46RM Commando
Lieut. Woollam was killed in an accident whilst serving at the Commando Basic Training Centre. The death certificate states he died of a fractured skull at the North British Aluminium Company's Works. 
 
He was in  'A' troop of the Commando in May 1944.  He was from Tunstall and is remembered on their War Memorial. He is buried in Fort William (Glen Nevis) Cemetery.
 
Sources
Westminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour

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