CC BY-SA, Jim Bain, Arisaig House, Borrodale

Location: Road to the Isles and Knoydart
ww1 and ww2

Arisaig House during the Second World War

During World War II, Arisaig House was requisitioned for use by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and became a Commando finishing school for around 3000 men and women, providing the final stage of their training to serve in occupied Europe. Maintaining a rigorous security was critical: with only one access road, the area was easy to seal off as a Special Protected Area and even locals were required to have a pass to go in and out of the protected area.

Violet Szabo whose short life was the subject of a film and many books, was one of the brave agents who trained in Arisaig House. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross aftet her death following her capture during a mission in France. Many Czech nationals also trained there in the use of explosives, silent killing methods and railway sabotage before being parachuted behind enemy lines. In 2009, a war monument of polished granite in the shape of a parachute made by Czech artist Josef Vajce was erected in Arisaig to the memory of the Czech and Slovak soldiers who trained there between 1941 and 1943.

There is a small exhibition about the SOEs in the Arisaig Land Sea and Islands Centre and a larger on in Fort William’s West Highland Museum.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.