Brass Commando Knife & Badge
Brora Heritage Centre

This knife belonged to the late James ‘Jim’ Manson Sutherland (1912-2006) of Brora. Jim had already joined the British Army by the beginning of World War Two and had served in Palestine, where he learnt to speak fluent Arabic. When Prime Minister Winston Churchill set up the Commandos in 1940, Jim was in the first 100 men who volunteered. The Commandos were trained in tactics considered to be underhand and not by the ‘rules’. Churchill wanted to create a crack, highly-trained, ‘dirty’ fighting unit, to put fear amongst the enemy.

After taking part in many Commando raids, when in North Africa in 1941, Jim volunteered for fellow Commando, Captain David Stirling’s even more elite unit, which was the forerunner of the Special Air Service, the famous SAS. In the beginning, the new fighting force consisted of just of 60 men and four officers. Targeting enemy airbases, miles behind enemy lines, the SAS units carried out many daring but successful raids.

After the African campaign, Jim joined the 1st Airborne Division and worked with the French Resistance. He then served in Norway with the 1st Airborne to help secure its liberation of Norway in May 1945.

Jim was demobbed after the war and, for a short while earned a living as a ‘wall of death’ motor-cycle rider. He later retired back in Brora.

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Date: 1940
Materials : Metal
Size : 29cm x 5cm

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