Fraser, Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, 15e Lord Lovat “Shimi Lovat.

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Fraser, “Shimi Lovat” Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, 15e Lord Lovat, born 09-07-1911 in the Beaufort Castle, Inverness, Scotland,.as the son of Simon Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat (commonly known as the 16th Lord), he died 18-02-1933 (age 61) and Laura, born Lister, Fraser, daughter of Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale. Laura died 24-03-1965 (age 73) in Greater London, Englan. Simon had one brother and one sister, Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser (1918–1984)

and Mary Diana Rose Fraser (1926–1940). Sir Hugh Fraser  a British Conservative Party politician remained in parliament until his death from lung cancer on 04-03-1984, aged 66 in Lambeth, London, England.

After being educated at Ampleforth College (where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps) and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he joined the University’s Cavalry Squadron, Fraser was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Lovat Scouts (a Territorial Army unit) in 1930. He transferred to the regular army while still a second lieutenant, joining the Scots Guards in 1931. The following year, Fraser succeeded his father to become the 15th Lord Lovat (referred to as the 17th Lord Lovat) and 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser. He was promoted lieutenant in August 1934. Lovat resigned his regular commission as a lieutenant in 1937, transferring to the Supplementary Reserve of Officers.

He married Rosamond Broughton (1917–2012), the daughter of Sir Henry John Delves Broughton, on 10-10-1938, with whom he had six children. Lord and Lady Lovat lived at Beaufort Castle.

In June 1939, just months before the Second World War, Lord Lovat also resigned his reserve commission. In July, however, as war approached, he was mobilized as a captain in the Lovat Scouts. In 1940 together with his Stirling cousins and friends, including Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel Lovat planned to create a new unorthodox group of shock fighters (Commandos) who would combine sea, air and land attacks using surprise as a key component. It was essential to use volunteers only. Crucial to the plan was the personal blessing of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill  which they duly obtained. Lovat was personally involved in the training of the Commando troops on the West coast of Scotland. He was eventually attached to and led No. 4 Commando. On 03-03-1941, Nos 3 and 4 Commando launched a raid on the German-occupied Lofoten Islands. In the successful raid, the commandos destroyed fish-oil factories, petrol dumps, and 11 ships. They also seized encryption equipment and codebooks. As well, the commandos captured 216 German troops; 315 Norwegians chose to accompany the commandos back to Britain.

As a temporary major, Lord Lovat commanded 100 men of No. 4 Commando and a 50-man detachment from the Canadian Carleton and York Regiment in a raid on the French coastal village of Hardelot in April. For this action he was awarded the Military Cross on 07-07-1942. Lord Lovat became an acting lieutenant-colonel in 1942 and was appointed the commanding officer of No. 4 Commando, leading them in a successful component of the abortive Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee) on 19 August. His commando attacked and destroyed a battery of six 150 mm guns. Lovat was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). . The raid as a whole was a disastrous failure with over 4,000 casualties sustained, predominantly Canadian. Yet No. 4 Commando executed its assault, with most men returning safely to Britain.

According to Hilary Saunders, the official biographer of the Commandos the men “were to arouse such a passion of hate and fear in the hearts of their enemies that first Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt and then Adolf Hitler in 1942 ordered their slaughter when captured down to the last man. Lovat had 100,000 Reich marks placed on his head, dead or alive. The infamous “Commando Order”.

Queen Red Beach, Sword Area. Lord Lovat, on the right of the column, wades through the water. The figure in the foreground is Piper Bill Millin.

In planning Operation Overlord, in 1944 Lord Lovat was made a brigadier and appointed the Commander of the newly formed 1st Special Service Brigade. Lord Lovat’s brigade was landed at Sword during the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Lord Lovat reputedly waded ashore in battle dress contrary to the legend in the film the Longest Day which had him wearing a white jumper under his battledress, with “Lovat” inscribed into the collar while armed with a .45-70 Winchester underlever rifle. (The latter claim is disputed; however, in some earlier pictures y/1942 he is seen with a bolt-action .30-06 Winchester Model 70 sporting rifle). However, in his memoirs, ‘March Past’, Lovat states that he was armed with a “short barreled U.S. Army carbine” (presumably an M1 carbine) on D-Day.

Lord Lovat instructed his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe the commandos and himself ashore, in defiance of specific orders not to allow such an action in battle. When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply”.

Lovat’s forces swiftly pressed on, Lovat himself advancing with parts of his brigade from Sword to Pegasus Bridge, which had been defiantly defended by men of the 2nd Battalion the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry (6th Airborne Division) who had landed in the early hours by glider. Lord Lovat’s commandos arrived at a little past 1 p.m. at Pegasus Bridge though the rendezvous time as per the plan was noon. It is a common misconception that they reached almost exactly on time, late by only two and a half minutes. Upon reaching the rendezvous, Lord Lovat apologised to Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin, of 7th Parachute Battalion. He went on to establish defensive positions around Ranville, east of the River Orne. The bridges were relieved later in the day by elements of the British 3rd Infantry Division.   Lt Col Geoffrey Pine-Coffin died on 28-02-1974, age 66, in the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, survived by his son Peter.

During the Battle of Breville on 12 June, Lord Lovat was seriously wounded whilst observing an artillery bombardment by the 51st Highland Division. A stray shell fell short of its target and landed amongst the officers, killing Lieutenant-Colonel A. P. Johnson, commanding officer of the 12th Parachute Battalion, also seriously wounding Brigadier Hugh Kindersley of the 6th Airlanding Brigade. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Percival Johnson  was killed in action on 12-06-1944, aged 32

He was awarded the Legion of Honour and the Croix de Guerre by a grateful French Fourth Republic.

Lord Lovat was a stalwart of the Inverness Highland aristocracy. In 1942 he was appointed a Deputy lieutenant of the county, and two years later a Justice of the Peace. Lord  Lovat made a full recovery from the severe wounds he had received in France but was unable to return to the army (he transferred to the reserve in 1949). In early 1945 Churchill sent him to Moscow as his envoy in a Parliamentary delegation to pay his respect to Stalin and the Presidium. Churchill notes in the final volume of his biography of the Second World War that at the crucial meeting with Josef Stalin and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Yalta in 1945 when the boundaries of Europe were being discussed Stalin kept coming back again and again, in conversation, to military questions: Stalin said he had acquired a new interest in life, says Winston Churchill, an interest in military affairs. “He liked young military fighters like Lord Lovat”. ref: WC: the Second World War, volume VI, p. 344 Yalta finale. Winston Churchill requested that he become Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms in the House of Lords; however, Lord Lovat declined the offer and in 1945 joined the Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, “becoming responsible for the functions of the Ministry of Economic Warfare when these were taken over by the Foreign Office”, resigning upon Winston Churchill’s election defeat. In 1946 he was made a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John. His formal retirement from the army came on 16-06-1962, he retained the honorary rank of brigadier.

Death and burial ground of Fraser, Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, 15e Lord Lovat “Shimi Lovat.

Lord Lovat’s involvement in politics continued throughout his life, in the House of Lords where he spoke on Scottish Affairs and served in the Inverness County Council for the next forty-two years where he pressed for modernising improvements. He also devoted much of his time to the family estates of 250,000 acres in the highlands and to Fraser Clan affairs. He bred a pedigree herd of shorthorn cattle and was an international judge of cattle travelling widely to Canada, America, Latin America and Australia in that regard. He lectured on agronomy and loved racing. He was chieftain of Lovat Shinty Club, the local shinty team which bears his family name. Lord Lovat experienced a great deal of sadness in his final years; two of his sons predeceased him in accidents within days of each other. In 1994, a year before his death, the family’s traditional residence, Beaufort Castle, was sold by his eldest son, Simon Fraser, to pay inheritance taxes. Simon Fraser “Lord Lovat died 16-03-1995, age 83, in Beauly, Inverness, Scotland and is buried at Saint Mary’s Churchyard, Eskadale, Highland, Scotland. Eskadale, Beauly IV4 7JR.

Lord Lovat’s second son, Kim, and Piper William “Bill” Millin

played the pipes at Lord Lovat’s funeral.

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