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12 September 2017
Arbroath-based Royal Marine takes up paintbrush to commemorate military “giants.”

One of the most iconic military images in Scotland has recently been reproduced by a talented Royal Marine artist based at 45 Commando in Arbroath.

Marine David Griffin wanted to pay tribute to previous generations who put their lives on the line to protect the country. 

Taking up his paintbrush, David reproduced the famous Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, creating a giant black-and-white mural on the side of the Unit’s sport facility.

I wanted to paint something which would silently watch over the Unit and impress new-joiners, as well as paying tribute to previous generations.

Marine David Griffin

“We are well aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants, so I wanted to portray them literally as giants,” said David. 

“I couldn’t hope to match the iconography of Scott Sutherland’s majestic sculpture, so I’ve tried instead to match its impressiveness by out-doing it in size!”

The mural now adorns the side of 45 Commando’s Ben Nowak Centre, named after Corporal Ben Nowak, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.

“The wall itself is 40 square metres of masonry and capable of drinking over 40 litres of paint,” continued David. 

“The painting took two-weeks to complete, but there was six months leading up to me eventually sticking a brush to the wall where I had to secure various permissions, funding, training, and organise a cherry picker.”

Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, the Commando Memorial stands around a mile from the village of Spean Bridge, near where British Commando Forces trained during the Second World War.

Now a Category A listed monument, the 5.2 metre bronze sculpture was produced by Scott Sutherland after he won a Scotland-wide competition for the commission.

The monument holds an important place in the hearts of today’s Royal Marines.  Each year Commandos and veterans from across the country gather at Spean Bridge to pay their respects and remember those who have fallen.

David says that he wanted to create a lasting representation that those at the Unit could see every day.

“I wanted to paint something which would silently watch over the Unit and impress new-joiners, as well as paying tribute to previous generations. 

“Those Commandos of the past put their lives on the line to fend-off our enemies, as 45 Commando stand ready today.

“Hopefully, when everyone currently serving in the Corps has left and we’ve a complete staff-turnover, the mural will still watch over 45 Commando.”

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