16th March – 30th March 1943.
About March 15, the “Skins” and the London Irish moved to the Medjez sector. The “Faughs” were temporarily retained in the Bou Arada Plain to put a new brigade into the ‘ways of the place’.
St Patrick’s Day passed peacefully. Biddy Scott sent some shamrock to Pat, which miraculously arrived on the night of the 16th, so I had a sprig, which I drowned well and nobly with the London Irish and the “Skins”. Pat Scott, Kendal Chevasse and self also arranged to have a little private celebration. Kendal had to drive many miles on a wet, dark, night to attend. A good effort, as he had been soaked twice already that day.
It was evident that big battles were not far distant, and that the ‘high ups’ were planning.
It was also evident to me that the London Irish had to have a period out of the line for a rest and refit – they’d suffered heavily in their gallant attack in January, and they’d borne the brunt of the Bosche push in February. Only two of their original officers remained, and they’d been continually in action for over 12 weeks. The whole brigade needed a rest badly but the London Irish had to have one.
This was arranged, and Pat Scott took over command – Beauchamp Butler taking his place with the “Faughs”.
After an indeterminate fortnight, with little fighting, the end of the month saw the “Skins” and “Faughs” concentrated in the Beja-Oued Zarga area, with the 2nd Hampshires nominated honorary Irishmen and temporarily with the brigade, until the return of the London Irish. Big things were about to commence.