Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit

Captain Percy Hamilton’s Memoirs

Back Row: Fusilier Rolfe, Fusilier Keen, L/Cpl Swainson, Fusilier Francis.

Front Row: Fusilier Ruane, Sgt O’Connor, Lt Hamilton, Cpl Fielder.

We are pleased to be able to add the personal memoirs of Captain Percy Alexander Hamilton MC, who served with 38 (Irish) Brigade from early 1943 onwards. He was able to write down his wartime story while based in Austria during 1945 and 1946.

We would like to thank Percy Hamilton’s sons, David and Ronnie, for allowing us to add these most evocative and moving personal accounts to the Irish Brigade web site.

Click on the links below to read the full accounts.

From Greenock to Algiers – January 1943.

On Grandstand Hill – March 1943.

Attack on Djebel Mahdi – April 1943.

Assaults on Djebel Tanngoucha – April 1943.

Entering Tunis – May 1943.

Resting at Guelma – June 1943.

Sailing for Sicily – July 1943.

Assault on Centuripe and the advance to Randazzo – August 1943.

Arriving in Taranto – September 1943.

Landings at Termoli – October 1943.

Crossing the Trigno River – October 1943.

Attacking San Salvo – November 1943.

Percy Alexander Hamilton joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in Belfast on 15th October 1940, and served as a corporal with their 1st Battalion for nearly two years before entering the 164 Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU).

When he passed out of the OCTU in October 1942, he received an emergency commission and was assigned initially to the 5th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (5 Innisks), which was a reserve unit based in Northern Ireland. At the end of January 1943, he embarked for North Africa with a reinforcement draft, and was able to join up with the 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (6 Innisks), who were occupying positions on Grandstand Hill, north of Bou Arada, on 13th March 1943.

He served with 6 Innisks and then 2 Innisks when they joined the Irish Brigade, and was present at most of the brigade’s actions in Tunisia and Italy, including those at Tanngoucha, Centuripe, Termoli, San Salvo, the Liri Valley, Lake Trasimene, and the Argenta Gap.

Percy rose to the rank of Captain, although he was acting Major when he was Officer Commanding C Company, 6 Innisks, during their assault on Pucciarelli Ridge near to Lake Trasimeno, on 21st/22th June 1944. For his actions that night, he was awarded the Military Cross.

On leaving Austria in June 1946, Percy Hamilton returned home to Dublin.

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