John Coldwell-Horsfall was commissioned into the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1935, and served with the 1st Battalion (1 RIrF) as Officer Commanding (OC), D Company in France during the spring of 1940. He continued to serve with 1 RIrF during the Irish Brigade’s campaign in Tunisia in 1942 and 1943 before he was severely wounded in April 1943.
Returning to Italy in February 1944, he became second in command of the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) before assuming command of the battalion on 15th May 1944 following the death of Lieut-Colonel Goff. He continued to command 2 LIR through the rest of the campaign in the Liri Valley and the advance north of Rome to Lake Trasimene before he took over as Commanding Officer (CO) of 1 RIrF during July 1944. He served as CO of the Faughs through the autumn campaign before he was again wounded in Northern Italy during December 1944.
John Horsfall wrote three books about the Faughs’ and Irish Rifles’ campaigns in France, North Africa and Italy, the latter two focused on his service with the Irish Brigade.
Here, we provide excerpts from two of his books, ‘The Wild Geese are Flighting’ and ‘Fling Your Banner to the Wind’ which covers four of the key days in the Irish Brigade’s war time history.