Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit

Further Reading


Clear The Way! A history of the 38th (Irish) Brigade, 1941-47, by Richard Doherty.

This is the definitive account of the brigade from formation to dissolution. It includes a detailed record of its campaigns in Tunisia and Italy, including many photographs and maps.

The Wild Geese are Flighting, by John Coldwell-Horsfall.

This is the first in a two volume sequence which brilliantly paints a picture of the Irish Brigade from one of its most distinguished members. Coldwell-Horsfall was a company commander in 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers during the battle for France in May/June 1940. His battalion joined 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 2 London Irish Rifles to form the Irish Brigade during the winter of 1941/42 and Coldwell-Horsfall kept a diary about his experiences that encompassed all the major events of the Tunisian and Italian campaigns. ‘The Wild Geese are Flighting’ covers the Tunisian battles and provides a vivid, eye-witness account of the successful attack on Hill 622 by the Faughs on 23 April 1943.

Fling Our Banner to the Wind, by John Coldwell-Horsfall.

This covers the Italian campaign from the time of the author’s appointment as second-in-command of 2 London Irish Rifles, and his command of the same battalion at the battles of Cassino and Trasimene up to the time when Coldwell-Horsfall was seriously wounded in the winter of 1944, whilst commanding 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Victory in Italy, by Richard Doherty.

This covers the final campaign of the Allied Armies in Italy and focuses on Operation Grapeshot when the 8th and 5th Armies combined to overcome determined German defences to bring final and comprehensive victory on 2nd May 1945.

Other books about the history of the Irish Brigade.


The London Irish at War.

A History of the two Battalions of the London Irish Rifles during the Second World War.

All My Brothers: A London Irish Family at War, by Edmund O’Sullivan (2007).

In his own account of his life from birth until his marriage in 1946, O’Sullivan records in detail his experiences as a young conscript to 2 London Irish Rifles during October 1939 until the battalion was disbanded more than six years later.

Time at War, by Nicholas Mosley (2006).

Mosley was a young platoon commander in E Company of 2 London Irish Rifles from 1943 until the end of the war and beyond. This is an excellent account of his experiences, including being temporarily taken prisoner by the Germans in January 1944 and of the battle period near to Monte Spaduro in the autumn of 1944, where he was awarded the Military Cross. The book also contains rare photographs, some taken by himself.

Books about the Italian campaign.


Cassino: The Hollow Victory, by John Ellis, 1984.

One of the first revisionist accounts of the Battle of Cassino which is full of coruscating criticisms of the conduct of the battle and of the entire Italian campaign.

Monte Cassino: The Story of the Hardest Fought Battle of World War Two, by Matthew Parker, 2003.

Other Sources.


Humphrey (Bala) Bredin.

Commander of 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the battle of Cassino and of 2 London Irish Rifles from July 1944 onwards. His obituary can be found by clicking here.

A link to Bala Bredin’s oral testimony here. 

John Coldwell-Horsfall.

The obituary of one of the key figures in the Irish Brigade, who commanded both 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers and 2 London Irish Rifles in Italy, can be found by clicking here.

Desmond Woods.

OC, H Company 2 London Irish Rifles during 1944. His obituary can be found by clicking here.

Harry Lionel Corfield, A Company, 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

A link to an audio recording on the IWM website recalling the period of overseas service with the Irish Brigade from 1942 to 1945.

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