Irish Brigade

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

Honours and awards

Honours and awards

Awarded to men of 2 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

while serving with the Irish Brigade.

  



 Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

 LT COL DM SHAW.                                                                APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“At ARGENTA on 17 April 45 when in command of his battalion with a squadron of tanks under command, Lt-Col Shaw’s conduct of the battle was remarkable.

Although initially directed in a NW direction, he appreciated that by a flanking movement to the SW he would be in position to seal off any enemy still in the ARGENTA gap and to cover the main thrust of the Division in a NW direction.

At the time, Lt-Col Shaw carried out this movement, a strong German counter attack with tanks was being mounted against a very vulnerable part of the Division.

With complete disregard of personal safety, Lt-Col Shaw personally established his Bttn on the bank NW of ARGENTA, and repulsed what was known to be a divisional effort by the Germans to restore their ARGENTA position.

The magnificent fighting spirit which his battalion displayed on this occasion and again when he led them to the CONDOTTO MOTTE was very largely due to the inspiring leadership and courage displayed by Lt-Col Shaw.”    (WO 373/14).



Military Cross (MC)

MAJOR EH COCHRANE.                                                            APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“Major Cochrane is commanding A Company of the 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

On the night 20/21 April 1945, the Battalion moved forward with the intention of forming a bridgehead across FOSSA RIVALDO Canal. Major Cochrane’s company was in rear of C Company whey they (C Coy) came under heavy shell fire. C Company succeeded in crossing the canal, and in doing so all their officers were wounded. Major Cochrane’s company also came under heavy fire and a platoon commander, platoon sergeant and section commander were wounded.

Major Cochrane was ordered to continue the advance and quickly summed up the situation and having placed C Company into position on the canal bank, took over with his own company, the task originally intended for C Company. It was by his personal bearing and calmness that he quickly restored the morale of C Company, who were badly shaken by the loss of their officers.

As a result of Major Cochrane’s actions there was no change in the forward move of the battalion and all tasks were accomplished as originally intended.

Through this long and hard day’s fighting, Major Cochrane’s company suffered heavy casualties and two tanks in support were knocked out, but it was by his personal example and complete disregard for his own personal safety that enabled the company to maintain its fighting spirit and achieve all their objectives under such adverse conditions.”  (WO 373/14).


LIEUTENANT GH MURRAY (Twice)                                             OCT 1944 – SPADURO.

“Lt GH Murray commands a platoon of C Coy 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. This Coy’s objective in the Bttn attack on the night of 23/24 Oct 44 was the high ground at M.R. 029250.

On nearing its objective the Coy came under heavy MG fire and Lt Murray was ordered to assault and clear the area from which the fire was coming.

Lt Murray led the forward section, which was to destroy the nearest MG up the hill, skilfully avoiding the intense fire which was being brought to bear upon them.

On nearing the position he led the bayonet charge which overcame the post and silenced the MG. Lt Murray personally killing one of the enemy.

This section’s task completed, he joined the assault of the second section on the other MG post. This too was taken. His cheerful leadership throughout was an inspiration to his men and undoubtedly carried them onto its objectives. 

Lt Murray showed outstanding courage and initiative and by his quick decisions and personal disregard to danger set an example to his Platoon thereby ensuring the success of its attack.”  (WO 373/10).

                                                                                              APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“On the 18th April 1945, Lieut Murray’s Coy was engaged in mopping up houses in area 265637.

Lt Murray’s platoon was ordered to clear a group of houses that were heavily defended by MG posts in the upper storeys and also covered by further MG platoon on a high bank to the west.

Lt Murray personally led his platoon under intense MG fire to within 300 yards from the buildings. The platoon suffered heavy casualties.

Realising he could not get further forward without support, Lt Murray reorganised and having obtained a flame thrower, led the remainder of his platoon in a second assault.      

His inspiring leadership and courage enabled his platoon to storm the buildings and capture the occupants.

A few days later, Lt Murray again displayed great courage and devotion to duty, when, though severely wounded, he continued to fight with his platoon until ordered to be evacuated.  

The example of Lt Murray’s courage and dash contributed directly to his Company’s success.” (WO 373/14).


LIEUTENANT FHK SMITH.                                             APR 1945 – SANTERNO RIVER.

“Lt Smith is in command of 16 Platoon D Company, 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. On the 13th April 1945, 16 Platoon was the leading platoon of the company who had the task of clearing the left bank of the SANTERNO River. Lt Smith led his platoon with great dash and during the course of the afternoon cleared three enemy strong points. In all three cases, Lt Smith was leading his section which had come under very heavy machine gun fire, but his dash and complete disregard for personal safety was completely successful in destroying all three posts without suffering any casualties to his own platoon. His handling of the platoon was excellent and dash and bearing throughout was an excellent example. His platoon captured twelve prisoners.

Again on the 18th April 1945, Lt Smith’s platoon was given the task of clearing some enemy posts from the North bank of the RENO River. Lt Smith again led his platoon to complete victory and in spite of withering fire, during which several of his men were wounded, he moved about among his men, encouraging all and setting an example of the highest possible standard.”  (WO 373/14).    



Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)

CORPORAL BL BELL.                                                               APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“On the 17th April 1945, Cpl Bell was commanding a section in 17 Platoon D Company 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The task of D Company was to break out of a small bridgehead already formed over the FOSSA MARINA, the first part of the Battalion’s task of cutting Route 16, to seal off the enemy tanks, SP guns and infantry in ARGENTA. Speed in this operation was essential.

When forming up on the perimeter of the bridgehead, the company came under heavy mortar and shell fire. Cpl Bell was not perturbed by this, although the rest of his section was lying down, he walked about giving his final orders, calmly smoking a cigarette. On two occasions he was blown off his feet. His bearing gave the greatest encouragement to his section and platoon.

Shortly afterwards the advance commenced, and Cpl Bell led his section in an attack on two Spandau posts in a group of houses across 300 yards of bullet swept group. The houses were successfully stormed both gun posts were silenced by Cpl Bell, who personally killed the 2 gunners   

Cpl Bell was wounded in the arm during this attack but he did not hesitate, without further orders he continued in an assault on another house 100 yards ahead. In spite of heavy small arms fire, this house was taken, the automatic weapons silenced and 6 prisoners captured. Cpl Bell refused to be evacuated.

The platoon then reformed and prepared to attack a house 400 yards away, which had been converted into an enemy strong point, containing several light automatics and an SP Gun or Mark IV tank.

Undeterred by the heavy concentration of fire, Cpl Bell led his section, now reduced to himself and 3 men, across 400 yards of very open country, under heavy and continuous automatic fire. He charged straight for the strong point. Cpl Bell personally destroyed one enemy machine gun before a heavy mortar barrage finally stopped the section, all of the section except one being either killed or wounded.

During this attack, Cpl Bell received a serious wound in his buttock and his right arm all but severed at the elbow.

The platoon commander ordered the section to be evacuated but Cpl Bell, although capable of evacuating himself, continually refused to move until all his section had been taken to safety. He lay under the spasmodic fire of snipers for 2 hours.

This NCO, throughout the day, more than fulfilled the task demanded of him. He continued to lead his section though wounded, he led an advance of nearly 800 yards and it is doubtful, but for his speed and determination that the Battalion could have carried out their important task of cutting Route 16.

Cpl Bell’s self sacrificing actions and inspiring courage was the talk of all who saw him and his name is now a byword in the Battalion.”  (WO 373/14).    


CORPORAL E FITZPATRICK.                                                              1945 – ITALY.

“From the time that the Bttn moved to the SENIO in February 1945 until he was wounded on the 21st April 1945, whilst his company was advancing to form a bridgehead over the S.NICOLO FERRARESE Canal, Cpl Fitzpatrick has constantly, by his unflagging fighting spirit and courage, been an inspiration and example to his platoon.

On the SENIO, this NCO would, night after night, leave the dug in positions, and with wither Piat or Bren gun go up to the bank and completely exposing himself, fire at point blank range into enemy dug outs, that he would locate during the day. By these actions, he maintained not only in his own platoon but the whole company the aggressive spirit of defence that was so essential during these months.  

On the 14th April 1945, during the Battalion’s advance to LA GIOVECCA, south of ARGENTA, Cpl Fitzpatrick’s platoon was ordered to send out a patrol to reconnoitre the ferry area across the SANTERNO. This patrol was to seize any bridge or ferry that might be found there. Cpl Fitzpatrick, together with his platoon sergeant and members of the platoon…. until they found out that the enemy had been destroyed. Seeing the enemy in trenches on the opposite side, flying the white flag, they called upon them to…When they would not do so, the patrol waded across and Cpl Fitzpatrick pulled them out of their trenches. Climbing up to the top of the bank, Cpl Fitzpatrick saw a party of twenty Germans out in the open. Firing his Bren gun, he killed three and the rest scattered.

In the early hours of the 19th April 1945, at TOMBA north of ARGENTA, Cpl Fitzpatrick was ordered to take a reconnaissance patrol out along the Northern bank of the RENO to ascertain the SOUTH positions of the enemy, who were thought to be digging in that area. Immediately after the patrol left TOMBA, our own gunners fired a very heavy and close barrage onto both banks of the RENO, to assist in the advance of Commando units up to the Western side of the river. During this barrage, our own troops had been withdrawn from positions on the RENO bank. The patrol was called in and succeeded in regaining the house at TOMBA without casualties, although shells were raining around and on the house.

Throughout this incident Cpl Fitzpatrick remained completely calm and master of the situation, and by his demeanour and leadership, maintained the morale of his men, although they were considerably shaken. After an interval, Cpl Fitzpatrick took his patrol out again, and leading them along the Northern bank of the river, was able to report the area clear.    

On the 21st April 1945, when his company was advancing to the S.NICOLO FERRARESE Canal, Cpl Fitzpatrick was badly wounded by mortar fire whilst looking for a place for his platoon to ford a broad dyke.

By his contempt for personal danger, this NCO’s actions have been an outstanding example to the men of his company, and his leadership on patrol or where offensive action has been required, has been most outstanding.”  (WO 373/14).


CSM A ROLSTON.                                                                      APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“At 0130 hrs on 21st April 1945, C Company was the leading company of the Battalion in an attack to form a bridgehead over the Canal at 214755. As the company crossed the Canal, they came under very heavy shell fire. All the officers were wounded and the company suffered severe casualties, and in consequence were badly disorganised. CSM Rolston took over command and skilfully reorganised the company, and formed and held the bridgehead thus enabling the rest of the Battalion to pass through.

Under heavy shell fire he maintained the company in positions by his personal example, until relieved by an officer from another company.    

It was entirely due to the personal courage and initiative of CSM Rolston, that the company was able to complete its task, spite of the loss of its officers and the natural confusion and disorganisation caused by this and the numerous casualties suffered in the company.”   (WO 373/14).



 Military Medal (MM)

CSM A BOYD.                                                                        APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“On the 17 Apr 1945, A Coy was taking part in the Battalion’s attack through the ARGENTA GAP. During the afternoon, the Coy came under shell and machine gun fire from SP guns which were causing many casualties to our tanks. A platoon of Sgt Boyd’s Coy, to which he was performing the duties of CSM, was ordered to advance with the objective of capturing the SP guns, and making contact with the Battalion on the right. This platoon was badly cut up by direct hits caused by armour piercing shells and sustained many casualties. The platoon was forced to withdraw leaving the casualties behind. Sgt Boyd made his way up to the area which was completely exposed to fire from the SP gun and contacted the wounded and one NCO who had remained behind to attend to them. Sgt Boyd moved all round the area looking for the men and getting them together.

Later that afternoon, Sgt Boyd again went forward to the area to contact three men of the company who were taking shelter in a slit trench, and who because of the shock of the preceding incident were unable to take their way back. By his calm and reassuring manner, Sgt Boyd gave confidence to these men and led them safely out of the area.” 


FUSILIER EE CLARKE.                                                                 APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“This fusilier is a Bren Gunner in the company and during the last three actions has caused many casualties to the enemy. During the breakout at the SANTERNO Bridgehead he spotted an enemy Spandau post. Without orders he was quickly in position and with his first magazine he killed the crew of the enemy gun. He then joined in the assault, firing from the hip, charging straight for the enemy, as a direct result of this 20 prisoners were taken.

During the enemy counter attack on the 18thApril 1945, he got into position, completely in the open on the top of the flood bank, and remained there until he had fired the whole of his ammunition at the enemy who were advancing no more than 30 yards away. It was largely due to his devastating fire that the counter attack was broken up., and his disregard for his own safety was an example to the whole company.”   


CORPORAL S COURTNEY.                                         1943 TO 1945 – SICILY / ITALY.

“Cpl Courtney has been on active service with the 6th Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in all the major battles of the Bttn commencing with the landing in SICILY up to the battle of the LIRI VALLEY and the push to ROME. He then joined the 2nd Bttn Royal Innskilling Fusiliers .

Throughout this period, this NCO’s record has been outstanding for his energy, initiative and powers of leadership when in contact with the enemy.

At CENTURIPE in SICILY, Cpl Courtney (then Fusilier) was sent forward of his Coy late in the day on a standing patrol.  The standing patrol was cut off from the Coy during the night and then constantly engaged by the enemy. Throughout this engagement Fusilier Courtney kept up return fire and held firm to his position until relieved the next day.

Cpl Courtney maintained this same level of conduct throughout the battles of Termoli, Isernia and the crossings of the rivers Trigno and Sangro, St Vito and San Salvo.

At PIUMAROLA in Italy on the 17th May 1944, Cpl Courtney’s company was ordered to attack around the right of the village. Cpl Courtney was in the lead of his platoon which was the leading platoon of the Coy. Despite strong opposition, Cpl Courtney kept advancing, although the platoon was suffering heavy casualties, the platoon’s strength was soon reduced to about six men. Cpl Courtney reached his objective, however, under heavy mortar fire until the Bttn was relieved. 

By his enthusiasm and aggressiveness in defence during the period February, March to the beginning of April 1945, whilst the battalion was holding positions on the SENIO, Cpl Courtney set a continual example to his platoon.”


L/SERGEANT PJ DOHERTY.                                                   MAR 1945 – SENIO RIVER.

“On the night of 12 Mar 45, L/Sgt Doherty was ordered to take a patrol forward to destroy a Spandau position which had been harassing and inflicting casualties on a forward platoon.

L/Sgt Doherty led his men along the flood bank to within 15 yards of the emplacement when Schu mines were encountered. The patrol moved cautiously on, removing the mines as they advanced. At this point, the patrol was heard, and the enemy threw grenades at them, but the patrol kept advancing and retaliated with their own grenades, whereupon the enemy sent up three verey lights and threw over a large number of grenades, slightly wounding L/Sgt Doherty and one other member of the patrol. L/Sgt Doherty withdrew his patrol, reformed and attacked again. This time he was met with Spandau fire as well as another shower of grenades. The Spandau position was rushed and silenced, and had not opened up since, but the patrol suffered three casualties in doing so, one of them falling just in front of the gun. L/Sgt Doherty immediately went to his aid, although he was not sure then that the gun had been silenced and helped him to get clear, and then withdrew his patrol intact.

The success of this dangerous task was entirely due to the outstanding example in courage and leadership displayed by L/Sgt Doherty throughout the whole operation.


L/SERGEANT J GEOGHEGAN.                                                      OCT 1944 – SPADURO.

“During the night 23/24 Oct 44, L/Sgt Geoghegan was commanding a section of 13 Platoon C Coy, 2nd Bttn The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The Bttn was attacking over difficult hilly country.

During the approach march the Coy was subjected to enemy MG fire at short range from the left flank, but L/Sgt Geoghegan not waiting for further orders swung his section towards the fire and at great speed made direct for the enemy. On approaching the post he ordered a bayonet charge which he himself led. This was a highly successful charge, completely silencing the MGs and resulting in two dead Germans and five prisoners. During the bayonet charge, Sgt Geoghegan was himself wounded through the shoulder but disregarding this he gathered his section and rejoined his platoon again, refusing to be evacuated until the Coy had taken its objective.

The behaviour and bearing of L/Sgt Geoghegan has always been a byword in his Platoon and on this occasion an example of the finest traditions of leadership.”


SERGEANT FJ GILLIGAN.                                                        APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“Sgt Gilligan is platoon sergeant of No 17 Platoon D Coy, 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. During the 17th and 18th April 1945, Sgt Gilligan’s platoon fought several hard battles. On the morning of 17 April when forming up for an attack in a group of houses, Sgt Gilligan’s platoon was subjected to a heavy enemy barrage but Sgt Gilligan wandered around his platoon, not bothering about any cover for himself. In this area, each house was a strong point and the area was swept by enemy small arms fire but Sgt Gilligan moved about the battlefield oblivious of bullets. Several times he cleared enemy from positions on his own. Later in the day, a strong point was attacked by this platoon. The platoon consisted of three machine guns and one SP gun. The post was in the open and covered from both flanks by enemy fire. The platoon got within 50 yards of the house but owing to enemy defensive fire casualties were heavy and the final assault was impossible.  The platoon was ordered to withdraw but Gilligan refused to leave his wounded until the stretcher bearers had evacuated all his men. His behaviour throughout was beyond that called for by normal duty and he set such an example that his badly mauled platoon never once lost their dash and high morale which made the battle a complete success, as the enemy in the strong point were later found to be all but destroyed, but for five.”     


SERGEANT TC HODSON.                                                         APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“On the 13 April 1945 during the advance out of the SANTERNO bridgehead, Sgt Hodson was commanding No 11 Platoon of B Company. This platoon was one of the leading platoons of the Battalion and suddenly came under fire from an organised line of enemy FDLs. The enemy position consisted of a line of six fortified houses running along a road directly across the front. Each house was armed with a Spandau position and around the houses were slit trenches containing bazookas and riflemen. His platoon was engaged by four of the Spadaus. Sgt Hodson quickly sized up the position and led his platoon forward to clear up the right hand house. He then switched left down the road, his whole platoon following him, to mop up the remainder. It was largely due to his outstanding skill and courage that enabled his company to take 56 prisoners and take a large amount of German weapons, including 7 Spandaus and 8 Bazookas.

Again on the 18th and 21st April 1945, Sgt Hodson, by his quick appreciation of the situation and his dash and courage enabled his platoon to break up two strong enemy counter attacks

During the whole period, he has shown a complete disregard for his own personal safety and has always been at the front of his platoon.”


SERGEANT AL HUGHES.                                                          APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“On the night of 20/21 April 1945, A Coy was advancing with the object of crossing the canal FOSSA SAN NICOLO RIVALDA. Whilst approaching the canal, A Coy was heavily mortared, 7 platoon losing its commander, platoon Sgt and two section commanders. The calm demeanour and disregard for personal safety on the part of Sgt Hughes, who was commanding 9 Platoon, was greatly responsible for the steadying and reorganisation of 7 Platoon and enabled them to carry on with the advance. But for the very quick action on the part of Sgt Hughes, this platoon which had lost all its leaders might have suffered more casualties and become non effective as a fighting unit.

Sgt Hughes organised the crossing of the canal for both platoons under command. Sgt Hughes’s leadership and appreciation of the situation enabled his Company to continue its advance unchecked, until its final objectives had been reached.”  


SERGEANT L KELLY.                                                                     1944 /45 – ITALY.

“This NCO has been a Pioneer Sergeant for the past eight months. In this capacity he has worked outstandingly hard and tirelessly both in and out of the line. His work in clearing mined areas, on many occasions in close proximity to the enemy, has been invaluable. He has never hesitated to show the utmost courage and disregard for personal danger at all times.

He has accompanied several patrols to the enemy lines, exposing himself to great personal risk at the head of the patrol.

This NCO has shown the greatest possible devotion to duty.”


SERGEANT W McCUSKER.                                                       MAR 1945 – SENIO RIVER.

“Sgt McCusker was Platoon Sergeant of 13 Platoon, C Coy, 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers between 10/13 Mar 45. His Platoon was holding part of the East bank of the SENIO RIVER. The enemy held two footbridges across the river from which they maintained a number of posts on our side of the bank.

On the night of 11 Mar, Sgt McCusker made repeated efforts to destroy the footbridges with a PIAT. Three times during the night, he repelled enemy attempts to cross the footbridges, killing and wounding several of the enemy with PIAT and Bren Gun. This he managed to do despite the fact that the enemy continuously swept the East bank with accurate and sustained Spandau fire and rifle grenades. On the night of 12 Mar, the enemy made very determined effort to cross the footbridge. Six rockets were directed against the East bank where 13 Platoon were in position, two striking the bank destroying three of our weapon pits. Sgt McCusker was blown off the forward slope sustaining injuries from blast. He refused to be evacuated, however, but climbed back on to the forward slope from where he fired a Bren Gun, wounding three more of the enemy.

He then commenced firing a PIAT, first throwing 77 grenades to light up the area. Under direct observation from the far bank and with Spandau fire directed from a distance of 40 yards against him, he fired 8 PIAT bombs from the forward slope, destroying the larger of the two footbridges and damaging the other. He was wounded the next day directing 2” Mortar fire against enemy positions on the West bank.  

Sgt McCusker, during these four nights, showed outstanding devotion to duty and courage of the highest order. His example to 13 Platoon was magnificent and had a marked effect towards the determined manner in which 13 Platoon routed the enemy from the East bank and prevented them from maintaining posts there.”


SERGEANT AK MORRISON.                                                  APR  1945 – ARGENTA.

“On 13th April 1945, C Coy 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was right forward Company clearing the road up to and including the village of LA GIOVECCA.

Sgt Morrison was platoon commander of 14Platoon, C Coy, whose task was to clear the enemy from a number of fortified houses. Sgt Morrison personally led his platoon forward under extremely heavy SA and Shell fire to clear a house which dominated the approaches to the village, Sgt Morrison, himself, led a section into the house, throwing grenades into the lower rooms. They succeeded in killing a number of the enemy, taking the survivors prisoner. He then reorganised his platoon so efficiently that it was able to meet and destroy an enemy counter attack, 30 strong, he again killed a number of Germans and took the remainder prisoner.

Throughout this day of extremely heavy fighting, Sgt Morrison showed exceptional powers of leadership and outstanding personal bravery.”


FUSILIER JJ MURPHY.                                                        APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“During the morning of the 21st April 1945 at Canal Crossing MR 214735, after C Coy, 2nd Bttn  Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was caught in an artillery barrage, Fusilier Murphy, who was Bren Gunner in a Rifle Section had many comrades killed and wounded. He went out into the open under intense shell and mortar fire and brought in a number of the wounded. He never wavered and set a great example to his comrades. When ordered to come back to take up a defensive position on a canal bank, Fusilier Murphy took his Bren Gun and searched the canal bank, knowing well that there were several enemy posts there. He assisted in capturing a Spandau position and a complete section of riflemen.

This Fusilier showed tremendous energy, courage and devotion to duty through an extremely heavy action.”


FUSILIER N NICHOLLS.                                                         APR 1945 – ARGENTA.

“At about 1500 hrs on the 17th April 1945, during the operations North West of ARGENTA, Fusilier Nicholls’ platoon was ordered to advance with the object of capturing an SP gun that was inflicting casualties on our tanks supporting the advance, and also to make contact with the Bttn on the right.

When Nicholls’ platoon had advanced about 400 yards along the left hand side of the railway, they came under direct fire from an SP gun and tank firing armour piercing “shot”. The platoon had been advancing along a ditch beside the railway. Nicholls’ section was the leading section with the platoon commander at the head of it. One shell fired along the line of the ditch from immediately ahead, from the area of the house at 278626, badly wounded his platoon commander, and wounded four men behind. Nicholls, together with his section commander, and two others ran to a house 50 yards ahead.  This movement was seen by the enemy, who immediately started to fire armour piercing “shot” into the house, and shells along the length of the ditch. The enemy continued to heavily shell the house, the area behind it and the ditch, compelling the remainder of the platoon to withdraw.  

Fusilier Nicholls helped to bandage one of his party in the house who had been hit, and then saw that his platoon commander was lying badly wounded in the open behind the house.

Although the enemy were aware of the fact that our troops were in the house, and in the area behind it, and were continuously shelling the house and area heavily by direct observation, Fusilier Nicholls left the house by himself, and went back 50 yards to where his platoon commander was lying. Under heavy fire, Fusilier Nicholls, half dragged, half carried his platoon commander back to the house, and there rendered the first aid which was urgently required.

Fusilier Nicholls, at a time when his platoon had suffered heavy casualties, including the commander, platoon sergeant, and two other NCOs, showed complete contempt for personal danger, and by his act, set a great example of courage and devotion to duty.”    


CSM J NOLAN.                                                                      DEC 1944 – CASA LUCCA.
“CSM Nolan is Company Sergeant Major of B Company 2nd Bttn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. On the 6 December 1944, his company was holding the area of CASA LUCCA and the hill feature immediately in front of it. During the early hours of the morning a determined raid was made by a strong raiding party of the German 1st Para Division on the area of company headquarters and the forward platoon. This raid was accompanied by an intense mortar bombardment. The two sentries outside company headquarters were seized by the enemy and the forward platoon was almost overrun. CSM Nolan setting a superb example of courage and determination immediately organised his company headquarters into a fighting section and drove the enemy from the area of CASA LUCCA. In the course of the fighting, CSM Nolan was seriously shaken and cut by the enemy grenades, which was thrown to him.    Then quite regardless of the heavy small arms fire he went forward by himself to the area of the forward platoon where he organised the remnants of the platoon into a counterattack force and personally led a determined and vigorous counterattack which drove the enemy in confusion from the important feature which they had succeeded in occupying. By his coolness, initiative and great personal bravery CSM Nolan was alone almost entirely responsible for driving off the raiding force before they could inflict serious casualties and for restoring a situation in which the security of the entire battalion positions was threatened.”


CORPORAL T O’FARRELL.                                                          OCT 1944 – SPADURO.

“During the night 23/24 Oct 44, Cpl O’Farrell was commanding a section of 13 Platoon C Coy, 2nd Bttn The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The Coy objective was a hill feature MR 029259. 13 Platoon was left forward Platoon of the Coy.

Half way up the hill, the Platoon came under MG fire at close range from three different points. Most of this fire came down on Cpl O’Farrell’s section, but he, showing complete disregard for his own personal safety quickly decided on a route forward and got his section into a position from where he led his men from a bayonet charge against one of the MG posts.

Despite the enemy’s fire and grenade throwing Cpl O’Farrell went into the charge ahead of his section firing his M3 and killing and wounding most of the enemy in his MG position. Carrying on to the second position he accounted for more of the enemy and took several prisoners.

By the skill, tenacity and dogged determination with which Cpl O’Farrell led and inspired his section, the enemy posts were wiped out, and it was largely due to this that the Coy gained its objectives.”    


CORPORAL B RUSH.                                                                  OCT 1944 – SPADURO.“On the night of 23/24 Oct 44, the 2nd Bttn The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were attacking over difficult hilly country. Cpl Rush was a section commander of 14 Platoon.

 This Platoon had as an objective a hill position at MR 029259 from which two enemy MGs were firing. Whilst approaching this objective the Platoon came under the full force of the enemy fire and Cpl Rush’s section being in the lead was momentarily pinned down. He quickly rallied his men and with all speed led them on towards the enemy positions, encouraging them by his own gallantry.

The section reached the first MG position overcoming it with grenades and automatic fire of Cpl Rush’s M3. He personally accounted for at least three of the enemy. Cpl Rush quickly disposed his section in the enemy position, moving around in the open and showing a complete disregard for his own safety.

Cpl Rush’s courage and leadership undoubtedly had a large bearing on the success of the sections.”

 



 

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