December 1944

The start of December 1944 saw the Irish Brigade still awaiting firm orders for the planned divisional offensive in support of an 8th Army wide assault and a regular pattern of patrolling and intermittent shelling and mortaring exchanges continued. On 13th December, 36 Brigade’s attack went in, but due to determined German defensive actions and some appalling weather, this quickly came to a halt and the Irish Brigade were not in fact required to launch their own attack.

With this postponement, there now commenced a period of large scale raiding on known German positions and the first of these was undertaken by the Faughs against Casa Tamagnin. Following a second assault and whilst reviewing its outcome, the Commanding Officer of 1 RIrF, Lt Colonel John Horsfall, was severely wounded and was immediately evacuated by Brigadier Scott.

The end of 1944 in the mountains near San Clemente saw heavy snowfall and Christmas Day was celebrated in relative peace, although hostilities recommenced over the following days.

Read Pat Scott’s account of the period in early December 1944 as the Irish Brigade readied itself for further offensive action.

Read Pat Scott’s account of the period leading up to the end of the year.

Key Dates:

13th December: 78th Division commences its attack on Monte Maggiore.

22nd December: Lt Col Murphy Palmer takes over command of 1 RIrF from John Horsfall.

December 1944 Roll of Honour:

1st December 1944 – Fusilier Walter Cartledge, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1st December 1944 – Rifleman Harold White, London Irish Rifles.

1st December 1944 – Rifleman Frederick Rudd, London Irish Rifles.

4th December 1944 – Fusilier James Plunkett, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

4th December 1944 – Lieutenant Patrick Brady, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

4th December 1944 – Fusilier Brendan Hickey, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

5th December 1944 – Fusilier William Hilliam, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

7th December 1944 – Captain Geert Coetzee, Royal Irish Fusiliers, seconded from South African Armoured Corps.

12th December 1944 –  Lance Corporal Frederick McLernon, London Irish Rifles.

19th December 1944 – Fusilier Edward Niblock, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

19th December 1944 – Fusilier John Dickson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

19th December 1944 – Lieutenant Albert Parish, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from Gloucestershire Regiment.

23rd December 1944 – Sergeant Albert Sutcliffe, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

23rd December 1944 – Fusilier Norman Russ, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

23rd December 1944 – Lance Corporal Thomas Conley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

27th December 1944 – Fusilier William Bussey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

December 1944 War Diaries:

38 (Irish) Brigade.

2 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.

Day by Day.


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