The Irish Brigade spent most of July 1943 in continuing intensive training at Hammamet, and then moved to Sousse in preparation for embarkation. The 78th Division had been earmarked as the reserve division in support of 8th Army’s northerly advance from their landing beaches towards Messina.
Finally, on the night of 26th/27th July, the brigade left Sousse, and after a very choppy crossing arrived in Syracuse on the morning of 28th July. Over the next three days, they headed north over very difficult mountain roads towards Catenanuova to the south-west of Mt Etna, and as the month ended, the Irish Brigade were readying themselves for fighting that would attempt to unhinge the German defensive lines and lateral supply roads to the west of Catania.
11th July: The Irish Brigade moves to Sousse in readiness for embarkation to Sicily.
13th July: Lt-Col H Rogers takes over command of 2 LIR from Lt-Col TPD Scott, who is posted as Brigade Commander of 12 Brigade.
23rd July: Brigadier Russell embarks for Sicily in advance of the rest of the brigade.
27th/28th July: All three battalions arrive at Syracuse and move northwards towards Catenanuova.
July 1943 Roll of Honour:
Links to the transcribed July 1943 war diaries: