Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


June 1944

At the start of June 1944, the Irish Brigade spent several days resting in the Ripi area, whilst they awaited further orders. It was here that they heard the news that Rome had been liberated on 4th June and another ‘D Day” had occurred in North West Europe on 6th June.

On 8th June, after this period of relative peace, the brigade received orders to move north of Rome. Whilst moving forward, the Rifles were asked to guard Kesselring’s former HQ tunnel complex at San Oreste and were amazed by the cave system, which they explored with great relish. A quite remarkable interlude occurred on the 12th June, when a representative group from the Irish Brigade, led by Brigadier Scott, visited the Vatican to meet Pope Pius and this was described most vividly by Pat Scott.

Meanwhile back at the wars, the Rifles had moved forward to the Civitella area and continued to deal effectively with German rearguard units as they and the Skins continued northwards towards the southern shores of Lake Trasimene and a renewed set of German defensive positions at the Albert Line. Brigade HQ was established in the hilltop village of Panicale, where they had a wonderful view of the billiard table nature of the area laid out before them as the 78th Infantry Division, led by 2 Lancashire Fusiliers, commenced their attacks on the village of Sanfatucchio, which overlooked the eastern shores of the lake.

Whilst the main body of the brigade had been advancing eastwards of Orvieto, the Faughs had been engaged in a variety of independent activity before they joined a 56 Recce advance, known as ‘Battlegroup Chavasse’ that, by 21st June, had brought them to Castello di Montelera overlooking Lake Trasimene.

On the night of 20/21st June, the Rifles were brought forward for a renewed attack on Sanfatucchio and they were to be superbly supported in this assault by a squadron of the 11th Canadian Armoured Regiment. After successfully breaking into the village, the Rifles were involved in hand to hand fighting north of the village near to the church and cemetery of San Felice. During the afternoon, the Skins moved up alongside them onto Pucciarelli Ridge and they were forced to resist several desperate German counterattacks during the night.

Although the Rifles and Skins had established an excellent forward finger thrust position, they were now much weakened. On 24th June, an attack on the villages of Ranciano and Pescia by the Faughs continued to unhinge the wider Albert Line before other units of the 78th Division were brought forward to continue the advance. During this latter period, the Faughs’ CO, James Dunnill, had been captured when his command tank had taken a wrong turning which had taken him straight into captivity.

Over the next three days, all of the brigade were brought back into reserve. The fighting in the Sanfatucchio area had proved to be some of the fiercest fighting experienced by the Irish Brigade throughout their whole period of war time service. At the end of the month, they were readying themselves for a move back towards Rome and looking forward to a much deserved full rest.

Read Brigadier Pat Scott’s account of the Irish Brigade’s advance north of Rome.

Read Brigadier Pat Scott’s descriptions of the battle period near Lake Trasimene and their withdrawal from the line for some much needed rest.

Read John Horsfall’s descriptions of the fighting at Sanfatucchio on 21st June 1944.

Read an account of the Irish Brigade’s meeting with the Pope on 12th June 1944.

Read CQMS Edmund O’Sullivan’s account of meeting the Pope before his journey continues northwards towards Lake Trasimene.


Key Dates:

8th June: Moving forward north of Rome.

12th June: An Irish Brigade group visit the Vatican.

12th to 14th June: Renewed fighting at Pianniccale and Morrano ridge.

15th June: Faughs’ patrols enter Citta della Pieve but are ordered to withdraw.

21st June: Brigade attacks on San Fantucchio and Pucciarelli Ridge.

24th June: Faughs’ attack on Ranciano/Pescia.

26th to 28th June: Brigade go into Divisional Reserve.


June 1944  Roll of Honour:

1st June 1944 – Sergeant Francis Girr, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

7th June  1944 – William Smoothy, London Irish Rifles.

7th June 1944 – Rifleman Frank Long, London Irish Rifles.

7th June 1944 – Lance Corporal Thomas Isley, London Irish Rifles.

7th June 1944 – Rifleman Thomas Edwards, London Irish Rifles.

13th June 1944 – Fusilier  Timothy Cullagh, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

14th June 1944 – Lance Corporal Henry Finch, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

14th June 1944 – Fusilier Thomas Crumley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

14th June 1944 –  Fusilier Thomas Mahoney, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

14th June 1944 – Fusilier John Young, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

19th June 1944 – Fusilier Charles Hallett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

19th June 1944 – Lance Sergeant William Bovaird, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

19th June 1944 – Fusilier Jeffrey Taylor, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Frederick Jones, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman William Coster, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Cyril Sharpe, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Private  Ronald Lush, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached from ACC.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman George Jones, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Lieutenant Rupert Roche, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached from Royal Ulster Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Corporal John Onions, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Corporal Kenneth Wanklyn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Fusilier Thomas McLaughlin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Fusilier James McCreary, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Fusilier Verdun England, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Fusilier Edward Algar, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Samuel Wilson, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman John Higginson, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Walter Lewis, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Charles Burt, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Alfred Woods, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman William Godfrey, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Arthur Boston, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Marcus Swallow, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Corporal William Roberts, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Rifleman Cecil Griffiths, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Lance Corporal Leslie Marsh, London Irish Rifles.

21st June 1944 – Lieutenant Cornelius Horgan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

21st June 1944 – Lieutenant George Dunseath, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached to the London Irish.

22nd June 1944 – Fusilier James Murray, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

22nd June 1944 – Rifleman Daniel Merron, London Irish Rifles.

23rd June 1944 – Company Sergeant Major Thomas Gordon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

23rd June 1944 – Fusilier James Nelson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

23rd June 1944 – Rifleman Ernest Neill, London Irish Rifles.

24th June 1944 – Fusilier Edward McDonnell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Rifleman Ronald Verrinder, London Irish Rifles.

24th June 1944 – Rifleman Frank Parsons, London Irish Rifles.

24th June 1944 – Rifleman Philip Pearce, London Irish Rifles.

24th June 1944 – Fusilier Norman Williams, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Corporal Jack Clement, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Fusilier William Allen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Fusilier Irvin Marsh, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Lance Corporal Thomas McMullan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Corporal Henry Tuffey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 – Corporal Leslie Brown, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24th June 1944 –  Fusilier John Taylor, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


Links to the transcribed June 1944 war diaries.

38 (Irish) Brigade.

6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.



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