Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


November 1943

Following the devastating set back for the Irish Brigade at San Salvo, the start of November 1943 saw both 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers (1 RIrF) and 2 London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) re-building their strength with reinforcement drafts being brought up to join both battalions.

On 3rd November, the “rested” 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (6 Innisks), along with 5 East Kent Regiment (5 Buffs) from 36 Brigade, and with support from 44 Royal Tank Regiment (44 RTR), renewed the assault on San Salvo and this proved successful overcoming robust German defensive actions.

Read a description of the Skins’ attack on San Salvo here.

As 78th Division continued to move forward swiftly and on 9th November the Germans withdrew to the north of the Sangro river, with the attacking forces being able to make an unopposed crossing. However, heavy rain in the middle of the month meant that the Sangro river became a raging torrent, which allowed defensive positions to be enhanced across the river plain and prevented an immediate attack on the vaunted German Winter Line.

Following two weeks of patrolling across the Sangro by units of 78th Division, and after several attempts to build bailey bridges to support the bridgehead troops, the V Corps plan to break the Winter Line commenced on 27th November, with 8th Indian Division leading the attack on the ridge top village of Mozzagrogna. This initial attack, if successful, would be quickly followed up by the Irish Brigade with 4 Armoured Brigade support, and they would jointly attack the ridge (Li Colli) overlooking the Sangro river and move eastwards to the coast and “roll up” all the German forces holding the area.

The attack by 8 Indian Division on Mozzagrogna was initially successful but they were then driven back by a sharp counterattack. On 29th November, 6 Innisks with the support of 44 RTR, renewed the assault and successfully secured a firm base for the second part of the Corps plan. On 30th November, following a heavy artillery barrage, 2 LIR attacked towards Fossacesia with the County of London Yeomanry (CLY) in support and achieved their objectives by early afternoon with minimal levels of casualties. This advance was immediately followed up by 1 RIrF, who moved along the ridge with 46 RTR support, and were able to completely overcome all the German defensive positions in the area. By nightfall, 1 RIrF had progressed well beyond Fossacesia and 1 LIR were poised to enter Rocca San Giovanni on the road to San Vito.

The advance north towards the Moro River would continue in December.

Read a description of the Irish Brigade’s attack on Mozzagrogna and Fossacesia.

Read Captain Franklyn-Vaile’s letters home to his wife, Olive, during November 1943.

Read Captain Percy Hamilton’s personal memories of the Skins’ assault on San Salvo.

Read CQMS Edmund O’Sullivan’s memories of the crossing of the Sangro river and the attack on Fossacesia.


Key Dates:

3rd November: 6 Innisks join 36 Brigade in a successful assault on San Salvo.

29th November: 6 Innisks, with support from 44 RTR, establish a secure position on Li Colli, at Santa Maria.

30th November: 2 LIR successfully attack Fossacesia, with support from CLY, and 1 RIrF move forward with 46 RTR towards the Adriatic coast.


November 1943 Roll of Honour:

2nd November 1943 – Corporal Robert Thornton, London Irish Rifles.

2nd November 1943 – Rifleman James Hackett, London Irish Rifles.

3rd November 1943 – Lance Corporal Harry Jones, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier William Slack, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Lawrence Bishop, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Henry Camp, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier James Byrne, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Major George Crocker, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier William Harries, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Philip Stanley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Alfred Cooper, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Joseph Wild, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Peter Bain, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Rifleman Robert McKimm, London Irish Rifles.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier George Barnes, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Lieutenant Ernest Hewitt, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Thomas Jackson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Alexander Jeffers, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Emilyn Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Lance Sergeant Thomas Law, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Lance Corporal Andrew McVeigh, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

3rd November 1943 – Fusilier Albert Richardson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

4th November 1943 – Captain Charles Rea, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

4th November 1943 – Fusilier Charles Cooper, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

4th November 1943 – Fusilier Charles Nobbs, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

5th November 1943 – Fusilier Arthur Harrison, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

5th November 1943 – Rifleman Ronald Byard, London Irish Rifles.

6th November 1943 – Lance Sergeant John Reid, London Irish Rifles.

6th November 1943 – Fusilier Thomas Goggin, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

7th November 1943 – Rifleman Patrick Payne, London Irish Rifles.

12th November 1943 – Fusilier Thomas Hill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

12th November 1943 – Corporal Robert Walker, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

12th November 1943 – Rifleman Kenneth Cullern, London Irish Rifles.

16th November 1943 – Fusilier Frank Daly, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

20th November 1943 – Fusilier Leslie Young, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

26th November 1943 – Rifleman Declan Doheny, London Irish Rifles.

28th November 1943 – Fusilier Herbert Carey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th November 1943 – Fusilier Robert Samson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th November 1943 – Lieutenant Alex Smyth, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier John Roberts, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Corporal Leonard Broadley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Lance Corporal Joseph Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Leonard Frater, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Lieutenant Thomas Feirn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier John Brown, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Arthur Flewers, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Rifleman John Swift, London Irish Rifles.

29th November 1943 – Corporal William Fife, London Irish Rifles.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Albert Stallard, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier William Lindsay, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Lance Sergeant Albert Fawcett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Corporal Arthur Lawrence, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Walter Allen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Robert Mainwaring, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Ernest Lewis, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Reginald Petford, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Noel Church, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier John Finlan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Ernest Ashton, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Lance Corporal Thomas Crossley, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Raymond Danks, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Lance Corporal George Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Fusilier Frank Heppenstall, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Corporal William Nicholas, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th November 1943 – Sergeant John O’Neill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

30th November 1943 – Corporal Victor Stanton, London Irish Rifles.

30th November 1943 – Rifleman W Hall, London Irish Rifles.

30th November 1943 – Rifleman Wailliam King, London Irish Rifles.

30th November 1943 – Fusilier George Huntingdon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

30th November 1943 – Fusilier Robert Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


Links to the transcribed November 1943 war diaries.

38 (Irish) Brigade.

6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.



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