Irish Brigade

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

October 1943

At the start of October 1943, the Irish Brigade had arrived in Barletta expecting a period of low intensity activity before they might be ordered to go into action.

While the 8th Army sent their armoured forces overland, a Commando force had been able to take over the town of Termoli and were then joined there by units of 78 Division. With the initial news of the landings being positive, the brigade headed out to sea on the morning of 5th October, only to arrive that night at Termoli in the midst of a major German counter attack on the bridgehead. As the three battalions arrived in the harbour and deposited the men of the brigade onto the quayside, they were subjected to heavy shell fire, and it was later confirmed that 16th Panzer Division, who had recently arrived the area,were preparing to drive the attacking forces back out to sea.

Despite this unpleasant surprise, the brigade were immediately able to join the defence of the bridgehead perimeter in support of 36 Brigade and elements of 11 Brigade, and on the morning of 6th October attacked northwards with 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF in the vanguard and supported by tank units of the Canadian Three Rivers Regiment. In support, 2 LIR were able to gain ground on the right hand side of the brigade’s successful advance and by the end of the day, the whole bridgehead area was secure.

Due to this near setback at Termoli, the Army Command ordered a consolidation period before further onward movement, and only allowed a single battalion move by 2 LIR to occupy the ridge of Petaciatto on the night of 19th/20th October. Following this successful manoeuvre, the brigade continued probing patrolling activity before moving across the Trigno river into a small bridgehead area north of the river, which they held for several days despite its exposed position

After several days of preparation, the Irish Brigade was ordered to attack the strongly held hilltop town of San Salvo, which was two miles to the north of the Trigno. Despite Brigadier Russell’s request for a postponement due to the adverse weather conditions, the attack went in as planned on the night of 27th/28th October. In parallel, 2 Lancashire Fusiliers attacked the railway station near to the coast.

One of the most difficult days for the Irish Brigade ensued as the attack on San Salvo was thwarted by strong German defensive action. The CO of the Faughs, Lt-Col Beauchamp Butler, and the second in command of 2 LIR, Major Arthur (Kevin) O’Connor, were both killed as well as 44 others from the brigade.

The end of October saw both 1 RIrF and 2 LIR being withdrawn from their front line positions for much needed rest and to reorganise, while 6 Innisks joined up with other units of 78 Division in expectation of a further attack on San Salvo.

Read a full account of the Irish Brigade’s actions at Termoli.

A map showing the area of the Faughs’ attack on San Salvo.

Read Captain Franklyn-Vaile’s letters home to his wife during October 1943.

Read Captain Percy Hamilton’s memories of landing at Termoli and the crossing of the Trigno.

Read CQMS Edmund O’Sullivan’s memories of his journey from Termoil to the Trigno.

 


Key Dates:

5th/6th October: Brigade arrives in Termoli. Major HEN Bredin joins 1 RIrF as Second-in-Command.

6th October: Attack to secure Termoli bridgehead.

18th/19th October: 2 LIR captures Petacciato ridge.

27th/28th October: Unsuccessful attack on San Salvo, Lt-Col Butler CO of 1 RIrF is killed.

28th October: Major J Dunnill takes over command of 1 RIrF.


October 1943 Roll of Honour:

5th October 1943 – Rifleman Eric Mitchell, London Irish Rifles.

5th October 1943 – Rifleman Arthur Groome, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman Oliver Whitham, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman Graham Fenn, London Irish Rifles, attached from Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Thomas Farrow, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier William Timmins, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier William Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman James Kelly, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman Ivor Morgan, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Corporal Edward Murphy, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman Stanley Peers, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman John Wilson, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Rifleman William Jenkins, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Arthur Kinch, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Michael Keogh, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Corporal Arthur Villiers, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Percy Pitt, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Corporal William Merryfield, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Henry Beardmore, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Corporal Ronald Dean, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier James Dicker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier John Jenkinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Leonard Twiss, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Corporal James Percival, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier George Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Alfred Parker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Arthur Bedford, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th October 1943 – 2/Lieutenant Stanley White, London Irish Rifles.

6th October 1943 – Fusilier Moffat McCormack, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

8th October 1943 – Fusilier John Jones, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

10th October 1943 – Lance Corporal Frederick Tinsley, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

11th October 1943 – Fusilier Patrick O’Regan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

12th October 1943 – Fusilier Thomas Rourke, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

15th October 1943 – Rifleman George Freshwater, London Irish Rifles.

15th October 1943 – Rifleman Basil Belmar, London Irish Rifles.

17th October 1943 – Lance Corporal Frank Clinch, London Irish Rifles.

23rd October 1943 – Lance Corporal Martin Byrne, London Irish Rifles.

23rd October 1943 – Corporal Frank Hare, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier Harry Slinger, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier David Owen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier Clifford Bass, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Sergeant Percy Allison, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier John Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier Lewis Brown, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd October 1943 – Fusilier James Bill, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

26th October 1943 – Fusilier Anthony Addis, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

26th October 1943 – Fusilier Henry Cussell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

26th October 1943 – Rifleman Walter Donnelly, London Irish Rifles.

26th October 1943 – Corporal Thomas Meadows, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Leslie Broadbridge, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier John Orr, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Lieutenant Michael Marmorstein, London Irish Rifles.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Edward Lightburn, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier John Williams, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Corporal Leonard Brown, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier, George Walls Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier John Plant, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Corporal Sidney Cooke, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Kevin Curran, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Lance Sergeant Albert Kidd, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Charles Warren, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Joseph Johnston, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Corporal John Kelly, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – WO II John Keir, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Lance Sergeant Baldwin Lloyd, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Lieutenant Colonel Beauchamp Butler DSO, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Lieutenant John Glennie, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Major Patrick Proctor, Royal Irish Fusiliers, attached from Royal Ulster Rifles.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Leonard Stone, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Percy Childs, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Sergeant William Jackson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Fusilier Mathew Shuttleworth, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

27th October 1943 – Sergeant Alfred Smith, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Fusilier John Allen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Norman Sharp, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Herbert Ryan, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Christopher Clarke, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Corporal Sidney Tye, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Corporal George Evans, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Alfred Glass, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman James Johnston, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman James King, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Patrick McCauley, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Bernard Wignall, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Fusilier Albert Cockayne, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Corporal Henry Pritchard, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman G Gallop, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Major Arthur Kevin O’Connor, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Reginald Thompson, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Lance Corporal Cecil Rowley, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Rifleman Desmond Delaney, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Corporal Frederick Webster, London Irish Rifles.

28th October 1943 – Fusilier William James, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Sergeant Leslie Farbrother, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Major William Dunn MC, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

28th October 1943 – Corporal Henry Johnson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

29th October 1943 – Lieutenant Hugh Hutchison, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

29th October 1943 – Lance Corporal William Baker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

30th October 1943 – Fusilier Frank Oldham, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

30th October 1943 – Rifleman Frederick Anscombe, London Irish Rifles.

30th October 1943 – Fusilier James Henderson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

31st October 1943 – Fusilier Peter Awcock, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

31st October 1943 – Lance Sergeant Forbes Gilberg, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


Links to the transcribed October 1943 war diaries.

38 (irish) Brigade.

6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.


Links to the original October 1943 war diaries.

38 (Irish) Brigade.

6 Royal Innsikilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.



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