May 1943

At the start of May 1943, the Irish Brigade continued their pursuit of retreating German forces, before being withdrawn on 4th May for a short rest period near to Medjez-el-Bab. The final attack towards Tunis commenced on the morning of 6th May, with the brigade, along with the rest of 78th Division, being held in reserve as a firm base for the advancing troops. Two infantry divisions, the British 4th, and Indian 4th, and two armoured divisions, the British 6th and 7th, led this final push towards the Tunisian capital.

On 8th May, the Irish Brigade became the first marching troops to enter Tunis, and by early evening, the brigade completed its advance to the south of the city with the only obstructions encountered during the day being caused by the large, welcoming crowds.

For the next few days, the brigade took part in a variety of duties including supporting the transfer of some of the tens of thousands of captured German and Italian forces to caged compounds.

On 20th May, selected members of the Irish Brigade had the honour, accompanied by their Pipes, of joining the Victory Parade through the streets of Tunis, with Generals Eisenhower, Alexander, Giraud and Patton among those in attendance.

By the end of the month, all three battalions of the brigade were transferred back to Guelma in Algeria for a much deserved rest, and to prepare for future operations, most likely, it was thought, somewhere in southern Europe.

Read 2 LIR’s account of their triumphant entry into Tunis.

You can read Edmund O’Sullivan account of the Irish Brigade’s entry into Tunis here.

Key Dates:

8th May – The Irish Brigade enter Tunis.

20th May  First Army Victory Parade in Tunis.

27th to 29th May – All three battalions. along with Brigade HQ, transferred to Guelma.

May 1943 Roll of Honour:

Link to photographs from CWGC Cemeteries.


1st May 1943 – Company Sergeant Major Frederick Fincham, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6th May 1943 – Rifleman Frederick Herbert, London Irish Rifles.

6th May 1943 – Rifleman Charles Smart, London Irish Rifles.

8th May 1943 – Sergeant Frank McAleer DCM, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

13th May 1943 – Corporal William Stewart, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

13th May 1943 – Captain Maurice Thornton, Royal Fusiliers attached to London Irish Rifles.

13th May 1943 – Lieutenant Michael O’Gorman, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

14th May 1943 –Lance Corporal J H Neil Moores, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

23rd May 1943 – PSM Daniel O’Brien, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

May 1943 War Diaries:

38 (Irish) Brigade.

6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

1 Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 London Irish Rifles.

Day by Day.

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