Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


News

Fusilier Edward Graham – From County Durham to Maletto in Sicily.

By Edmund O'Sullivan | August 14, 2017

We are absolutely honoured to confirm that a re-dedication ceremony for Fusilier Edward Graham will take place at Catania CWGC cemetery at 11am on Wednesday 4th October 2017. After years of exhaustive research undertaken by Fusilier Graham’s twin sons, Edward and Sydney, they recently learnt that the CWGC and the MoD have confirmed that the…

Read More

Major Colin Gibbs MC- lionhearted London Irish company commander

By Edmund O'Sullivan | March 8, 2017

Michael Gibbs and Charles Ward with Edmund and Richard O’Sullivan at the London Irish Rifles depot in Camberwell in March 2016 The Irish Brigade website was delighted to join together recently with Michael Gibbs and Charles Ward to remember the time when Michael’s father, Captain (later Major) Gibbs, witnessed the attestations of Charles and Edmund…

Read More

Sergeant Edward Charles Mayo MM: champion recruit and natural leader

By Edmund O'Sullivan | March 7, 2017

Edward (Eddie) Mayo, who worked at Ford in Dagenham before the Second World War, was conscripted into the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) on 18th October 1939 and quickly emerged as one of the the battalion’s star recruits. Eddie Mayo and Mary Gibbs on their wedding day During the extended period that the battalion…

Read More

The Irishmen who fought at Cassino

By Edmund O'Sullivan | March 7, 2017

More than 100,000 men from the island of Ireland served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War. When the 38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade was formed in early 1942, a significant number of the men serving within its three constituent infantry battalions were either Irish born or had direct ancestry connections to Ireland. Brigadier…

Read More

London Irishman Charles Ward remembers the events of 1939

By Edmund O'Sullivan | March 7, 2017

On 18 October 1939, three 20-year old men reported to Liverpool Street train station to respond to call up papers for them to join the British Army. They were met on the station concourse that morning by Captain Colin Gibbs, then Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR), who duly witnessed the attestation…

Read More

Sicily pilgrimage for Irish Brigade website

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

On the 71st anniversary of their father’s journey through Sicily, the Irish Brigade web site co founders, Edmund and Richard O’Sullivan recent visited the island to trace his war time route from Cassibile to Patti. They were absolutely delighted to have been joined on their trip by Duncan McNally and David Hamilton, whose own fathers, Major…

Read More

Sicilian campaign overview

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Looking towards Etna from Centuripe Brigadier Nelson Russell provided a succinct overview account of the Sicilian Campaign and how the Irish Brigade affected its outcome: “The British 8th Army was to land on the beaches on the east coast of the island, south of Syracuse, capture Syracuse, and so have a port; then drive the…

Read More

How the Irish Brigade crossed the Salso in 1943

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Following the capture of Centuripe, the Irish Brigade pressed forward but were hampered by craters in the road down to the Salso river. Due to these delays, plans were made to attack across the river on the afternoon of 4th August and, despite some opposition, a bridgehead was secured by 430pm. The view northwards from…

Read More

River Simeto

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Simeto river crossing. After the Salso crossing, the Irish Brigade again rapidly moved forward and the afternoon of 5th August saw them attacking across the Simeto river, where the far bank was heavily defended. In fact, that single day saw the highest number of deaths for the brigade throughout all their campaigns in Tunisia and…

Read More

Piedimonte Etneo

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

One of the highlights of the Irish Brigade web site co founders, Richard and Edmund O’Sullivan recent visit to Sicily, was their attendance at a commemorative ceremony and conference in Piedimonte Etneo on the north eastern slopes of Mount Etna. For 33 days, from 8th September to 11th October 1943, the people of Piedimonte Etneo…

Read More

Landings near Cassibile

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

At the end of July 1943, men of the Irish Brigade came ashore near Cassibile just to the south of Syracuse on the south east coast of Sicily. Brigadier Nelson Russell had arrived a few days before the main body of the Brigade and he recalled his journey from Tunisia: “A skeleton Brigade staff sailed…

Read More

Entering Centuripe

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The early morning of 3rd August saw the end of the fighting in Centuripe and Nelson Russell reviewed the outcome: “Centuripe was in our hands. It was a difficult operation in difficult country against a determined enemy. The chief credit was due to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who bore the brunt of the fighting and fought…

Read More

Scarifice and honour celebrated at Sicily’s CWGC Cemeteries

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

111 men from the Irish Brigade were killed during the Sicilian campaign during August 1943, with the vast majority of these men, 101, buried at Catania, three are at Syracuse and two in Tripoli where they had been evacuated. There are five other men commemorated at Cassino and named there on the Memorial Panels. During…

Read More

Centuripe 1943 – an eyewitness account

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Salvatore Biondi (second from right) with Duncan McNally (second left), David Hamilton (left)and Edmund O’Sullivan in Centuripe in 2014 The celebrated attacks by 78th Infantry Division, which included the Irish Brigade, on the Sicilian mountain top town of Centuripe on 2nd August 1943, was recently remembered by Salvatore Biondi, an eight year old at the…

Read More

After carnage around Etna, the Irish Brigade found heaven on Sicily’s beaches

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

A Sicilian beach 2014 Following the end of fighting, the Irish Brigade spent two weeks encamped between Randazzo and Maletto in an area which had been dubbed ‘Mortar Corner’, but by the month end, they had been able to travel to the sea front and spent time near Patti on Sicily’s north coast. The next…

Read More

The Irish Brigade’s epic attack at Centuripe

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Cliffs on the southern edge of Centuripe viewed from the south The attacks by 78th Division on Centuripe were initially thwarted but the Divisional Commander, General Evelegh, now called the Irish Brigade forward to continue the assault. While 2 LIR laid on a preliminary attack on three flanking hills to the west of Centuripe, the Faughs…

Read More

Irish Brigade advance to Randazzo in August 1943

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The area near to Maletto today From the 6 – 11 August, the Irish Brigade were able to take a much needed rest after advancing 25 miles and fighting three battles over the preceding five days. Other units of the 78th Division now took up the advance through the towns of Aderno and Bronte. On…

Read More

The Irish Brigade advance to Catenanuova in 1943

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

After leaving their concentration area near to Cassibile, the Irish Brigade travelled across country via Floridia, Palazzolo, Biccher, Vizzini, Mineo and then onto Albospino, west of Raddusa, where they laid up in an assembly area, before reaching the Catenanuova area on 31st July 1943 just as the two other brigades of 78th Division prepared to assault…

Read More

Rifleman Michael Foley- Irish veteran who died fighting in Italy

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Michael Foley in 1942 We have been recently contacted by the family of 7010933 Rifleman Michael Foley who served with the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) in Italy. He was married to Annie and came from Killann, County Wexford. According to the CWGC records, when he died on 11 January 1945, Michael Foley…

Read More

Remembering Rifleman James Murtagh MM

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Catania CWGC Cemetery In July/August 1943, two battalions of the London Irish Rifles were in action in Sicily, their 1st Battalion (1 LIR) with the 50th (Northumbria) Division fighting along the east coast of the island and the 2nd Battalion (2 LIR) with the Irish Brigade on the west side of Mount Etna. During the…

Read More

London Irish Piper Jeff Jeffrey remembers

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

We have been in recent contact with Jeff Jeffrey, who served with the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) in Italy and Austria from 1943 to 1946. Jeff, who now lives in Australia, joined the LIR Cadet Company at the age of 16 in 1941 when he was first given the opportunity to play…

Read More

The Irish Brigade in action on 19th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

During the night 18/19 April 1945, general activity continued over the whole front. On the extreme right, 1 RIrF moved forward on the east side of the railway and occupied the triangle of ground, bounded by waterways around Casa Biscie. This move secured for the Division a firm right flank beyond the railway. Further west,…

Read More

Major Sir Mervyn Davies, 1918 – 2015

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Lieutenant (David Herbert) Mervyn Davies joined the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) at Guelma in Algeria as a (Temporary) Captain on 14th June 1943, while the Battalion was resting after their exertions over the previous six months in Tunisia and about to embark on a round of renewed training in preparation for the…

Read More

The life and legacy of Major John E McNally MC

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Duncan McNally has kindly sent us further details about his father, Major JE McNally MC. We would like to thank Duncan, his mother Elisabeth, and his two sisters for their kind permission to add this story to the Irish Brigade website. “Like many in the Irish Brigade, Dad was not born an Irishman, and was…

Read More

London Irish Rifles at Spinello – 23rd October 1944

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Major Mervyn Davies MC and Lieutenant Nicholas Mosley MC After several abortive attempts to make a breakthrough at Monte Spaduro, on 23rd October 1944, the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR), were ordered to assault and occupy the strongpoint of Casa Spinello, which was a key position on the approach to the Spaduro ridge.…

Read More

Robert Hogan’s war in Tunisia and Sicily with the LIR and the Faughs

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The Irish Brigade web site is delighted to have been contacted by the son of Lieutenant Robert Hogan MM, who served with the London Irish Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers in North Africa and Italy from 1942 to 1945. Robert had received a field commission at the end of the Tunisian campaign before joining…

Read More

London Irish commanding officer Ion Goff remembered

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Lieutenant Colonel Ion Goff, who was killed by shellfire in the Liri valley on the afternoon of 15 May 1944 during the fourth battle of Cassino, was the only commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) to have been killed in action during its 30 months of campaigning in Tunisia and…

Read More

When John Profumo visited the Irish Brigade

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

John Profumo Following the autumn battles at the Gothic Line, the British Army in Italy had began to suffer acute manpower shortages and like other units, the three battalions of the Irish Brigade were reduced to three rifle companies at the start of November 1944. In early December, they were visited by two MPs, Richard…

Read More

The 70th jubilee of the Cassino battles in May 2014

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Click on the links below to read a full account of the visit during May 2014 by the Irish Brigade co-founder, Richard O’Sullivan, when he spent a week of emotional remembrance and evocative battlefield review in the Cassino and Anzio areas. ‘O’ Group, 15th May 1944 – Visiting the area where the 2nd Battalion, London…

Read More

Remembering the fallen at Cassino

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The London Irish Rifles/Royal Fusiliers group visited the CWGC Cemetery at Cassino for a commemorative ceremony in memory of the 4,000 men who are buried and more than 4,000 others, who are named on the twenty four memorial panels in the cemetery. The ceremony was held in full tribute with inspired pipe and bugler support…

Read More

Prince Harry at Cassino ceremony 2014

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

A party of London Irishmen and Royal Fusiliers attended a British Service of Remembrance to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Italian Campaign, which was held at Cassino CWGC Cemetery on 19th May 2014. In attendance was His Royal Highness, Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales and government officials from Commonwealth nations whose men served in…

Read More

Peace Bells at San Angelo

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

On the afternoon of 14th May 1944, the Irish Brigade started their crossing of the Gari river as they moved forward, along with the rest of 78th Infantry Division, to continue the attack on the German defensive positions across the Liri valley. The Irish Brigade’s crossing point was Congo Bridge, which had been the second…

Read More

O Group in the Liri Valley and the death of Colonel Goff in May 1944

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

A group of London Irishmen recently re-traced the movements of 2 LIR to the exact point where they had concentrated on the afternoon of 15th May 1944 as they prepared for an attack against German forces along the Gustav Line. At about 2pm that day, an artillery strike hit the battalion’s ‘O’ Group that was…

Read More

Preparing for the storm at Monte Trocchio in May 1944

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Monte Trocchio, at over 400 metres, proved an excellent viewing platform for the Allies in early 1944 after it had been first occupied by American forward units in the middle of January. During the Cassino campaign, it was used by Air Force spotters, nicknamed ‘Rover David’, that were able to call up sorties when requested…

Read More

Remembering the heroes of the Gari River

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The attack on the Gustav Line commenced at 11pm on 11th May 1944 with a massive artillery barrage along 20 miles of the defensive line from Monte Cassino to the coast. In the Liri Valley, the initial assaults across the Gari river were led by the British 4th Infantry Division to the south of Cassino…

Read More

Visit to Casa Sinagoga in the Liri valley

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Following the review of the area where 2 LIR had held their ‘O’ Group on the afternoon of 15th May 1944, the London Irish Rifles group followed the line of attack for the battalion on the morning of 16th May. After the death of their Commanding Officer, Ion Goff, the previous day, there was some…

Read More

Preparing for battle: the Irish Brigade at Caira in 1944

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Caira village is situated about two miles to the north of the town of Cassino, slightly hidden away on the lower slopes of Monte Castellone. Beyond the town is the winding road to Terelle, which leads on to higher slopes of Monte Cairo. At the end of March 1944, this area became the focal point…

Read More

Anzio

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

On 22nd January 1944, Allied Forces, led by two American and British infantry divisions, landed at the coastal port area of Anzio-Nettuno. The plan had been that this outflanking sea landing would force German forces to withdraw from their strongly held defensive positions on the Gari and Garigliano rivers. In fact, this did not materialise…

Read More

Abbey of Monte Cassino at peace still remembers the war

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

A journey to Cassino would not be complete without a visit to the abbey founded by St Benedict in AD 529. It has been destroyed four times in its history, the last being in 1944, before being completely rebuilt in the 1950s and it now again looks down with a commanding presence over the Liri…

Read More

Desmond Fay in the Irish Brigade

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017
Read More

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz