Irish Brigade

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

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News

Visit to Tunisia – Day 6

March 18, 2018 | 0

Sunday 18th March 2018. Today’s filming in Tunis took us to: Avenue Habib Bourguiba. Bay of Tunis. Carthage. Mohammad V Avenue. St George’s Anglican Church.

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Visit to Tunisia – Day 5

March 17, 2018 | 0

Saturday 17th March 2018. Today’s filming took us to: Sousse. Kairouan. Hammamet.

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Visit to Tunisia – Day 4

March 16, 2018 | 0

Friday 16th March 2018. Today’s filming took us to: Longstop Hill. Heidous. Jebel Bettiour Jebel Ang Kef el Tior. Tanngoucha. British Ambassador’s Residence in Tunis.  

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Visit to Tunisia – Day 3

March 15, 2018 | 0

Thursday 15th March 2018. Today’s filming took us to: Beja CWGC Cemetery. The Bridge at Beja. Jebel Mahdi.  

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Visit to Tunisia – Day 2

March 14, 2018 | 0

Wednesday 14th March 2018. Our filming today took us to: Stuka Farm/Ridge. Bou Arada. El Aroussa. Steamroller Farm. Medjez-el-Bab CWGC Cemetery.   

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Visit to Tunisia – Day 1

March 13, 2018 | 0

Tuesday 13th March 2018. Our filming today took us to: Goubellat. Grandstand Hill. Hills 286/279. Two Tree Hill.

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The Irish Brigade Song Book.

October 26, 2017 | 0

We have been sent a remarkable memento of the Irish Brigade’s time in Italy. During 1944, the Brigade published a book of songs that soon became a staple musical accompaniment to their relaxed periods out of the line. On St Patrick’s Day in March 1945, the Brigade HQ hosted a social occasion to which they…

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Royal Irish Fusilier, Edward Graham, found by his sons 74 years after his death

October 13, 2017 | 0

Royal Irish Fusilier Edward Graham’s grave was finally found by his twin sons last week, more than 74 years after he died in a German ambush near Maletto in August 1943. Edward and Sydney Graham attended the rededication ceremony for their father at Catania Commonwealth War Grave (CWGC) cemetery on 4th October 2017. Previously, the…

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

August 14, 2017 | 3

We are absolutely honoured to confirm that a re-dedication ceremony for Fusilier Edward Graham will take place at Catania CWGC cemetery 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 “Known Unto…

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Major Colin Gibbs MC- lionhearted London Irish company commander

March 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Sergeant Edward Charles Mayo MM: champion recruit and natural leader

March 7, 2017 | 0

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…

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The Irishmen who fought at Cassino

March 7, 2017 | 0

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…

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London Irishman Charles Ward remembers the events of 1939

March 7, 2017 | 0

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…

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Sicily pilgrimage for Irish Brigade website

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Sicilian campaign overview

February 8, 2017 | 0

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 enemy from the Catania Plain,…

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How the Irish Brigade crossed the Salso in 1943

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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River Simeto

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Piedimonte Etneo

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Landings near Cassibile

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Entering Centuripe

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Scarifice and honour celebrated at Sicily’s CWGC Cemeteries

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Centuripe 1943 – an eyewitness account

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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The Irish Brigade’s epic attack at Centuripe

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Irish Brigade advance to Randazzo in August 1943

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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The Irish Brigade advance to Catenanuova in 1943

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Rifleman Michael Foley- Irish veteran who died fighting in Italy

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Remembering Rifleman James Murtagh MM

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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London Irish Piper Jeff Jeffrey remembers

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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The Irish Brigade in action on 19th April 1945

February 8, 2017 | 0

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,…

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Major Sir Mervyn Davies, 1918 – 2015

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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The life and legacy of Major John E McNally MC

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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London Irish Rifles at Spinello – 23rd October 1944

February 8, 2017 | 2

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.…

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

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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London Irish commanding officer Ion Goff remembered

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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When John Profumo visited the Irish Brigade

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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The 70th jubilee of the Cassino battles in May 2014

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Remembering the fallen at Cassino

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Prince Harry at Cassino ceremony 2014

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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Peace Bells at San Angelo

February 8, 2017 | 0

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…

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