Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


News

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…

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20th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

At 0145 hours, 2 LF began to move across and very soon afterwards, whilst the area was still under fire from enemy mortars, the sappers completed a bulldozed crossing of the twin canals and tanks began to pass across. The operation of moving into and through this small bridgehead proved more complicated than had been…

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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…

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16th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

By the evening of 16th April, solid achievements emerged. 11 Brigade, with the Queen’s Bays, and ‘Crocodiles and ‘Flails’ from 51 Royal Tanks under command, had passed through 167 Brigade, with 1 East Surreys leading on the right and 5 Northamptons on the left. 2 Lancashire Fusiliers followed in Brigade reserve. The advance had been…

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11th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

By dawn on April 11th, everything was ready, ‘Felix’ bridge, which had been constructed by 237 Field Company RE, was open for traffic up to class 40 and exceeded all expectations in its ability to clear traffic. As a result, the guns of 138 Field Regiment were able to be fed into the stream of…

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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…

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London Irish Rifles at Spinello – 23rd October 1944

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

  Major Mervyn Davies and Lieutenant Nicholas Mosley 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. During…

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Christmas 1943 magazine for the 78th Division

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Marion Spelman wrote to us recently and told us that she had found two magazines from Christmas 1943 and 1944 titled, “The Link” (‘By the lads for the lads’) and that her Dad, John Green, had been one of the co-editors John served with the Royal Corps of Signals, supporting 78th Division, including the Irish Brigade, during…

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Preparing for the push to the Po on 24 April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The plan for the day was as follows: The Brigade would pass through the bridgehead with as little delay as possible and, with the Inniskillings leading, would seize the village of Saletta. This was chosen as the first Brigade objective because the small village of Tamara between Fossalta and Saletta, had been occupied during the…

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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…

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15th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The breaking of the Argenta Gap. The focal point of interest was now the narrow strip of land known as the Argenta Gap. Its tactical importance can be seen from a glance at the map. Briefly, it was as follows: The enemy’s defence south of the Po ran from the coast into the mountains, south of…

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Fusilier Edward Graham From County Durham to Maletto in Sicily

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2011

The detail below has been kindly sent to us by the son of Fusilier Graham. Edward Graham was born on 18th July 1912 in the mining village of Chopwell, County Durham, England. He was the only son of Sarah Ann Graham and came from a mining family: his grandfather, uncles and cousins all being engaged…

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11th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

By dawn on April 11th, everything was ready, ‘Felix’ bridge, which had been constructed by 237 Field Company RE, was open for traffic up to class 40 and exceeded all expectations in its ability to clear traffic. As a result, the guns of 138 Field Regiment were able to be fed into the stream of…

Read More

20th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

At 0145 hours, 2 LF began to move across and very soon afterwards, whilst the area was still under fire from enemy mortars, the sappers completed a bulldozed crossing of the twin canals and tanks began to pass across. The operation of moving into and through this small bridgehead proved more complicated than had been…

Read More

Christmas 1943 magazine for the 78th Division

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

Marion Spelman wrote to us recently and told us that she had found two magazines from Christmas 1943 and 1944 titled, “The Link” (‘By the lads for the lads’) and that her Dad, John Green, had been one of the co-editors John served with the Royal Corps of Signals, supporting 78th Division, including the Irish Brigade, during…

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16th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

By the evening of 16th April, solid achievements emerged. 11 Brigade, with the Queen’s Bays, and ‘Crocodiles and ‘Flails’ from 51 Royal Tanks under command, had passed through 167 Brigade, with 1 East Surreys leading on the right and 5 Northamptons on the left. 2 Lancashire Fusiliers followed in Brigade reserve. The advance had been…

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Remembering Major c

By Edmund O'Sullivan | May 8, 2014

Following the successful assault on the Pytchley Line at Sinagoga, 1 RIrF were brought up to continue the Irish Brigade’s forward progress and at 730am on 17th May 1944, a further artillery barrage presaged the Faughs’ attack with the objective of reaching high ground near Massa Cerro (Fernie Line), which would then allow them to…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Irishmen who fought at Cassino

By Edmund O'Sullivan | March 7, 2017

  It is estimated that over 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…

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16th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

By the evening of 16th April, solid achievements emerged. 11 Brigade, with the Queen’s Bays, and ‘Crocodiles and ‘Flails’ from 51 Royal Tanks under command, had passed through 167 Brigade, with 1 East Surreys leading on the right and 5 Northamptons on the left. 2 Lancashire Fusiliers followed in Brigade reserve. The advance had been…

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23rd April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The morning of April 23rd showed us little major change on our own front, with the Division now closed up to the line of the Po di Valano and the Diversivo di Volano round the Fossalta pocket. 5 Northamptons had a firm bridgehead over the river and the sappers began work on the bridge site…

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19th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

During the night 18/19 April, 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, at…

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12th April 1945

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

The Breakout from the Santerno bridgehead. During the night of 11/12 April, the “form” on the Corps front was beginning to crystallise. The 8th Indian Division had elements of five battalions of 17 and 21 Indian Infantry Brigades over the Santerno and the bridgehead could be said to be firm, although small. No bridges were…

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Mervyn Davies remembers

By Edmund O'Sullivan | July 8, 2012

Sir Mervyn Davies, a retired High Court judge, spoke this week about his experiences during the period 1943 to 1945 as a company commander with 2 London Irish Rifles (2 LIR). Sir Mervyn, who lives with his wife Zita in Lincoln’s Inn in central London, served with the battalion in Tunisia, Sicily and mainland Italy…

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17th April 1945-preparing to break through the Argenta gap

By Edmund O'Sullivan | February 8, 2017

At first light on the morning of the 17th, the Surreys were ordered to move one company to protect the left flank of the Lancashire Fusiliers bridgehead. After some determined resistance had been overcome this company succeeded in establishing itself in the north east outskirts of Argenta. 5 Northamptons, meanwhile, was holding a line on…

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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…

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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…

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