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Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 22nd April 1943

Brigade HQ – CHAOUACH.

A Special Order of the Day by the Army Group Commander and one by the Army Commander were received and passed on to Bttns.

A letter stating Intelligence requirements was issued to Bttns.

The day was quiet except for some shelling (0520-1600) of pt 491 and the road below it, which started when marching personnel of Brigade HQ attempted to advance. Lt R Doumic (4 RTT)was slightly wounded and one OR hit.

This day, a warning was received that air OPs in Taylorcraft would be operated by moonlight.

1700 Brigade Major and Brigade IO moved to command post 538439. Marching personnel followed up after dark. Rear brigade moved to Kelbine (5345).

Attack 22/23 April. See summary.

LOs were sent to 6 Innisks and 2 LIR to obtain first hand news of the battle and report by 0530hrs.

2015 2 LIR attack Heidous.

2040 Heidous covered in mist and smoke. Enemy SA fire and DF coming down.

2100 6 Innisks attacked Tanngoucha.

2110 2 LIR report fight continues.

2125 DF in front of Tanngoucha but no SA fire yet.

2210 2 LIR side little activity. Plenty on Tanngoucha.

2225 6 Innisks having trouble with MG fire from pt 622.

2255 Fighting continues in Heidous.

2315 Considerable MG fire from pt 622 and pt 620. Out of touch with forward coys (6 Innisks).

2345 2 LIR report situation not cleared up and comms bad.

2355 Innisks still held up by 5 MGs on Tanngoucha.


1 RIrF – KEF EL TIOUR.

A quiet day. CO gives orders and explains policy of 1st Army in the coming attack. Details of this is in the attached Appendix.

2105 D Coy attacked rocky ridge and pt 622. A Company moved into D Company’s old positions. D Company was met with very heavy machine gun fire from very well camouflaged positions, which were impossible to get at. There was no communication except by runner to the company and information was therefore scanty. It appears that they held up before they reached the top but Lieut GF Sillem and six men managed to get there. Under very heavy MG fire they managed to inflict several casualties on the enemy with grenades. The company was forced to withdraw just before daylight. A lot of enemy MG fire came from the flanks. Major JH Coldwell-Horsfall was wounded by a grenade in this attack and Lieut D Sutherland was wounded.

Fusilier William Kellett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant Joseph Hobbs, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Thomas Hesketh, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – DJEBEL ANG.

0900 O Group Conference. Plan for attack tonight on Tanngoucha is as follows: B left, D right will attack Tanngoucha under cover of creeping barrage of 78 Division artillery barrage. S/L track running south from pt 622. Bttn HQ will follow B and D. A and C Coys in reserve with probable role of clearing south east and exploiting north. By daylight, the Bttn will be dug in facing north and be prepared to go forward to El Halfa 5746, by which time 2 LIR will have taken Heidous 5544 and have cleared enemy for about 1 /2 mile to east of it.

The RIrF on the north will have cleared high spurs 300 yards out of pt 622 and mopped up Bergerine 5546.

Bttn is allotted 105 mules. These are divided into F1, F2 and A Echelons.

1530 CO attends conference of COs and Brigadier at HQ 2 LIR.

1700 Final coordinating conference of Coy Commanders.

2100 Zero for Brigade attack on position Tanngoucha, pt 622, Butler’s Hill.

Bttn objective – Tanngoucha.

Bttn attacked with two coys forward. D right, B left. Both coys got onto their objective under an artillery barrage, but D Coy, on reaching the rocky outcrop, was unable to dislodge the enemy concealed in caves and crevices, and became pinned down under heavy fire at short range. On the left, the RIrF failed to clean up pt 622; consequently B Coy was exposed to heavy fire from both flanks.

Lance Corporal Samuel Millard, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Clarence Horsfield, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Henry Vann, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Ronald Graham, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Addie Poole, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier James Irwin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

0030 Patrols of 1 and 3 from E and H companies reccce area and approach to Heidous.

1400 Commanding officers O Group for attack on Heidous and Sandy Ridge. 1st Phase – F Company right.

1400 G Company right to clear village and wadis and area NE. 2nd Phase – E & H Companies to clear Sandy Ridge.

1420 Enemy shell area near Bettiour.

1830 Enemy air burst shells over Bettiour.

1945 Artillery begin barrage on Heidous, Sandy Ridge, Tanngoucha, Pt 622 and Longstop preparatory to large scale attack by 78 Division.

Read the battalion’s account.

Rifleman Thomas Ross, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal Wilfred Palmer, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Bertie Watkins, London Irish Rifles.

Lance Corporal Frederick McDonald, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal John Hamilton, London Irish Rifles.

Lance Corporal Arthur Doherty, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Richard Linihan, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Walter Pasby, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Robert Mannall, London Irish Rifles.


 

 

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