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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 – 26th April 1943

Brigade HQ – KELBINE.

0745 1 RIrF reported they could see their forward company on Ahmar, but they had no communication with it.

0945 Divisional Commander arrived at the Command Post and plans were made for the advance.

1235 1 RIrF reported all Bttn on Ahmar and ready to move forward when ordered.

1310 2 LIR reported coy on 620, two coys on Tanngoucha and remained still on Bettiour 5444.

1400 Brigade Command Post to 547448.

During the afternoon, it was difficult to get a picture of the Bttns’ progress, but it appeared that 1 RIrF, on the left, were having an unopposed progress, whereas 6 Innisks had met with MG fire from pt 416 (5948), which pinned the forward troops during daylight.

1630 78 Division Operational Instruction No 24 received.

1800 Brigade Command Post moved to area Tanngoucha 566454. 11 Brigade were to carry out patrols to link up on Brigade’s right flank and relieve 36 Brigade on Longstop. During the day, 1 RIrF had reached pt 443, but it was untenable and they had taken up positions around pt 484 (5849). 6 Innisks were in the gully west of pt 416.

PoWs taken 25/26 April and 26 April totalled 26.


1 RIrF – KEF EL TIOUR.

0745 C Coy, having left at first light, could be seen on Ahmar.

0900 Orders for advance of Bttn less one coy.

1000 Bttn advance from Butler’s Hill down the wadi to Ahmar. No opposition on the way.

1230 Bttn in position on Ahmar less one coy (D Coy). No opposition except a little sniping. Awaiting orders for further advance.

Fusilier William Alcock,  Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – GOULACH GULLY.

Intelligence from the higher command appreciates that the enemy has made a deep withdrawal; consequently the Bttn is ordered to push forward a Coy a first light to gain contact. B Coy is detailed for this role and moves off soon after first light. Later, Brigade Orders are received for the Bttn to advance with 1 RIrF on left along an axis of advance to the Tebourba Gap 15 miles ahead across extremely difficult mountainous country, making good a series of dominating features on route. Owing to a delay in getting forward the necessary mules, which had been sent back to Kelbine to water and feed, departure was delayed until 1400hrs. The Bttn moved into Goulach village and along the Goulach valley to pt 283, where it was subjected to shelling and MG fire from Kef El Senach, which caused 2 casualties. Meanwhile B Coy, having advanced over the Ragbet El Halfa without opposition, began climbing the extremely steep and rocky western slopes of Kef El Senach. Having gained the first slopes without opposition, it reached within 100 yards of the second ridge, where it was met by heavy MG fire and forced to withdraw to the 1st ridge. Since it was without support and the remainder of the Bttn was 2 miles away and under observation of the enemy in a narrow valley, it was ordered to remain there until dark and then rejoin the Bttn. Meanwhile, the Bttn having formed up in the valley behind Goulach village moved last at dusk and met B Coy in the valley.

Casualties suffered by B Coy during the day amounted to 3 ORs. The strength of the Bttn today is as follows:

Btttn HQ – 6 officers, 78 ORs;

A Coy – 3 officers, 33 ORs (one platoon);

B & D Coys – 3 officers, 50 ORs (two platoons);

C Coys – 2 officers, 41 ORs (two platoons);

S Coy – 4 officers, 77 ORs (Mortar and MG platoons);

B Echelon – 7 officers, 180 ORs incl personnel in charge of mule echelons, LOB personnel and prisoners.


2 LIR.

0900 1 RIrF and 6 Innisks move forward against slight enemy opposition.

London Irish Rifles to take over positions on Tanngoucha and Point 622.

1200 H Company on Tanngoucha, F Company on Point 622, E Company and Battalion HQ still on Bettiour.

1930 H Company and Battalion HQ move from Bettiour.

2130 Battalion HQ established at base of Tanngoucha 466453.


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