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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 – 7th April 1943

Brigade HQ.

0100 Command Post was set up at 350376.

0350 Divisional Artillery programme commenced.

0540 2 Hamps reported Kachbia captured.

0600 6 Innisks were on their objective.

0640 1 RIrF were released from Divisional reserve.

0650 Commander with CRA left Artillery Group left Command Post to recce with Commander 1 RIrF.

0700 78 Division ordered 16 DLI to be moved up.

0710 Commander 16 DLI left Command Post to move his Bttn.

0900 1 RIrF moved forward.

1015 Army Commander visited Command Post and was given sitrrep by Brigade Commander.

1045 LO from 10 Brigade gave information of the “Chinese Attack” staged 2230 6 April in Hunt’s Gap area. There was no enemy reaction and our fighting patrols had no contact.

1225 It was deciedd to move Command Post.

1240 Divisional Commander visited the CP and discussed the situation with the Brigade Commander.

1355 Brigade Commander told 1 RIrF the importance of getting on with the attack and Divisional plan depended on protection of left flank being established.

1515 1 RIrF had taken most of north west of Mahdi.

1600 Pt 437 captured.

1700 Command left for new CP in gully 386392.

1800 Vehicles left for new CP.

Relief of 6 Innisks by 16 DLI commenced. This was completed during the night.

1930 78 Division message was received ordering intensive patrolling night 7/8 April.

2030 Sitrep sent to 78 Division.

2330 On other parts of the front, the day had been successful and information was sent to Bttns in message form.

The brigade’s account here.


1 RIrF.

Battalions attacked Mahdi.

1000 Bttn moved off with D Coy leading. A certain amount of shelling on the way up. No casualties. 1 mule party had considerable difficulty. One anti personnel minefield was encountered and a detour made round it.

1130 Arrived Innisks, who were on first bump of Mahdi and prepared to attack main feature.

1230 Orders for attack.

1300 Attack started. D Coy on right. C Coy on left. Attack took place along the east slope of the Mahdi. The two leading coys met very little opposition, a few Bosche gave themselves up and small groups were seen running down the gullies. They were engaged by our artillery.

1400 Leading troops on objective. Numbers of Bosche were seen running away in the plain, and a party of Bosche was seen advancing up Dr Bed Wadi. FOO brought down some very effective fire. Pretty heavy shelling and mortaring developed during the afternoon and small groups of Bosche had still to be mopped up. Bttns consolidated on reverse slops of Mahdi.

2000 Bttns dug in a position.

Captain CA Pierce, Lieut WJ Chapman, Lieut WDS Smith wounded.

Fusilier Albert Heath, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Sidney Milton, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Harry Rice, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Kerr, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant James Fraser, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Walter Gibson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Samuel Megarity, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Frank Ball, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

0400 Zero. A Coy on right, D Coy on left. Bttn HQ centre rear. B Coy carrying tools, reserve coy D Coy to close and follow Bttn at 0430hrs.

Artillery barrage 2-20-2 and then left from 2 to 2 and 50. Filed medium and heavies were used.

Owing to late start from assembly area, Bttn was rushed at start line and went straight over.

0515 C Coy gained their objective with very little resistance, A Coy held up by MMG. CO went forward to support company and spotted MG post on reverse slopes. He directed the bren gunner to the target. The gunner was unable to follow his directions so CO called for the bren gun himself. Before the bren gun arrived, Lt-Col Allen looked up to keep the gun under observation and was shot down through the head. Major Bunch took over temporary command of the Bttn.

0630 Enemy mortar fire became heavy causing casualties to all Coys. Position was taken by 1000hrs despite several half hearted counter attacks, but A Coy was pinned to the ground by MMG fire from their front. 30 prisoners from 2 from 334/AR were taken.

Transports on our right and rear flanks seemed to be meeting with success and enemy were seen running from farm houses and points of cover. Especially from O’Connor farm 436415 when Churchill tanks approached from the west.

1100 R group 1 RIrF arrived with object of going through Bttn position and taking pt437 422452.

1330 Major J McCann arrived from Battle replacements to assume command.

1400 1 RIrF went through Bttn position.

1630 Reinforcements from 16 DLI arrived to take over Bttn position.

2030 Takeover by 16 DLI complete. Bttn marched back to area Plateau Farm J387393, arriving about midnight.

During the attack, the mules proved to be of immense value as country was difficult and supplies could not have been brought up by other means.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Allen, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached from RUR.

Fusilier James McCarthy, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant Wilfred Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Joseph Hunt, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Clarence Wootton, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Albert Tinman, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Leslie Gidney, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ronald Clough, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant Francis Ford, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Kenneth Davis, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Gower, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Trimble, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Mathew Coffey, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Evans, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant Herbert Owen, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Joseph Robinson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Edward Pickford, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

Lieutenant TA O’Connor (RUR) and Lieutenant WBB Glasgow (RUR) joined battalion.


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