War Diaries – 11th to 15th April 1944

11th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Again, 2 LIR report considerable MT activity in Villa San Lucia direction.

Enemy movement and patrolling was heard on the brigade front. As a further deterrent to any tank threat, four SP guns moved into position in support of 6 Innisks.

Mortaring of forward companies of 6 Innisks during the day and general shelling of the remainder of brigade areas.

Very sharp concentration was put down on Brigade HQ at 0500hrs but caused no casualties.

1600 Day generally quiet but very heavy rain and thunderstorm broke over the area. Maintenance track for mules and jeeps in brigade area caved in slightly due to torrential rain at 838233. It was just passable for jeeps at the time but improved by REs before the maintenance convoys arrived.

1700 Heavy mortaring on 6 Innisks forward companies and Bttn HQ. 1 gunner OR killed, six OPs wounded.

Intentions during night is patrolling.

2100 Divisional Commander visits Brigade Commander at Brigade HQ. Belief outline of future operations explained.

1 RIrF.

1930 CO returned and resumed command.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0320 The road to the bttn, having been cleared of Jeeps, two SP guns came up to our area.

0425 The SP guns reported in position.

The sound of tracked vehicles was heard during the night on the far side of Phantom Ridge. The rest of the morning was quiet.

C Coy had a change of underclothing.

1435 Very heavy rain flooded all dug outs and all personnel got soaked.

1600 Track near Mortar Corner was reported to be partly washed away. Brigade, when informed, promised to send REs.

1645 Bttn HQ and left hand coy was shelled.

1700 A Coy suffered three slight casualties from enemy mortar bombs.

1700-1800 Mortar duels.

1800 The Officer in charge of REs reported that the road was now repaired.

2000 COs’ Orders were held.

2000 – 2359 Enemy showed signs of nervousness by various coloured flares and bursts of MG all along the front.

San Michele/San Pietro – The news from A and B Echelons was than OME’s inspection had taken place. The Jeep train made slow progress that night owing to rain and bad visibility.


0145 Patrols Leeds and Coventry in. NTR.

Pioneers report new track almost complete.

0410 Patrol Harrogate in. Report MT activity about 2200hrs on road leading to San Lucia.

0600 Sitrep to brigade.

Relief of F Coy carried out ok.

0830 Intentions night 11/12 April: Relieve F Coy, in reserve role with H Coy. Former to withdraw to area B Echelon on completion of relief. Carry out normal maintenance – build up reserves – clear up stores jettisoned on previous night – continue laying second minefield. Patrols – Recce patrols Sturgeon (2015-0015) and  Cod (0015-0445) – E Coy. One NCO and 3 ORs. Objective – 827246. Recce patrols Salmon (2030-0030) and Trout (0030-0430) – E Coy. One NCO and 3 ORs. Objective – 828238. Tasks – give warnings of enemy approach and provide information of enemy movement on their front.

Ambush patrol Shark (2030-0400) – G Coy. One officer and 9 ORs. Objective – 827235. Task – ambush any enemy approaching coy area.

1150 E Coy report Nebel observed firing from 814233 at 0030hrs.

1945 Harassing fire arranged for MT movement on San Lucia road about 2130-2200 hrs.

2010 Captain Hall and Lieut Craig report at Bttn HQ.

12th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Very little activity during the night and mostly on the 6 Innisks front. Perhaps it should, be noted that on this part of the brigade front, only a few hundred yards separate the two front lines and active movement and patrolling is continually observed and unavoidable.

There was a patrol clash at 828226 and one OR was lightly wounded and the 4.2 and 3” mortars fired on enemy positions early on in the night.

The day, itself, was much quieter and there was slight harassing fire on Caira and Brigade HQ area.

1700 2 LIR left forward company had 3 wounded from enemy mortaring. The day was overcast and threatened rain, but visibility was moderate.

Patrol intentions during the night: local standing patrols and protection of minefields.

2030 Col Rudniczy, second in command, 5 Kresowa Division visited Brigade Commander to recce brigade area.

1 RIrF.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


0045 Battle Patrol (Cockroach) returns and reported an engagement with enemy patrol at 832222. Own casualties were 1 wounded.

0135 D Coy patrol (Beetle) reported in after having a clash with enemy at Phantom House.

0425 B Coy patrol (Moth) returned, after seeing fire on Phantom House.

No contact was made with the enemy

During early hours of morning, tracked vehicles were heard in direction of Colle San Angelo.

1400 Enemy activity was seen by Phantom House. MGs and 3” mortars engaged. D Coy OP reported well covered and last round scored a direct hit on point where enemy were last seen.

On the whole, the afternoon was quiet.

D Coy personnel had a change of clothes.

1815 A Coy change over with D Coy. The changeover was completed by dark.

1945 CO visited forward coys.

2120 The bttn was visited by the DA and DMG.

2207-2330 3” mortar shoot was started by 832222.

2250 Enemy replied by mortaring our 3” mortar area.

2340 Patrol (Stag) returns, no incident but heard sounds of enemy patrol.

Left post of 2 LIR was taken over by one of our sections of the right hand coy.

The Jeeps and Mule train had a difficult journey to the bttn owing to the bad roads and a very dark night.

A TCP was established at Mortar Corner from this night.


0230 Relief of F Coy completed.

0415 Patrol Shark in. NTR.

0430 Patrol Cod reports MT movement on track 823239 – San Lucia. All other patrols NTR.

0830 Intentions night 12/13 April: Carry out normal maintenance and collection of stores jettisoned on previous mule runs. Continue laying minefield. Patrols – Ambush patrol Bull (2030-0400) – E Coy. One officer and 9 ORs. Objective – 828245. Task – Ambush enemy infiltrating between 2 LIR and 1 RIrF.

Recce patrols  Leopard (2015-2359) and Panther (0001-0500) – G Coy. One NCO and 3 ORs.Objective – 828238. Task – give warning of enemy approach. Ambush patrol Tiger (2030-0300) – one officer and Battle Patrol. Objective – 827235. Task – ambush enemy attempt approach left flank of bttn area.

1730 Sitrep to brigade. NTR.

2315 G Coy report own artillery put 2 or 3 rounds in their area.

13th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

2 LIR patrols heard MT movement in tracks leading north east from Villa San Lucia. Slight enemy mortaring of forward company 6 Innisks during night. Quiet night for 1 RIrF. Fairly heavy intermittent harassing fire of Caira and jeep tracks during night. The day was overcast and threatened rain. Intermittent shelling and mortaring of bttn positions, Brigade HQ and Caira during the day.

1515 Heavy shelling Bttn HQ 1 RIrF, which lasted until 1700hrs. 2 LIR had heavy mortaring about the same time and three men were wounded. 6 Innisks was heavily mortared as well at 1515hrs.

1630 Brigade HQ shelled – no damage or casualties. Intentions during night to continue usual patrolling and inter coy reliefs. Heavy rain during night and no moon made visibility almost nil. Maintenance convoys of mules and jeeps found difficulty in climbing the steep slopes in the intense dark.

2000 Colonel Rudniczy leaves for Divisional HQ.

1 RIrF.

2015 Artillery & 4.2” mortars on area from which enemy MG fire comes nightly.

2022 Repeat of above – No MG fire from area during night.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0010 A visit to the Bttn HQ was paid by Major Clarke and a Captain of the Sappers recce party.

0200–0520 Our mortars had many shoots at Knoll 833222.

0300 During one of the shoots, an explosion was seen by the right forward coy who believed it was an ammunition dump that had been hit.

0520 None enemy were seen carrying rations to a suspected cookhouse on Saddle. Our mortars put down 18 bombs on the area and OPs reported they were on the target.

It was a quiet morning. A Coy checked the rations brought up the previous night and found that whilst no food had arrived, they did not lack water as they had received twice their amount. The reason for this was that some mules had to be shot owing to injuries being received when they strayed into a minefield. This also caused panic to the rest of the mule train. Still the coy did not starve.

The cigarette situation in the bttn was very good. D Coy sent their NAAFI issue of cigarettes back to A Echelon. One blanket per man and most of the tools were bundled with the view to returning them at night to B Echelon.

0930 A Polish Colonel and a Staff Captain, accompanied by the Brigade Major, visited Bttn HQ. Plans for a proposed attack on Phantom Ridge were discussed.

1200-1750 A considerable number of mortar bombs fell in the bttn area. Our 3” and 4.2 mortars saw to it that the enemy was amply repaid. We suffered no casualties.

2200-2330 There were more mortar activity on both sides and flares and MG fire in 11 (British) Infantry Brigade area. Movement of MT in the direction of Villa San Lucia was also heard.

San Michele – During the day, Major Maxwell started a “fly blitz” at A Echelon. CQMS McQuaid was apparently in a merry mood, wishing that everybody was dead or “knocked off” soon so that he could put their kit in order.


0055 Patrol Leopard in. Reports shouting heard 823239 and half tracked vehicles heard leaving this location on two occasions between 2030 and 2359 moving towards San Lucia.

0355 Patrol Tiger in. Reports no enemy patrol activity but half tracked vehicles heard direction of San Lucia 1030-0145hrs. Enemy sniper fired three times from position 400 yards left front of patrol.

0520 Patrol Bull in. NTR.

0525 Patrol Panther in. Reports noise of mule carts and motor cycles throughout night.

0600 Sitrep to brigade. Enemy mortaring at 1700 hrs caused 3 wounded in left forward company.

0615 G Coy report mules missing.

0830 Intentions night 13/14 April: Carry out normal maintenance and collect stores jettisoned on previous nights. Continue laying minefield. Patrols – Recce patrols Plum (2030 -0045) and Apple (0100 – 0500) – E Coy. One NCO and 3 ORs. Objective – 827245. Task – give warning on enemy on right flank. Recce patrols Fish (2015 – 0015) and Paste (0030 – 0430) – G Coy. One NCO and 4 ORs. Objective – 828238. Task – give warning of enemy approach to centre of bttn area. Ambush patrol – Chips (2030 – 0300) – One officer and Battle Patrol. Objective – 827236. Task – ambush any enemy attempts to approach left flank of the bttn area.

1100 Two Polish officers and Brigade Major visited Bttn HQ and saw CO.

1501 Enemy mortars firing from 822235 area.

1525 Ten shells (3 duds) in area 829235.

2150 Lieut Colonel Goff returned to B Echelon. Major Horsfall arrived to take over command. Captain Grenell and Lieut Shillidy (Kens) also reported at Bttn HQ.

2350 Brigade line disconnected. Contract through 6 Innisks; Rear link W/T opened up.

14th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Again, MT movement was heard by patrols of 6 Innisks and 2 LIR. Main effort seemed to come from farm at 823239 and behind Colle San Angelo. It would appear that the enemy has constructed an MT track from Villa San Lucia up to this farm and also back to the San Angelo feature. Confirmation of this can be gained as it would entail a minor attack to penetrate the enemy’s forward positions.

1200 Heavy mortaring on 1 RIrF HQ area and Brigade HQ.

1300 Heavy shelling Brigade HQ area including air bursts.

1715 Heavy mortaring on 6 Innisks area 839234.

1800 Heavy shelling Brigade HQ area and gully at 850240 – ammunition dump set on fire.

1 RIrF.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0015 Patrol (Hare) returned with nothing to report.

0130–0230 A few mortar bombs fell in the bttn area and there was light activity from small arms, MGs and flares.

0545 Patrol (Hunt) reported in, having seen 2 men and being fired on by an enemy MG. Otherwise Nothing to Report.

0600 C Coy line which had been disconnected for two hours was reported through again.

0600 Patrol (Hound) reported in, having seen no enemy but recced a lying up area for the proposed attack.

All the coys reported a quiet day.

0930 There was a CO’s conference at Bttn HQ.

1000 The Brigade Major visited Bttn HQ.

1145 – 1200 Mortar bombs fell in the bttn area. D Coy reported 1 OR wounded.

1805 Dannert Wire Corner was shelled. This continued for some time.

1900 Smoke drifted up the valley into our area.

2210–2359 Enemy MGs fired tracer down the track leading to Bttn HQ and at our FDLs. Our 3” mortars replied to this fire.

Due to an ammunition dump which was flown up at Dannert wire Corner (this was the cause of the smoke seen earlier), there was a slight delay to Jeep and mule trains.


0130 H Coy reports 3 mules missing. Tracks slippery through rain. Brigade line now open. W/T closing down.

0300 Patrol Chips in. NTR.

Mine laying party (Pioneers) in. Unable to continue owing to rain.

0400 E Coy report 9 mules arriving, 7 missing.

0510 Patrol Fish in. Reports small enemy patrol passed their front at 2130 moving south to north. Noise heard in farm 823239. At 2300, three heavy trucks heard going toward Monte Caira.

Patrol Paste in. Reports noise and working parties until 0400 hrs left of farm 823239 at 300 yards.

0525 Patrols Plum and Apple in. Report MT on track going north from 823239 from 0130 to 0300.

0600 Sitrep to brigade.

1115 Intentions night 14/15 April: Effect daily maintenance and internal relief of left forward company. Continue laying minefield. Standing patrols – Carol (one officer and one section E Coy) – track 826244. Lewis (one section G Coy) – 826239. Talk (one section H Coy) – 825236. All patrol 2045 – 0530. Tasks – ambush and give warning of enemy ambush.

1730 Sitrep to brigade. Bttn HQ personnel interchanged.

1800 Enemy shelling area 843242 – 4. Ammo dump corner of track 843242 hit. No bttn reserve there.

2355 Right forward coy reports 3 mortars firing – bearing 290° magnetic from 830243.

15th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Intentions during night: usual patrolling. 2 LIR had three men wounded from mortaring at 0100hrs. Patrols made no contact during night. Intermittent harassing fire during night. 6 Innisks’ forward positions were harassed by MG fire during the night. Slight mortaring in bttn areas during the day. Visibility moderate during the day. Patrolling intentions during the night.

1 RIrF.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


0230 An ambush patrol to 830226 reported in, having heard movement close to Phantom House. Otherwise Nothing to Report.

0230-0410 There was enemy MG fire along our FDLs and mortar bombs fell in the Bttn HQ area.

0310 Recce patrol to 832222 returns, having discovered a standing patrol on reverse slope of the first Knoll.

0505-0510 Enemy MG fire was directed against the forward coys and in the direction of pt 593.

0505 The CO of the SP guns Major Weldon, 254 Battery visited Bttn HQ.

0515 3” mortar fire was directed on the second Knoll.

The CO left Bttn HQ to visit forward coys.

The morning was again comparatively quiet, which gave the coys the opportunity to rest and clean up.

1215 The left coy reported enemy shells bursting along their FDLs every ten minutes.

1530 A few mortar bombs exploded in the Bttn HQ area.

1800 A considerable amount of verbal rockets emanating from Bttn HQ to the Mortar Platoon who had been ranging in support of the night patrol. The cause for this was two 3” smoke bombs had descended on 5 Northamptons’ positions between second Knoll and pt 593.

No casualties suffered.

1900 The enemy’s reaction to our ranging on his positions was a considerable number of mortar bombs on our area.

Two intelligence personnel were sent to forward positions with a view to taking sound bearings on enemy transport.

1900 – 1915 The forward coys were mortared by enemy 5 cm and 8.1cms. Own 3” mortars replied.

1940 Bttn HQ was heavily mortared so a “Shamrock” was called for.

2000 The 4.2 mortars opened up on Massa Albernete when a heavy gun, reported to be in that area, opened up on our forward coys.

2000–2400 The rest of the night’s activity was confined to a few Verey lights along the front.

San Michele/San Pietro – A and B Echelon had a very quiet day.


0030 Lines to left forward and reserve coys disconnected.

0106 E Coy report Cpl Underwood wounded by mortar fire.

0130 Internal relief completed.

0555 Sitrep: All patrols in. NTR.

0740 Intentions night 15/16 April: Effect normal maintenance. Complete wiring of minefield with Dannert. Relief of reserve coy (G). Standing patrols – E Coy – 828245. F Coy – 825234. Both one section. 2300 – 0500. Battle patrol to area 824200. Task – location and elimination, if possible, of enemy mortar post in valley in that area. Time out – dusk, time in – completion of task.

1700 Sitrep to brigade.

1721 G Coy report twelve enemy bombs 835240 and 835242.

2030 Re leave to Bari, 5 ORs to go tomorrow. Two officers every fifth day.

2145 E Coy report position of enemy mortar between 825239 and 825242.

2315 Lines to right forward and reserve companies disconnected.