16th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Quiet night for 2 LIR and 1 RIrF. Patrol from 6 Innisks fired on from 828228 and later grenade from enemy positions at 828227. Three men are missing, believed wounded. Slight mortaring during day. Patrolling intentions during night and 6 Innisks effecting relief of left coy.

1 RIrF.

0600 One OR (C Coy) killed by stray MG bullet at extreme range.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Frederick Williamson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


A loud explosion was heard in area of second bottle neck. This was the only point of interest.

0400 Massa Mananetta returned, having heard the sound of enemy wiring party in area of second bottle neck

No contact was made.

0530 Patrol to Phantom Ridge returned, having been engaged by enemy patrol in the saddle. They avoided a patrol clash and went onto Phantom House, from the right of which they were engaged by small arms and grenades, from positions at 828228. Our patrol suffered four casualties, only one of which returned to our lines.

CO visited forward coys at “Stand To”.

1010 There was an exchange of mortar fire, caused by enemy mortaring Bttn HQ. On the whole, it was another quiet day for the bttn.

1500-1600 A “Shamrock” was called for, when the enemy again put mortar bombs in Bttn HQ area.

1700-2200 There were several mortar exchanges, no casualties were caused.

2230-2359 There was considerable activity of MGs and flares along our front. Bttn HQ was mortared heavily and another “Shamrock” was called for.

San Michele/San Pietro – As usual, the activities of A and B Echelons were confined to bringing up the rations. A Echelon reported enemy shells fell in their area. No casualties were suffered. We also learnt that some Italian muleteers arrived at A Echelon under the influence of ‘vino’ and made themselves a considerable nuisance on the mule train up to the bttn.

Major Maxwell (2.i.c.) arrived at Bttn HQ during the day.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Bernard Ashfield, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal John Marzorati, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0040 Relief of two platoons completed.

0046 All single lines in working order.

0100 Right hand platoon H Coy report enemy in house at 823239.

0230 Battle patrol in. Report enemy mortar at approximately 824242.

0550 Sitrep to brigade.

0830 Intentions night 16/17 April: Completion of minefield. Effect normal maintenance. 3” mortar tasks on information gained in last 48hrs. Standing patrols – Ash (E Coy) 829246, Maple (F Coy) 827241, Leaf (H Coy) 826238. All patrols – one section. Out – 2045. In – Ash 0500, Maple and Leaf 0430.

1720 Sitrep.

2238 Twelve enemy mortar bombs on right forward company.

17th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G 825246).

Enemy patrol threw grenades and fired at right coy 1 RIrF during the night. No casualties to either side and enemy fire dispersed by MG fire. Caps left behind found to be that of mountain troops. Heavy shelling of 6 Innisks’ area during early part of the night. Three men killed. Counter mortar targets engaged. Day comparatively quiet. Slight shelling and mortaring.

2100 Fairly consistent shelling of Brigade HQ area and tracks leading out of Caira.

One man wounded from shelling. 28 Brigade inform this HQ that a party of 20 Germans was seen moving down the slopes of hill from pt 708 (G8326). Nothing resulted from this information. Normal routine patrols and listening posts during the night. Brigade Commander discussions future training with Commanders 1 RIrF and 6 Innisks and second in command 2 LIR. Schemes and future programmes are discussed with a view to training in cooperation with tanks and also river crossings.

1 RIrF.

0315 Enemy patrol approached right forward section B Coy.  Were heard coming, but opened fire and threw grenades before coming close enough for effective action by own SA fire returned.  Enemy retired and was pursued with 4.2” mortar & artillery fire.

0600 German FS cap found in area of patrol engagement.  Indicating mountain troops is probably IV Mountain Battalion which is thought to be on Monte Cairo.

1900 One OR wounded by enemy shell.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0025 – 0210 Enemy MGs fired on our positions and shells fell in area of 4.2” mortars. We replied effectively with our weapons. At 0145, there was a disorganisation of B Coy mules.

0215 A Coy patrol reported in. No contact was made, but sounds were heard along enemy FDLS.

0345 – 0430 More bursts of MG fire along FDLs.

0510 The remains of three ORs were found near Signals Exchange, who belong to D Coy’s mule party and had been caught by the mortaring of Bttn HQ at 2230 – 2359 hrs the previous night.

0610 D Coy reported the finding of an Italian muleteer on the track leading to the left coy.

0930 A section of the enemy was seen by A Coy. Eventually, our 3” mortars were brought down upon the position.

OC A Coy had difficulty with his phone and asked Signals to check his line.

The rest of the day was exceedingly quiet.

2035–2100 Bttn HQ and Snakeshead were heavily shelled, also Mortar Corner and a 3” ammunition dump was hit.

One OR was killed.

2105 It was discovered that line communications with Brigade and 2 LIR had been severed by shelling.

2110 A Coy reports gun firing on 180° magnetic.

2115 C Coy reported suspected mortar location, which had been firing on our position.

Our 4.2 and 3” mortars opened up in retaliation.

2115–2359 There were several bursts of MG fire near Phantom House. C Coy reported having suffered one casualty during the mortaring at 2115 hrs.

Major Maxwell assumed command of the bttn in the evening as the CO left for a four day leave. The mule train and Jeep train were delayed at Mortar Corner by the ammunition explosion.

San Michele/San Pietro – A and B Echelons had another quiet day.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Sidney Hollinshead, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Albert Howard, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Eric Heaton, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Francis France, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


0535 Patrol Ash in. NTR.

0537 Other patrols. NTR.

0550 Sitrep. Minefield completed except for wiring.

0830 Intentions night 17/18 April: Effect normal maintenance. Complete wiring of minefield. Standing patrols – Thrush (E Coy) 828244, Robin (F Coy) 828241, Cuckoo (H Coy) 827237. All patrols – one section. In – E Coy 0500, F and H 0430. Verey light green.

1700 Sitrep to brigade.

2015 Second in command at 1 RIrF HQ.

2040 E Coy report enemy shelling

2050-2100 Heavy enemy shelling south of bttn area. Ammo dump in valley below hit.

2200 Captain Cockburn reported 4 men slightly wounded by enemy shelling on way back to mule point.

CO arrived at Bttn HQ. Second in command returned to B Echelon.

18th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G825246).

A normal night. Patrols heard movement in the Colle San Angelo area (G8222) and in the gully leading down to Massa Albanete (G8321). No contact was made by any patrol. Some enemy movement brought down fire from our own mortars during the early part of the night. Day generally quiet.

2045 Divisional Commander visits Brigade Commander to discuss question of relief in this sector and policy of future training on return to rest area.

2100 Colonel Nowina Sawicki commander of 6 Lwow Brigade (5 Kresowa Division) and two of is staff officers arrive at Brigade HQ. They are to spend 24 hours and recce Brigade sector preparatory to taking over this sector commencing night 24/25 April. Normal routine patrolling and listening posts to take place during the night.

2130 Divisional Commander leaves.

1 RIrF.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0001 Patrol (Wilfred) returned and reported movement at area 832224.

0004 Patrol (Square) returned, having seen a section of enemy 100 yards north of Phantom House.

The night on the whole was quiet.

0430 Patrol (Pip) returned with Nothing to Report.

0600 A dud shell from the enemy shoot last night was found – calibre 88mm.

It was quiet day for the coys.

1230 Our mortars ranged on the lower slopes of pt593.

1655 One man was seen in that area at 1655 and was engaged by them.

1900 Direct hits were obtained by our 3” mortars and 6 enemy seen in area 834278.

2015 Movement was seen near Phantom House and the sound of vehicles moving on a bearing of 273° magnetic.

2130-2250 More bearings were taken on gun flashes and sound during this period. MT was heard moving estimated distance 300 yards away and some shouting was heard.

2310 White and red verey lights were seen at the foot of pt 593.


0045 5th day reserve ration arrived.

0530 All patrols NTR.

0600 Sitrep to brigade.

0830 Intention night 18/19 April: Carry out relief of right forward coy by present reserve coy. Continue normal maintenance and build up of reserves. Standing patrol – Eggs (E Coy) 828244, Bacon (F Coy) 828239, Mash (H Coy) 827236. All patrols – one section. Out – 2045. In – E and F 0445, H 0500. Light signals – succession of green very lights indicates enemy attacks in strength. Signals for forward coys unchanged (2 Reds = I am being attacked). Intercoy reliefs will be carried out by successive platoons in order – right forward, left forward, centre. Each platoon relief will be completed before newt stars. Code word Gravy to be sent by both coys when relief completed

1531 H Coy report concentration of vehicles and tanks – bearing 175° probably west of San Angelo.

1720 Sitrep to brigade.

1955 Nine enemy shells on left forward coy from 822241.

19th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G825246).

Patrols heard enemy movement during the night and vehicles in the Villa San Lucia area. No contact was made. Slight mortaring and shelling of 1 RIrF and track at 834242 during the night. Enemy movement seen engaged by our mortars.

1300 Slight enemy mortaring of forward localities of 2 LIR. Heavy gun firing during early morning made large crater on track at G843242. Information just received and REs to fill in before arrival of maintenance convoys.

1715 Shelling of Caira with heavy guns probably 150 mm.

Normal patrolling to take place during the night.

2000 Colonel Nowina Sawicki and his staff leave Brigade HQ after recce-ing area and Brigade sector.

1 RIrF.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


Early in the morning, the CO had arrived at A Echelon and inspected the area before going on leave. This echelon was taken by surprise at 1845 hours when a barrage of empty shells landed amongst the personnel whilst having their tea. This was not appreciated as there were several near misses. This had repercussions on the Jeep train which left half an hour late. It had been decided that the bttn would have between 3–7 days reserve rations.

0040 Patrol (Hyde) returned and reported having seen movement of a possible enemy standing patrol in the area of 832224 and having heard stone positions being built in area at the foot of pt 593. No contact was made.

0115-0200 Several more flash bearings, which, as usual, were passed to the RA who made good use of them.

0445 The Polish Colonel and his Staff Captain left to pass the day in D Coy’s OP.

0510 The Patrol (Jekyl) returned and reported slight movement in area 827229.

It was a comparatively quiet day for the bttn.

1200 Snipers of C Coy engaged some movement in area 834218.

1755 Enemy shells fall in D Coy’s area.

1920 A direct hit was obtained when our 3” mortars fired on two men in a dug out at 833216 and there was much reason to believe that casualties had been inflicted as there was considerable movement afterwards.

Owing to three of our Jeeps being off the road, four Jeeps and trailers were supplied by the RASC. The reserve rations in our forward areas were made up this night to 7 days.

2000 D Coy was mortared and succeeded in obtaining another mortar bearing.

2245 The OP (829233) reported a flash bearing of 3 guns, which were firing to the rear of the bttn area.

Patrol (Tiger) returned and reported considerable talking and movement in area 832220. No contact was made.

2315 Our 3” mortars fired 20 bombs at pt593.

2325 Patrol (Lion) returned and reported movement in area 826228 but no contact was made.

2335–2359 A flare was dropped by a plan on a bearing of 280° bearing from pt 706.

Our mortars were in action replying to enemy mortar bombs in our area.


0240 F Coy report relief completed.

0355 E Coy report relief completed.

0455 Patrol Bacon in. Report noise, probably digging, left front.

0530 Patrol Mash in. Also report probable digging in valley 2200 hrs.

0610 Patrol Eggs in. Report MG fire right front.

0830 Intentions  night 19/20 April: Relieve E Coy, in reserve, by G Coy. E Coy to withdraw to B Echelon on completion of relief. Carry out normal maintenance and build up reserve rations. Standing patrols – Daffodil and Daisy (F Coy) and Buttercup (H Coy). Objectives, timings, tasks and strengths all as for patrols Eggs, Bacon and Mash.

1230 F Coy report 12 mortar bombs approximately 821237 – bearing 260° from 830243.

1410 H Coy report 4 enemy shells – sound bearing 265° G.

1730 Sitrep to brigade.

1740 Enemy shelling approximately 20 rounds. Two guns possibly at 805218 and 825244.

1830 H Coy report 3 casualties from mortar fire.

2205 CO at 3” Mortar HQ – proceeding to F Coy.

2215 Lieut Seymour and RSM report at Bttn HQ.

62663 Captain RW Boyd posted to bttn from 6 Innisks.

20th April

Brigade HQ – CAIRA (G825246).

Patrols during the night heard the customary enemy movement but no contact was made. OP on Monte Castellone reported that during the night the enemy fire a red verey from Monastery Hill when our transport was heard on Route Six and it is repeated on Monte Caira (G7925) after which three guns fire. Slight mortaring and shelling during the night.

0600 Heavy shelling right coy 2 LIR on Monte Castellone.

1000 Commander 6 Lwow Brigade (5 Kresowa Division) visits Brigade Commander.

1500 Mediums shell concentration of tanks believed to be seen behind San Angelo village at 840162. Results of the shoot not known due to rather bad visibility.

The Polish Brigade Commander discusses the ground enemy positions and defences on the left of the Brigade sector with the Brigade Commander. Enemy strengths, minefields etc, in fact all available information was given to him to assist him in the planning of future operations.

2000 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade OO No 33 issued.

Relief of brigade by 6 Lwow Brigade to commence night 24/25 April. Full details of relief in operation order. If troops, after being relieved, are unable to pass Caira village by 0530hrs, then they must lie up in the gullies behind bttn positions until the next night unless, of course, there is a good mist or the smoke is successful. Smoke will be put down in the Rapido Valley, only from generators and will not be fired by 25 pounders. This is a precautionary measure for the enemy will realise that a relief is taking place if 25 pounder smoke is fired from the valley, the procedure having been adopted once too often before. Normal patrolling and listening posts during the night.

2100 COs of the three bttns of 6 Lwow Brigade arrive at Bttn HQs to recce various bttn areas. To spend one day and depart night 21 April.

1 RIrF.

1830 Received 38 Brigade No 33 (relief of Brigade and move to area Capua).

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


0030 Forty rounds were fired by our own mortars upon enemy mortars in area San Angelo.

0044 Enemy artillery shelled Bttn HQ. Our own artillery was informed and replied.

0630 The enemy again shelled Bttn HQ.

0930 A Company asked for 3” mortar fire to reply to enemy mortar bombs in their area.

1308 There were heavy mortaring of D Coy area. 3”, 4.2 and artillery opened up in reply and all the known enemy positions received their allotment of bombs and shells.

1515 Twenty 3” mortars were fired at 3 men seen moving up by the forward coys and direct hits were seen in the area.

1630-1930 Our mortars had several shoots and an enemy section seen in area 833218 was scattered.

2145 More than the usual movement of transport was heard in the area of Villa San Lucia.

2150 There was a considerable number of different coloured verey lights used by the enemy along the front.

2327 An enemy mule train was heard in area 824223, evidently they had Italian muleteers as Italian mule jargon was easily distinguished. This was engaged by our mortars as soon as it was considered clear of our patrol area.

San Michele – There was slight shelling of A Echelon during the day but no casualties were caused. The Jeeps and mules left at the usual time, accompanied by Lieut Myles, who went up to B Coy, of which is now 2.i.c.

The Polish gunners, who had arrived in A Echelon, spent the day digging gun positions.


0110 G Coy report relief completed.

0115 F Coy report shelling of right hand platoon.

0120 Signals report H Coy line disconnected.

0130 H Coy report relief completed.

0300 H Coy line reported ok.

0545 Sitrep to brigade. Patrols – Buttercup heard enemy patrol 825236 moving south (0120 hrs). No contact. Daisy NTR. Daffodil reported enemy MG about 400 yards way – bearing 360° from 828244.

0830 Intentions night 20/21 April: Carry out normal maintenance. Standing patrols Hasty (F Coy) 828244, Havoc (G Coy) 828239, Hotspur (H Coy) 827236. All patrols – one section. Time out – 2045, time in – F & G Coys 0445 hrs, H Coy 0500 hrs. Tasks – give warning of enemy attempt to approach bttn area.

0930 Left forward platoon H Coy report that, at night, when transport moves down road 967246 – 8632332, a red verey light if fired from Monastery Hill and is answered by red verey light from Monte Cairo (7925), 3 guns then open up – 2 on bearing 233° M and 1 bearing 275° M. Both bearings taken from 828236. RA and brigade informed.

1630 Tanks reported at 840162 registered by our medium artillery. Poor visibility made results ineffective.

1650 F Coy report enemy mortaring to their left from 818242.

2230 F Coy report 2 heavy guns firing from Monte Cairo 250° and 260° from 829241.