26th April

Brigade HQ – FORMICOLA (N1989).

All coys 1 RIrF relieved by 17 Polish Bttn after a certain amount of difficulty.

0330 Command passed 6 Lwow Brigade.

0415 Tail of column of 1 RIrF now past Caira village.

0440 Request for smoke in Rapido valley passed to division as coys of 1 RIrF will not be able to get across in daylight.

0900 Brigade Commander and Brigade Major arrive at Brigade HQ in Divisional concentration area.

Whole brigade concentrated in area Formicola (N1989).

Brigade HQ 207882,

6 Innisks HQ 195898, coys at 202898 and in area 208895.

2 LIR HQ 211878, coys at 203878, 202881, 205880, 208879.

1 RIrF HQ 19589, coys at 192887, 192886, 195885, 183888.

Troops under canvas in coy bivouac area.

A divisional training programme was issued on laying down the policy for future training of the division. The first four days in the concentration area to be devoted to interior economy and then a period of training covering  a period of ten days dealing with River Crossings, Village Fighting, Cooperation with tanks and two brigade attacks.


1 RIrF.

0140 C Coy relieved by a coy of 16 Polish Battalion and moved to new area, arriving about 0730 hrs.

0145 Support weapons of 17 Polish Battalion took over tasks of ours which were withdrawn.

0230 Reps of 17 Polish Battalion to all coys (less C).  Each presented with copy of local admin arrangements.

Enemy HF. Routine patrols.


6 Innisks – FORMICOLA.

0700 Reveille – The day was spent in resting and in admin checks. A bath house had been prepared by the Pioneer Platoon and was put to good use by the bttn. A canteen had been opened up in the village by the Church Army and everybody was surprised to find it was run by a young lady from home.

1000 Allocations were received for a cinema and ENSA show at Capua.

1800 The Band piped the Retreat. The kilts of the pipers caused quite a stir, among the local Italians. Some of the girls adopted the old Roman custom of throwing flowers.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0230 Bttn HQ main party, under command Lieut Seymour, left Bttn HQ area to proceed via mule track to the Inferno 891235 where bttn transport was waiting. Total bttn relief completed and coys withdrawn from forward area.

0405 CO and control group left Bttn HQ area.

0430 Bttn main party arrived at Inferno and proceeded to new area on transport.

0730 Bttn HQ, all coys and B Echelon now situated in area of Pontelatone.



27th April

Brigade HQ – FORMICOLA (N1989).

Interior economy. Increased allotment of leave are granted. Troops can go to Bari for 7 days or the Divisional Rest Camp at Maiori for 4 days. Allotments of mobile cinemas, seats for cinema and ENSA shows are available every day.

Canteens are set up in every bttn area for the benefit of the troops.


1 RIrF.

Enemy HF.

2320 Relief by 17 Polish Battalion starts.


6 Innisks – FORMICOLA.

The day was passed in a similar way as the previous day. There were the usual recreational parties to Capua. KD was issued to all personnel. The cooks had settled in by this time and were producing some very good meals.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

Rest period. NTR.



28th April

Brigade HQ – FORMICOLA (N1989).

Interior economy. Bath allotments and general reorganisation.

Preparations and recces for future training.


1 RIrF.

0145 A Coy relieved.

0300 B Coy relieved.

0320 D Coy relieved.

Much trouble from mule and Jeep blocks on march across valley.  Rear coys were not clear by daylight and were shelled.  D Coy had one officer (Lt JV Baker) slightly wounded (remained on duty) and two ORs wounded.

0800 Arrived new area Formicola 1989.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – FORMICOLA

0330 A telephone message was sent out to coys increasing the day leave to Naples from three to twelve per coy.

1000 The CO commenced an inspection of all coy areas, during the afternoon an ENSA show was held in the coy areas.

1800 Once again, the Band played Retreat. In the evening, the officers held a party in the Mess which was attended by the Brigade Commander.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 Bttn leave parties proceed to Army and Divisional Rest Camps.

1300 Leave parties to cinema and ENSA theatre at Capua.

1700 CO’s conference – Coy commanders and seconds in command and platoon representatives of HQ Coy.

2130 Draft of 50 reinforcements for bttn.



29th April

Brigade HQ – FORMICOLA (N1989).

Interior economy. Bath allotments and recreation.

Preparations and recces for future training.


1 RIrF.

Admin.


6 Innisks – FORMICOLA

This day was observed as a Sunday owing to the fact that training was to commence on the following day.

0930 RC service was held in the local church and the C of E service was held on the football ground near S Coy area.

After the services, the CO addressed the bttn and reviewed the past month’s events and gave an outline of the training to come. The most favourable view was taken when he promised that training would not interfere with leave parties.

1800 The Brigade Pipes Band piped the Retreat on the football field watched by Divisional and Brigade Commanders and many of the officers and men of the bttn. The turnout was very good and the performance excellent.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1330 CO’s lecture to all WOs and Sergeants.

1800 Massed bands of brigade played ceremonial retreat.



30th April

Brigade HQ – FORMICOLA (N1989).

Interior economy for 2 LIR and 1 RIrF.

6 Innisks carry out preliminary river crossing exercise across the River Volturno in area P1980.


1 RIrF.

Admin.


6 Innisks – FORMICOLA.

0530 Reveille.

0730 The bttn em-bused at the MT lines for the first of a series of exercises. Today’s exercise was to practise river crossings on the River Volturno.

0900 The bttn em-bused at the Watermanship Training Ground on the river where RE officers and men gave demonstrations. The period devoted to knot tying would have brought tears to the eyes of any boy scouts at the way the men became entangled in the ropes.

1400 All men of the bttn crossed the river in assault boats. This, on the whole, was very well executed but did not compare with the University Boat Race.

1520 The bttn em-bused and arrived back in the area at 1630hrs.


2 LIR – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1700 CO’s conference on street fighting exercise for following day.