War Diaries – 2nd August 1943


0100 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

0700 1 RIrF informed that Centuripe (6591) still in enemy hands and that 8 A & SH was at 646918; left of A & SH being secure. 1 RIrF ordered to leave main road at 645905 and to make for track 642909 and attack village via pt 711, 646918.

0920 Code name list of Herman Goering Division found in area 627867 forwarded to division.

0930 6 Innisks reported enemy in area of cemetery (649918). Leading coy held up at pt 640 and now considering right flank.

78 Divisional Commander announced that today’s task for 38 Brigade was to consolidate high ground areas pt 688 – pt 718 – pt 702 as for a start for tomorrow.

1015 By W/T intercept, information was received that 5 Northamptons were at 660900.

1020 6 Innisks informed that a platoon of heavy mortars supporting 11 Brigade troops (5 Northamptons) would probably be able to assist.

1040 2 LIR reported pt 708 (6539120 and pt 709 and the cemetery area were enemy strong points.

1050 Division confirmed that W/T silence could be broken by 38 Brigade.

1630 38 Brigade Support Group reported that a platoon of heavy mortars under command 11 Brigade have fired on targets in Centuripe.

1730 Sitrep to Division.

1800 2 LIR Zero.

1930 One Squadron 56 Recce Regiment and one Squadron RTR under command 38 Brigade forthwith. Persoanl message from Army Commander received.

2000 1 RIrF Zero.

2100 Division informed of enemy egg grenades with instantaneous fuses left near rd Catenanuova – Centuripe. All Brigade Group informed.

Read the brigade’s account here.

1 RIrF.

0730 Bttn marched up road towards Centuripe.

0810 Leading platoon commanded by Lt Richards came under fire from 560 in village. CO decided to take Bttn round the left flank via the track west of the road to 711. Half way up the track CO found 8 A & SH Bttn HQ, where he was told that the 36 Brigade were all in the area, also the East Surreys, who had not attacked the town the previous evening as was expected. After a brief appreciation of the situation, it was decided that with so many Bttns in the same area, a coordinated was essential and the Brigadier was asked to come up. Bttn was deployed into what cover there was available. During the next few hours, several casualties were inflicted on the enemy by very accurate sniping and excellent shooting of mortars by Lt Broadbent.

1500 Brigadier arrived to coordinate plan. 6 Innisks were to attack the town from the right, while 2 LIR were to take some dominating features on the left thus enabling us to take 711 and get into the town from the east.

1600 CO orders.

By 1945, no success signal had come from 2 LIR and as time was getting short if the attack was to be carried out in daylight, it was decided to carry on.

2000 Zero.

2050 D Coy reported they were on their first objective but not their second. While attacking the second, the Coy Commander Captain W Hanna was killed.

Sgt Brandon’s platoon had had some very close fighting on the reverse slope of the first objective before they finally took it.

Lt OPB Jewell was left in command of the coy and having reassembled the coy on the first objective put in a further attack. From this point on, communication with that coy was lost.

2230 CO ordered C Coy under Captain Clarke to send a fighting patrol to 711 to see if D Coy was there. If so, to occupy it with D Coy. Success signal was two green verey lights.

Fusilier Oswald Griffiths, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alfred Butler, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Captain William Hanna, Royal Irish Fusiliers attached from RUR.

6 Innisks – CATENANUOVA.

0400 Orders received for Irish Brigade to advance to Centuripe, which was believed to have been captured by 36 Brigade. A warning order had been issued to coys.

0530 Bttn, less S Coy, started to advance by mule track to Centuripe, an advance of 6000 yards, with a climb of over 2000 feet. Coys moved in light order without small packs and hard rations carried, wrapped in gas capes. The Faughs were advancing along the main road on our left.

0845 C Coy in the lead came under mortar and rifle fire from the left flank and took up a position on pt 640 (653907), where they were also fired on from the ridge on the south east of the town. Bttn HQ was immediately established in the rear and the remaining coys closed under cover while recces were carried out.

Immediately in front of C Coy lay pt 708 which dominated our position.

1100 After artillery fire had been directed by 10 Field Battery under command on to enemy positions, D Coy, followed by B Coy, were ordered to move on to the ridge on the right flank and to seize the farm on the top of pt 664 (663907), which was the ground vital to the enemy’s defence. Unfortunately, the opposition from here was strong and progress was held up at a distance of 300 yards. Meanwhile, the heat on the southern slopes of the hills had become intense and because of this and the shortage of water (although wells were fortunately found in the area) and the steepness of the mountain, it was decided by the CO to await the relative cool of the afternoon before recommencing operations.

1600 D Coy were fired on by units of another brigade, which was attacking another feature on their right rear. After a little time, contact was established.

1630 Bttn HQ moved up to pt 640 and C Coy with artillery support moved forward to and scaled a 100 foot cliff to pt 708 and succeeded in gaining a foothold in the town. A Coy followed but owing to a mischance, artillery support was not available and they were fired on from both flanks.

After reorganisation, A Coy passed through C Coy into the town and encountered strong enemy resistance including a tank. House to house fighting at close quarters ensued during which Major Crocker and Lieut Morrow were wounded.

C Coy was then ordered to move east and occupy pt 709 (658914), which controls the ridge to the east of the town. This was done but the enemy got between A & C Coys and the situation became confused during the remaining hours of daylight.

1720 Zero hour for the attack by D Coy, supported by B Coy on the farm at pt 664. Over the most difficult country, and in the face of heavy fire, Lieut McClinton succeeded in gaining the objective with his platoon but was driven off b a well organised immediate counter attack. A further attack was launched by B Coy after dark, but it was then found that the enemy had evacuated the position. During the operations, Lt Ferris (D) and Lt Harpur (B) were wounded.

Read the battalion’s account here.

Corporal William Williams, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Patrick Hanley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Robert Bates, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Stanley Walsh, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Haydn Dackins, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Michael Beer, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


Lance Corporal John McCrorie, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

1200 Warning order: Brigade to attack and capture Centuripe and the surrounding features.

1 RIrF and 6 Inniskillings to capture the town.

2 LIR to capture Pts 661, 704 and 703 (639) towards the rear of the town.

1300 Battalion moves to forming up position behind forward companies of 6 RWK on Pts 610 and 668 (6291), Italy, Sheet 269-1 NW, 1/25000.

1700 Commanding Officer’s orders for the attack: F Company to capture Pt 661, G Company to capture Pt 704. H Company to Pt 703. E Company in reserve as carrying company. Battalion HQ to be established on Pt 488.

1800 F and G Companies moved forward into the attack and after very little opposition were established on their objectives by 2000 hrs.

2000 H Company moved forward to attack pt 703 and after clearing small pockets of resistance in the way of snipers and machine gun posts were in position by 2100 hrs.

2100 Battalion locations were as follows;

F Company pt 661 632921. G Company Pt 704 637920. E Company Pt 644920.

E Company and Battalion HQ Pt 688 632915.

Rifleman Bernard Radford, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Norman Wildgoose, London Irish Rifles.