11th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

This was another cloudy day and there was no air activity. Much information of the fighting at Medjez-el-Bab (J5734) was collected from reports of Major Maxwell to 6 Armoured Division and W/T intercepts of 1 Derbyshire Yeomanry.

0850 Brigade Commander and IO visited Divisional HQ, 6 Innisks position area J3314, and reported attack impossible for tanks, but that infantry might infiltrate on left.


1 RIrF – BOUGIE.

0800 The ship dropped anchor in the small harbour at Bougie.

1030 Disembarkation started.

1300 All troops had disembarked and transport was being offloaded. The disembarkation was carried out by relays of ALCs and MLCs. The ship has gone aground.

1400 The bttn busy straightening things up in No 3 Transit Camp. A party was despatched to the docks to assist in disembarking vehicles.


 6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

Carrier Platoon went out soon after first light to recce road to Medjez and returns at 1300hrs and reports no enemy in Medjez. Enemy since suspected on either side of road Medjez to Goubellat.

Brigadier and Brigade IO called during the morning.

Weather still showery which at least kept the dive bombers away.

1630 C Coy proceed to spend six days patrolling No Man’s Land and to report situation of enemy.

Lt McKenna assumes appointment of QM in place of Lt Carson.

2100 Liaison Officer arrives from Division, and ordered one section of infantry in 15 cwt to report to the French battalion in Testour for the purposes of liaison and shortening the L of C of Maxwell’s party.

Died on this day:

Lance Corporal Richard Clutterbuck, 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

Remainder of F Company, 1 squadron of tanks, 1 troop of 25 pounders, 2 Bofors under command of Major Nicholson (of) 25 Lancers, moved off to patrol in Pont du Fahs area.

Two sections of 16 Platoon on standing patrol in Le Krib area.

17 Platoon moved to area 273 991 to standing patrol to protect gunners.

Died on this day:

Rifleman Charles Brady, 2 London Irish Rifles.



12th December

1 RIrF – BOUGIE.

Disembarkation of vehicles continued and men not so employed engaged in acclimatisation training.


6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

0930 CO and IO and Captain Rowlette went into Testour to visit the section there. Found them comfortably settled in and on good terms with the French.

1115 CO and IO walk out to see B Coy who are in a more exposed position that the other two coys. Most of the men were drying their blankets etc in the sun.

1745 Section in Testour reported that the French there had two German prisoners dressed in civilian clothes.

2040 Divisional LO and ordered carriers to patrol Rd Medjez to Testour and to contact Guards Brigade at Medjez owing to enemy infantry infiltration across road Medjez to Oued Zarga.

2230 Carriers passed Bttn HQ on way to Testour.

2300 News anxiously awaited in vain for C Coy.


2 LIR.

First report of F Company. 2 accidental casualties. 1 fatal.



13th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

Patrols of G Coy 2 LIR recced passes through mountains from positions J3506 to Testour and El Aroussa. The route to El Aroussa was unsuitable for all vehicles; that to Testour was suitable for tanks in all weathers and 4 wheeled vehicles in dry.


6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

0810 Information received from Carriers that patrols had been sent through Medjez and south to Guards Brigade and no enemy had been seen.

0830 Warned of danger of parachute landings.

0830 Administrative conference at Bttn HQ.

0930 2 i/c went forward and recced Bttn alternative position. CO is told to order an Arab to go to Tunis but says that his job is not that of a spy, even though he is the only Arabic speaker in 5 Corps.

1000 FGCM on Corporal Black for drunkenness.

1300 News at last from Maxwell that his force had been heavily machine gunned and bombed on the previous day but C Coy itself had not suffered any casualties. His patrols had been sent out to locate the enemy.

1755 Message from Carriers stating no enemy ground activity had been encountered but plenty of enemy air activity.

Bttn HQ mess indulges in the luxury of eggs for tea at the expense of their precious cigarette ration. Opinion is divided as to the wisdom of the PNCs un-consulted decision.

Pioneer platoon have now finished road for transport in harbouring area and are now to set about an underground Bttn HQ.

Beautifully fine sunny day


 2 LIR.

18 Platoon moved into divisional reserve.



14th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

The day was fine but there was no enemy air activity except after dark when a force of bombers passed overhead going west.

1140 Orders were received that one coy 6 Innisks should form part of a force of all arms to be held at Testour for an attack, if need be, on enemy threatening or capturing Medjez-el-Bab.

On this day, Brigade Commander, with Commanders 2 LIR, 152 Field Regiment and 72 A/Tk Regiment, recced defensive positions for two bttns south of Teboursouk . This position might have to be occupied to provide a pivot of manoeuvre for 26 Armoured Brigade counter attack south from Teboursouk in case of enemy armoured thrust towards Le Kef. It was considered vital to prevent the enemy from occupying the heights and thus dominating the valley to the west.


6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

0900 CO visits the gun lines of C Battery 152 Field Regiment RA who are in support of us. He goes to see the local Sheikh named Abdul Huq. He and the IO exchange greetings and the CO obtains information that is sent back to Brigade.

1200 Wireless silence is broken and information is received that one coy is to be at 1/2 hr notice to move wef 1215 hrs. D Company is warned and Captain Rowlette goes immediately to 26 Armoured Brigade for a conference.

1215 A and B Coys warned that D Coy will be moving.

1300 B Coy send section to Testour to relieve the section provided by D Coy.

1815 D Company proceed forward as part of Combat Group consisting of 16/5 Lancers less 1 squadron, 1 Battery 72 A/T Regiment less 2 troops. 1 Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry less 2 troops and commanded by OC 16/5 Lancers.

1930 No 8 Platoon who are guarding the battery in support fire at light on hillside which started to twinkle when enemy planes were overhead.

A Company moved across road and took up positions held by D Coy. So we now have one coy on each side of the road in very strong positions but there is no depth.

2030 The last of the Combat Group passed Bttn HQ. It is thought the Group in harbouring this side of Testour is ready to strike at enemy attack on Medjez-el-Bab either from the west or the east.

2045 CO, 2 i/c and Adjutant sit in the moonlight with a bottle of gin flavoured by the olives presented by the Sheikh Abdul Haq.

No news has been received from Maxwell for 48 hours.

Lt Hanna, who was sent to Bone on 12th for NAAFI supplies has not yet returned.

Brigadier wants name of officer for Divisional Camp Commandant. Spencer’s name submitted.


2 LIR.

18 Platoon moved from divisional reserve.



15th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

The weather was fine all day but there was no air activity in the Brigade areas. Brigade Commander inspected the bttn position recced at Aine Tounga (J3718) by 2 i/c 6 Innisks. Support of Battery Artillery and 2 troops A/Tk had been allowed for this.  Position might have to be occupied to prevent an enemy thrust via Testour against Teboursouk.


1 RIrF – BOUGIE.

Disembarkation of vehicles and their tactical reloading completed less 18 M/Cs which were damaged by sea water in transit. These were now worked on by base w/shop REME. Six were fit for the road to date. Acclimatisation training continued, while kit etc to be left at the base was sorted and stacked. The ORs left for 2nd Echelon.


6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

Quiet morning. 2 i/c goes out with Brigadier to complete a recce for a bttn position.

1400 Lt Hanna returns from Bone having done over 500 miles and brings back truck full of NAAFI items worth about £230 including nearly 100 cigarettes per man, spirits and beer, soap (greatly needed) and many other things. A truly magnificent effort. He also collected the mail (first received) from FPO. 2 i/c gets busy allotting the stores and everyone is happy.

1430 CO and Adjutant go and visit D Coy now in Testour. They are well settled in and seem to have no troubles at all. The CO and Adjutant see two Arabs shot in Testour for looting after air raids.

Carrier patrols still go out nightly to patrol the road from Testour to Medjez.

Another fine day but the nights are getting colder with heavy dew.