6th December

Brigade HQ – SOUK EL KHEMIS.

0000 Advance Brigade HQ having been met at pt J1935 by Sgt Paige arrived at farm J1629. Brigade Commander and BM after visiting Divisional HQ were brought to this farm.

0745 Brigade Commander attended conference at HQ 6 Armoured Division and afterwards accompanied Divisional Commander on recce.

On this day, 6 Armoured Division Standing Operation Instruction No 2 was received, laying down AA policy on the move.


1 RIrF – GIBRALTAR.

The ship lay in the bay outside the harbour and repairs were put in hand on this ship. The majority of the stores in the hold were salvaged and hard work was put in on 18 Motor Cycles to get them in working order. Most of the M/Cs were found to be serviceable.


6 Innisks – BONE.

0230 B Company parade and move off for the station.

Slight enemy air activity during early part of the night.

Orders were received during the day that the rest of the bttn (Bttn HQ, HQ Coy and A & C Coys) will leave by road for Divisional concentration at Souk el Khemis tomorrow. All ranks spend day packing and reloading transport. CO will be glad to leave Bone because of danger from lack of sanitation.


2 LIR.

Battalion move by road to divisional concentration area. (Armoured) carrier, mortar and anti-tank platoons follow as separate unit.

First night. Battalion reached Le Kroub, 15 kilometres east of Constantine (Algeria).



7th December

Brigade HQ – SOUK EL KHEMIS.

Brigade Commander and BM were on recce all day. IO and Lt Hall with reps from 6 Innisks recced possible concentration areas east of Beja for 2 LIR and 6 Innisks.

1800 Advance Brigade HQ moved to farm J3038.


1 RIrF – GIBRALTAR.

1900 The ship moved into the harbour.


6 Innisks – BONE.

0430 Reveille. Bttn gets ready to move and leave the tobacco factory in the dark. – a difficult manoeuvre well carried out.

0700 Column moves off and takes route : Bone–La Calle Teboul–Lacroix–Fernana–Souk el Arba–Souk el Khemis.  Many civilians in villages gave the V sign and in one place displayed French, American and British flags.

1530 Carruthers returned from forward recces with information that column is to go into harbour as road ahead was being heavily dive bombed. Bttn harbours and has a meal and all ranks look forward to a night’s rest when at 2100 Staff Captain arrives and says bttn is to move forward.

2300 Column moves off – driving extremely dangerous and difficult.


2 LIR.

Crossed Tunisian border. Rest at Guardimaou.

2300 Commanding Officer and company commanders went forward to recce battalion positions.



8th December

Brigade HQ – SOUK EL KHEMIS/TEBOURSOUK.

0700 SC and 4 vehicles arrived by road from Bone.

0800 Brigade Commander and BM left for Teboursouk, where 38 Brigade were now to concentrate.

1500 Advance Brigade HQ left for Teboursouk.  The day was dull and therefore favourable for movement by MT. Enemy ground strafing planes had been active in the area.

1745 Column under IO arrived without incident at road junction J 2710 west of Teboursouk, where it was met by BM who had recced HQ.

1845 Brigade HQ arrived at Farm J342091


1 RIrF – GIBRALTAR.

1400 The bttn went on a march on the Rock marching to the far side… to the music of the pipes…and back to the ship through the town.

2100 The ship was at ½ hour notice to move.


6 Innisks – ON THE ROAD.

Early AO.

1 TCV of No 14 platoon fell 50 feet down mountain side – 12 casualties – but none killed.

0500 After extremely arduous drive, Bttn is met at Souk el Khemis by guides and led to a harbour 15 miles further on in mud.

0730 Bttn all in.

0915 CO and Adjutant go to meet Brigade commander at Teboursouk for orders. Then recce a defensive front and move bttn in at once. Everyone in battalions works splendidly and made the best of some bad staff work. Very heavy rain all day.

Died on this day:

Sergeant Rowland Farthing, 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

Third night. Battalion parked on roadside near Nebeur 10 kilometres north of Le Kef.

Carriers, mortars and anti-tank platoons take up defensive positions in Teboursouk area.



9th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

This was another cloudy day which afforded good opportunities for arranging the transport of Brigade HQ, which was spread over three farms: 342091, 330089, and 292038. The French ‘patron’ of Farm 342091 was most anxious about our camouflage for fear of enemy air action.

0745 Brigade party from Bone under Brigade Signals Officer arrived at road junction J2710 whence it was guided by IO to Brigade HQ.

1745 Lt-Col Bedford, Commander of 152 Field Regiment RA arrived at Brigade HQ.

2300 Major Maxwell, Commander C Coy, 6 Innisks arrived at Brigade HQ to receive orders about a fighting recce  (strength 1 platoon) area Goubellat (J6422). 6 Innisks had meanwhile moved into position area J3314 and J2702,that is on roads NE and S position Teboursouk with one coy 2 LIR area Farm J3406.

During the day IO made recce of G Coy 2 LIR platoon positions. The task of this coy was to cover all passes through the mountains to the east.


1 RIrF – GIBRALTAR.

0130 All the ammunition damaged in the hold was replaced from shore and was loaded on ship by 0400hrs.

0500 Ship sailed with another troop carrier and a submarine ship.

The voyage continued, the day spent in getting ready for disembarkation.


6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

Bttn holding defensive positions astride road: Teboursouk to Medjez-el-Bab in very good anti tank localities. Everyone busy digging in and covered in mud. All ranks living in the open.

Brigade Commander and Commander Armoured Brigade visit bttn at various times and CRA 6 Armoured Division.

Major Maxwell detailed for independent mission by Brigade. CO objects to his officers being detailed by name without his consent.


 2 LIR.

Battalion HQ established 5 kilometres south of Teboursouk (map reference 278 023). E, F, & H Companies dig in on hills. G Company (at) 344068.

Battalion in defensive positions on right flank of 1st Army.



10th December

Brigade HQ – TEBOURSOUK.

0815 Brigade Commander and Major Maxwell visited Divisional HQ (J3207).

0900 Road party from Bougie under BTO arrived at crossroads J2808. About half of the Brigade transport (incl A Echelon vehicles) was sent under BTO to Farm J292038.

1500 FSP interviewed owner of Farm J3406 and confirmed IO’s impressions of 9 Dec that Arabs in the neighbourhood were in the pay of the enemy.


1 RIrF – ALGIERS.

1150 The ship dropped anchor in the southern anchorage at Algiers. The short authorities there were unwilling to allow disembarkation. The ship’s Captain however stated that the ship was taking too much water and he would go no further. Finally a surveyor came aboard and declared her seaworthy.

2300 We again set sail.


 6 Innisks – TEBOURSOUK.

1130 CO conference of Company Commanders.

1800 Lt Cassidy and his platoon of C Coy move to a position east of Goubellat whence they will carry out recces to try and locate enemy.

2050 Orders received that carrier platoon would recce road through Medjez for enemy as 30 enemy tanks were reported attacking Medjez.


2 LIR.

11 platoon moved out to Bou Arada to recce for F Company.

Rifleman Childs (carrier platoon) accidentally killed by 75 grenade.

Died on this day:

Rifleman Ronald Childs, 2 London Irish Rifles.