1st December

Brigade HQ – TORINO.

0200 Intentions 1 December. 4 Armoured Brigade with C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment under command 38 Brigade in support to advance at first light along axis: Fossacesia–Rocca 3705 – San Vito 3611.

0500 6 Innisks Sitrep. Some firing, otherwise a quiet night.

0645 1 RIrF Sitrep. Bttn HQ 411057; A Coy 407056; B Coy east end ridge 4106; C Coy, Brigade HQ, D Coy 412058. Gulleys 414068 415063 impassable to tanks.

0800 2 LIR in Rocca (3805).

0945 6 Innisks in Rocca.

0950 17 Indian Brigade now in San Maria. Mozzagrogna and Romagnoli.

1000 6 Innisks astride road 365045.

1200 Brigade HQ closed Torino 446986 and moved to Fossacesia.

1300 2 LIR advancing on road 372073.

1430 Brigade informed Division PoW collecting point at 415023. 11 Brigade providing guard, thence by RASC to collecting point at 445003. Bridges 376049 and 367043 repaired by RE.

1600 2 LIR area 369073 joined by one squadron 44 Royal Tanks.

Remainder tanks between Fossacesia and Rocca. 3 CLY area 3804.

1615 C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment 400090. Bridge 408083 prepared for demolition not blown.

Minefield  200 x 50 North 406084. Minefields coastal area. Crater 120’ 369074 and 2 coys enemy 367072 prevented further advance.

6 Innisks’ locations HQ 396044, Coys 372042, 369038, 363045, 369049.

1900 449 PoW passed through divisional cages.

2000 Brigade HQ established Fossacesia.

2100 Army Command directs headlights to be used up to Fossacesia.

Rum issued authorised.

2115 78 Division intentions 1 / 2  December – 11 Brigade hold line Fossacesia–Fossacesia station. 38 Brigade move 2 LIR and 1 RIrF area 3707. Patrol vigorously to San Vito and line of river south west.

2 Dec – will continue advance Rocca–San Vito–Ortona with under command 56 Recce Regiment and support by 4 Armoured Brigade.

1 RIrF.

Captain TB Cammiade MC admitted to hospital.  Captain DF Thomason arrived from LOB personnel to act as IO in his absence.  Morning spent resting and recovering booty from the deep dug-outs and entrenchments in the area.

1400 At 1400 hrs, the Battalion moved to area north of the road east of Rocca 3805.  Battalion HQ 385055.

1700 At 1700 hrs, the CO received orders for the advance to San Vito 3611.

2200 At 2200 hrs, the CO gave out his orders.  Lt. MER Pattinson to hospital.

6 Innisks – ROCCA.

The Bttn prepared to continue the advance after breaking through the enemy’s fortifications; the plan being to push on along the main Fossacesia to San Vito road with a regiment of tanks until resistance was met and then issue orders on the spot for dealing with it. A and C Coys were to meet the tanks at road 377047 and 383048 and push along road in that road followed by Bttn HQ, B and D Coys.

0630 Bttn started off, and while leaving, the area was shelled fairly heavily for ten minutes, resulting in four casualties in D Coy.

0800 Coys reached tanks at RV but considerable delay was caused just after starting owing to the bridge at 377047 being demolished. REs were sent for and coys were deployed in protection of the bridge. The REs were very soon on the spot; and using the bulldozer got the road clear by 1230hrs.

Meanwhile, a recce party had found that the next bridge at 367044 was also blown and work was started on that as soon as the first one was finished. While the Bttn was protecting the first bridge. B Coy brought in three PoWs from 3/361 PGR.

1430 Bttn was astride road at 377044 and waiting for the second bridge to be completed (two PoWs were found here from 56 Werf Regiment).

1500 Orders came through from brigade not to continue any further owing to a threat that was growing on our left flank, but that another bttn (2 LIR) would pass through is that night; so the bttn disposed to cover the bridge, which had been prepared and by 0330hrs were established with Bttn HQ at 364048 and coys at 363048, 369049, and 365042.

1800 2 LIR came through our positions and continued towards San Vito until they were held up by the bridge being blown at 369073, 370044. The advance up to this point had taken place without enemy resistance.

Died on this Day:

Private Kenneth Chinn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached from ACC.

Fusilier William Duff, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Major Sydney Bunch MC, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached from Lincolnshire Regiment.

Lance Corporal James McCann, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

Intermittent enemy shelling throughout the day in area of Bridge 631795.

0430 E Company report that there are still a few enemy in Rocca.

0800 Barrage to support F Company into Rocca is cancelled and G Company enter village without opposition. A few PWs were taken.

0800 Report from Bde states that a German counter-attack on the Lanciano-Mozzagrogna road last night was successfully repulsed by 2 NZ Division.

1030 E Company join G Company forward of the village of Rocca and advance up the Rocca-San Vito road. Command group follows these two companies.

1500 E Company report enemy in area 355051, strength about one platoon. Civilians also report that the bridge 368074 was blown at 1000 hours today.

1530 Commanding Officer asks for tanks to come forward in support of the companies and one hour later F Company were linked up with them.

1630 Patrols were sent out to find routes across the ravine in front of the forward companies which was deep and narrow with precipitous sides.

F Company and tanks arrive and take up position in general area 362067.

1730 Commanding Officer reports general situation to brigade. Companies have reached ravine at bridge 368074. Bridge blown. Enemy hold Treglio ridge on further side of ravine with about two companies. The ground rises very steeply to those positions and an attack tonight would be difficult.

Brigade Commander orders that the battalion must get across, if not at first light then as soon after as possible.

1920 H Company ordered forward. Battalion HQ to remain in Rocca.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman William Coggle, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman William Coughlan, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Clifford Jones, London Irish Rifles.

Sergeant Ernest Oakley, London Irish Rifles.

2nd December


0325 Bttns informed PoWs will be escorted to DMA at road junction 415023 where they will be taken over by 11 Brigade personnel.

0330 Last light Sitrep and intentions for 2 Dec issued.

0345 2 LIR reported task impossible owing to ground but trying to find way round flank. Enemy still in position.

0430 1 RIrF reported leading coys nearing areas. No shooting. Going very difficult.

0515 214 Field Company  RE informed that original plan unable to be realised as 2 LIR stuck.

0605 1 RIrF reported 1000 yards short of San Vito. Civilians report town evacuated yesterday. 6 Innisks patrols – NCO and 10 each. No 31: 363047–Scociosa–346013. No 21: 368050–362051–Station 350050. Out 0915, In 1300 and 1500hrs.

0900 Forward HQ 1 RIrF 394898 reported stopping by in gully south of San Vito.

Slight contact D Coy 390095. Attacking town from San Vito. C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment in support.

0915 OC Rear Mule pack ordered to filter up remainder of Indian and Italian mules in daylight today.

0945 Brigade Commander suggested to Commander 4 Armoured Brigade the possibility of some tanks to area 6 Innisks.

1025 Brigade Commander order commander 1 RIrF to keep bttn less two coys at 3907 at present. Left flank of 2 LIR having a little difficulty.

1108 6 Innisks reported one own aircraft crashed north west of San Vito. Two enemy counter attacks against 2 LIR from Treglio 3506 successfully repulsed. 10 PoWs and 3 MGs captured.

1145 57 Field Regiment OP situated 367050.

1200 6 Innisks captured code word list of 65 Panzer Group Division (copy belonging to III/Werfer Regiment 56 in Rocca with other docs and maps) forwarded to Division.

1220 78 Division informed 38 Brigade that wef 2 Dec, 38 Brigade would be under command 1 Canadian Division.

1245 2 LIR fully established on last night’s objective.

1250 1 RIrF reported not many enemy in San Vito.

4 Armoured Brigade report 2 Mk IVs in flames area 3707 this am. 8 PoWs taken.

1445 1 RIrF reported at coy 375110 2 coys at 385105.

Enemy material found in Brigade area included 4 SP guns, one 105mm, one 75mm, 2 Infantry Guns, many mortars, MGs and mortars.

1700 Muleteer personnel 5 Buffs coming under command 38 Brigade.

1740 1 RIrF concentrated at area 3909.

Divisional order 36 Brigade personnel with pack transport not relieved to be relieved. Immediately arrangements made for transportation to new area.

1945 Frost max 5 degrees night 2/3 expected. All areas particularly above 1000 feet.

2015 Headlights will be kept on up to exclude Mozzagrogna.

2030 Command of coastal sector  passed from 78 Division to 1 Canadian Division 1600 on 2 Dec.

2115 Situation at last light and intentions 3 Dec see Sitrep.

2250 57 Field Regiment reported 3 DF tasks..April – 384103, May – 382100, June – 379095.

2300 1 RIrF Sitrep: HQ 404086, A Coy 402089, B Coy 396077 less one platoon, C Coy and one platoon B Coy 389094, D Coy 404088. Two coys went to ravine overlooking San Vito last night. Lieut Day and 15 men entered San Vito and a sharp engagement with armoured cars, majority of patrol taken PoW. Both companies tried to approach town from coast and had a running fight with enemy killing 2, finally drove enemy off.  Coys turned left and crossed at 368107. Heavy fire from outskirts of town drove them back. Coys took up position on high ground to east of the ravine and repulsed two counter attacks. During pm, own artillery shot up enemy marching troops. Coys withdrew at 2100hrs.

Captain J Hayes RA ChD  posted to 5 CCS.

Lieut Webb Bowen (RUR) returned this HQ ex hospital.

Captain JHF Hobbs (Reconnaissance Corps) Brigade IO returned this HQ ex hospital.

1 RIrF.

0100 A & D Coys moved off along track running to demolished bridge 4008.

0400 At 0400 hrs, C Coy & Battalion Command Group took same route.

0515 It ultimately transpired that A & D Coys had reached 373110 at 0515hrs where they made a firm base and sent a patrol under Lieut Day into San Vito

0545 Cheers & shouting of “Inglese” were heard followed by shooting.  The patrol had been lead into the town by a local.  They had gained the square in the town before contacting Germans and had received a great welcome from the populace.  They took several prisoners before they were observed by two armoured cars which opened fire on the patrol.  Great confusion was resultant in the town, in which ten of the patrol escaped & laid up – Lt Day was seriously wounded & is now posted as POW.  Eight others were captured.  This patrol must have had a terrific effect on the German forces defending the bridge 3607 against the 2 LIR

0900 Adjutant received a delayed report that forward coys were making good progress over very difficult ground and had reached approx 378108.  Command Group in HO 405085.  C Coy area high ground 399086.  B Coy still in area 408077.  Adjutant’s  Group then moved to Command Group & B Coy was ordered on to high ground 400080.  It ultimately transpired that A & D Coys had reached 373110 at 0515 hrs where they made a firm base & sent a patrol under Lt Day into San Vito.

1100 A & D Coys remained in area 372113 all day and were counter attacked determinedly at approximately  1100 hrs and 1300 hrs.

1300 Captain OFB Jewell and Lt Fricke were wounded in this latter action.  Both attacks were driven off with a very satisfactory ratio of casualties.  Apart from these formed attacks, infiltration by the enemy took place all day and at one time they were cut off by fire from the remainder of the Battalion.  The FOO, Captain Evans, 26/17 Field Regiment, gave valuable assistance throughout the course of the action.  At first dusk, Major JS Clarke, D Coy, ordered both coys back from the lip of the gully & prepared to spend the night at 376108.

2100 He received orders from the CO to withdraw to area station 398093 and C Coy plus one platoon B Coy, moved up to high ground 390095. The Battalion was then out of contact with the enemy.  Casualties for this action – Nil and 10 killed, 2 and 10 wounded, 1 and 9 missing.  Captain NW Bass rejoined from hospital.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier James Anderson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal John Mawhinney, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier James Pearce, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Edgar Cowan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Jack Storr, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Ronald Martin, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Bennett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Anthony, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sergeant  Robert Martin, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Eric Maden, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Holmes, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lieutenant John Day, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Joseph Lempard, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks.

The enemy started shelling the bttn, but caused no casualties. The advance party of the Seaforth Highlanders (1 Canadian Division) arrived and preparations had been made for handing over the position.

1300 O Group conference and orders issued to assist the 2 LIR in crossing river at 369073 where enemy resistance had been met.

1400 Bttn moved off and by 1510, Bttn HQ had reached 361060 and were disposed in that area while the CO, who had found the LIR were not so far forward as expected, went back to Brigade HQ. The enemy was shelling this area, but no casualties were caused. Bttn stayed there until 1900hrs, when orders were received for our return to Rocca 3805, where we arrived at 2140hrs.

2330 O Group conference was called and it was made known that the bttn was to support elements of 4 Armoured Brigade in an attack on San Vito from the left flank, infantry to be lorry borne. This coin was to proceed along the Lanciano to San Vito road as far as possible until resistance was met, when further orders would be issued to deal with it. Orders of march – Troop Tanks, B Coy, Regimental HQ, 2 Scout Cars (CO and 22 set in one, Adjutant and 18 set in the other), jeep for the IO, two artillery carriers, C Coy, A Coy, D Coy, S Coy, Bttn HQ, RAP.

Lieut Beglin appointed to the rank of A/Captain.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Samuel Roberts, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0200 It was thought that the right flank offered the best approach across the ravine. Patrols returned at 0200hrs and said that this would not be possible, so plan were changed accordingly for an attack to go in and the bridgehead established from the left flank.

At first light F Company and H Company crossed the ravine to secure high ground east of Treglio. Advance 300 yards and were held up by heavy automatic and machine gun fire. All attempts to advance were frustrated and several enemy counter-attacks were beaten off.

1030 Enemy counter-attacks petering out. E Company mopping up area behind forward companies.

1800 6 Inniskillings and tanks to attack along axis Lanciano-Treglio road, as forward companies were withdrawn to the other side of the ravine.

T/Major J D Lofting (RUR) wounded in action.

W/Lieutenant M W Gentle (RUR) wounded in action.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Leonard Hawes, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Ernest Kingston, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Frank Ward, London Irish Rifles.

CQMS Hugh Donaghy MM, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Derek Best, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman William Bingham, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Desmond Hull, London Irish Rifles.

3rd December

Brigade HQ.

0005 1 Canadian Division informed Brigade “F” crossing River Sangro open for down traffic until 0900hrs.

British/Indian division front open for traffic until 1200hrs.

0510 2 LIR reported enemy shelling of bttn area during night. Position firm.

0930 2 LIR established bridgehead area. RE ordered to proceed with bridge construction immediately.

0940 3 CLY and 6 Innisks entering San Vito and occupying enemy positions. Some PoWs. Casualties light. Bomb line altered to line San Vito.

0955 254 A/Tk Battery and 1 RIrF warned to be ready to move.

1020 1 RIrF reported enemy casualties 2 Dec: 4 ORs and another 4 un-located, 1 officer (Captain ?) wounded not known, but in proportion to those killed.

1025 4 Armoured Brigade report 40 PoWs identified 361 Pz Grenadier Regiment.

1115 4 Armoured Brigade reported in San Vito 1100hrs.

1200 4 Armoured Brigade reported close fighting in San Vito with some MG fire. Tanks being mortared from beyond river. Large crater 364110. Expected to take 6 hs to fill.

1255 214 Field Company reported crater now passable in tanks. Bridge ready 368074, 1500hrs.

1330 2 LIR reported HQ at 371072.

1400 2 LIR informed of relief. When complete, bttn to concentrate in area 374087 and await orders.

1500 Brigade HQ closed Fossacesia and reopened same time at 363062.

Sitrep – 6 Innisks. Bttn HQ 365108, 44 PoW identified I Bttn 361 Pz Grenadier Regiment.

1630 6 Innisks remain in San Vito. Snipers left only.

1 RIrF ordered forward at once and make use of daylight.

Special Sitrep 1630 issued.

Intention: 6 Innisks hold San Vito. 1 RIrF right, 2 LIR left advance to River Moro. RE repair road. Tanks to reach River Moro by first light crater San Vito between San Vito and river bridge blown.

2 LIR informed of boundary with 1 RIrF including 1 RIrF 343124, 354116.Then including 2 LIR road to 363109. Main patrol task bridge rear area 3311. D Support Group 3606, 254 A/Tk Battery 3606, C Squadron Recce Regiment 364065.

2353 1 Canadian Division in brigade’s bomb line first light. Lateral road Ortona 3316–Orsona 2301 from coast to 290096 thence west to Grid 29.

2355 Situation on brigade front at first light 3 December and intentions 4 Dec. See Sitrep.

1 RIrF.

No contact all day.  2 LIR still fighting at first light at bridge 368075 until 6 Innisks went through with armour and occupied San Vito 3611 by 1500 hrs.  CO ordered B & C Coys forward to area 372112 prior to going to Brigade at 1600 hrs.

1600 Battalion HQ to 393097.  Just a forward coy had reported in position at approx 1900 hrs, Adjutant was ordered by CO on 22 set from Brigade to prepare Battalion for move to high ground 3512  NW of San Vito.  Coys warned and lined up on coast rd in following order of march:- B,C,D,A,Bttn HQ.

CO arrived back at 1930 hrs and the battalion moved off.  Road cratered four times before battalion arrived on high ground NW of San Vito 3512.  This made carriage of gunners & battalion rear link sets difficult, although mules were employed for batteries.  Great silence during advance impossible and no contact was made – probably owing to size of our force & smallness of likely posts.

6 Innisks.

Bttn was roused at 0400hrs and em-bused at 0505hrs, and joined tanks at road junction north of Fossacesia (351022) at 0615hrs.

0645 Column moved off and the head turned down the southern San Vito road but the leading three tonner had fallen behind and by mistake went into Lanciano and along the northern road with the rest of the column following. Lanciano had only just fallen and was yet unoccupied by infantry.

The column travelled along the northern San Vito road for about three miles before the IO caught up with the head and turned it back; but three PoWs were brought back, too, from an MG post, which had been surprised; it caught up with B Coy and 3 CLY without any further incident.

1000 B Company and 3 CLY were making good progress and news came through that they were on the outskirts of the town. The tanks were first in the town and were shelled while entering, but suffered no casualties.

1200 B Coy entered the town, but the Coy Commander, Capt Clarke MC, was wounded on the outskirts and was prevented from leading his coy in. C Coy followed close behind, B Coy and progress continued with the street fighting going on in our favour, and, by 1500hrs, the Bttn was firmly established in the town with Bttn HQ at 365108 and coys in positions around. Supporting arms moved up and a local patrol was sent out to protect the REs, who set to work clearing demolitions and craters. A patrol was sent out to the bridge at 364118 and reported it to have three spans blown and two gaps. The bridge was over a gully 20 feet deep with steep sides. Total PoWs for the day were 47 from 361 PGR. Our own casualties were 2 ORs, 1 officer (Captain Clarke MC) and 16 ORs wounded.

Died on  this Day:

Fusilier Albert Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Grange Carter, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Mitchell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Archibald Porter, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Charles Watts, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0530 In conjunction with the attack from Lanciano towards Treglio, G and H Companies crossed the ravine in the bridge area followed by F Company and a bridgehead was established.

Companies were disposed as follows:

G Company area 368076.

F Company area 372080.

H Company area 375083.

E Company area 375083.

Battalion HQ at 370073.

1500 Battalion relieved by Canadian battalion and moves up to a concentration area south of San Vito at 362097.

Commanding Officer’s orders were to move forward and establish one company as early as possible during the night to the high ground to the west about 380105. Using the company as a base, to patrol with a second to the River Moro and to gain information about the bridge 337017 and crossings across the river to the north and south of it.

1900 E Company move forward to establish themselves on the high ground.

2200 E Company reported in position. H Company ordered forward to contact E and patrol to river.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Peter Treanor, London Irish Rifles.

4th December

Brigade HQ.

Brigade TAC HQ established first light 365091.

0445 1 RIrF patrol reported strong enemy patrol area 3512. Standing by on DF tasks 6,8, 4 area 345310.

0600 6 Innisks nothing to report.

0605 1 RIrF reported location 356127. Patrols forward to river report about 10 enemy guns area 355130. Action being taken. Bridges 345118 and 361122 blown.

0745 1 Canadian Division informed 1 RIrF and 2 LIR established 357126–345105 across.

44 Royal Tanks moving now.

0800 1 Canadian Division RE request exact size of demolitions bridged.

0830 2 LIR reported left coy engaging enemy with troops.Enemy loosening up. Snipers on left flank. PoW from 90 PG Division taken. Locations changed rapidly.

0835 2 LIR reported recce troop trying crossing. Bridge still blown. Canadian Division may move up now.

0900 2 LIR reported forward troops over river. Ordered to find out if bridge blown.

1 RIrF reported 20-30 enemy encountered 0800hrs at 354124 whilst coy moving forward.

0915 Tanks report bridge 3311 not blown.

0918 RE will take 3 hrs to make road passable for MT.

0937 2 LIR report high ground on their right still held by enemy in dug positions. 1 RIrF doing well and joining C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment in coastal area.

1035 2 LIR informed that tanks and artillery at present are unable to give support as all support required on the right flank. CO 2 LIR thinks that the situation requires more tanks than he has at his disposal. CO told to make plan without more support.

1100 214 Field Company report road ok for vehicles 1100hrs.

1113 2 LIR report total PoW identified 90 PG Division.

1118 1 RIrF reported situation warm. CO estimated only 30-40 enemy. Would like to make certain alterations to make position tight.

1207 1 RIrF say they cannot find tanks but can hear them in the distance.

1210 RA report U targets  on 323113 and 326134 fired.

1240 Location CO 2 LIR 348105.

1255 C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment reported reaching road bend, moved down Lanciano track. Shelled and shot at by unlocated MG, now looking for it.

Brigade Command informed C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment Commander that 6 Innisks on way and will eliminate MG.

1305 2 LIR captured 2 PoWs identified as 2 Coy 361 PGR.

57 Field Regiment fired U target 322115.

1340 Location 2 LIR 341105

1350 56 Recce Regiment liaising with tanks. Un-located A/Tk guns suspected south of river preventing further progress. Other routes almost impossible.

1400 57 Field Regiment reported the following artillery available if registered; 2 Batteries 57 Medium Regiment, two batteries 98 Field Regiment, 2 Canadian Field Regiments.

1405 Brigade Command reported to Brigade main HQ that bridge over Moro blown and moving to place known by Command 4 Armoured Brigade.

1430 1 RIrF reported all arrangements made. Going on right near sea to lie up much as possible while light lasts.

1500 1 RIrF reported tanks and two coys getting on well but not quite sure where they are expected to finish. Enemy fire stopped. Special patrol mopping up. 2 LIR reported RAP at 351105 carrying to ambulances at 361101

1530 57 Field Regiment U targets 307105 and 328117.

1545 1 RIrF reported pretty heavy counter attack down coastal road area 358124. One platoon overrun at approximately 1525hrs. Brigade Command sending tanks down valley. 6 Innisks forming backstop and one coy 6 Innisks going between 1 RIrF and sea. 1 RIrF firm and confident.

1610 1 RIrF reported tanks and battalion on objective counter attacking with a platoon and have occupied ridge again. Infiltration on left held and counter attack dispersed. Vickers’ MGs used.

1613 6 Innisks informed 1 RIrF coy on way.

1620 57 Field Regiment reported U target area Torre 319110 C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment reported no specific blind shoots. Ordered by Brigade Command to stay outside of present position until dark and then return behind 6 Innisks.

1715 1 RIrF reported all coys except coy 6 Innisks in position. 5 PoWs taken.

1735 C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment location 353116.

1900 1 Canadian Division informed Brigade that three bttns Canadian troops concentrated at 330087, 334097, 363117.

2045 RA DF tasks: Tinker 341124, Taylor 341128, Soldier 344134, Sailor 350135.

2100 RA Canadian Division request ok for HF tasks on 330120-323142 at 2200-0500hrs agreed.

1 Canadian Division RA requested two HF targets in coastal area. Replied all ready laid on with OC 57 Field Regiment nearest target 330157.

2340 All bridges over River Sangro unusable. Evacuation of casualties by DUKW only from Fossacesia station. River Sangro rose 6 feet in last two hours. Last light Sitrep 0040/5 Dec..

1 RIrF.

0130 At 0130 hrs, head of Battalion reached area 356127.  Coys consolidated in fairly close formation with Battalion HQ in HO 35612

0300 At approximately 0300 hrs, a local patrol from D Coy contacted a fairly large enemy patrol – no casualties either side.  By dawn it became obvious that the enemy was still holding ground east of R. Moro and B & C Coys were instructed to push forward to ground overlooking the R. Moro.  In doing so, quite determined resistance was met & Major JE McNally MC was wounded. Major RLC Wood took command of B & C Coys but was killed by a mortar bomb.  Major DEH Hayward MC & Capt. GL Richards MM sent to assume command of B & C Coys respectively.  Battalion given one Squadron tanks to clear high ground but no contact was made with them until the evening.  Enemy counterattacked all day, but after a re-disposition was made of Battalion, these were beaten off & 20 POWs were taken.  C Coy 6 Innisks placed under command.

1800 B & C Coys launched final attack with tanks & captured high ground overlooking R. Moro.  A Coy moved forward & consolidated with B & C Coys.  During whole of the day the line of supply & evacuation was under fire from snipers, who were ultimately disposed of.  Captain RE Wilkin wounded in the chest leading a mule train of ammo & supplies.  Battalion received these mules during darkness – at no time during this action did the Battalion go long without food.  Casualties for day’s fighting 1 & 5 KIA, 2 & 29 wounded.

Died on this Day:

Major Richard Wood, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ronald Lane, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Bertram Rhodes, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Arthur Aston, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Scarsi, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ernest Watson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alfred Cooper, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Stanley Henderson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks.

The other two bttns of the Brigade moved up and went forward of the town to the line of the River Moro.

Bttn pioneers lifted 46 Teller mines from area of railway in 3611.

0940 CO was called to a conference at Brigade HQ and on his return the bttn received orders to move forward to area of ridge 3411 to protect left flank of 2 LIR and 1 RIrF.

1400 Bttn left San Vito in the following order D Coy (riding on tanks), C Coy, Bttn HQ, B Coy, A Coy. The RIrF on our right flank were having some trouble with M/G posts and some bullets were just clearing the road along which the Bttn was travelling.

1630 Bttn was established with Bttn HQ at 345114, B and D Coys, with supporting weapons at Apollinari (3310) under command of Major Little A Coy remained in the same area as Bttn HQ and C Coy went under command of 1 RIrF, who were expecting a counter attack to develop.

2100 News came through that the Canadian Battalions were to take up positions on our left flank and guides were sent out to meet them and guide them through our bttn area.

2 LIR.

0100 H Company’s patrols report enemy between 350105 and the river.

0200 G Company and Command Post move forward to join E & H companies.

0400 Companies make contact with enemy. Enemy patrols around with automatic weapons reported by companies and 1 RIrF to be on our right.

0600 1 RIrF reported north of San Vito supported by tanks. During the advance in the night there were still a considerable number of enemy who remained undetected and at first light the task of clearing them out began.

0700 One squadron of 44 Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) arrive to assist battalion in clearing area.

0830 Battalion was established on the high ground overlooking the Moro as follows:

Battalion HQ established at 348112.

E Company – 337100.

F Company – 343108.

G Company – 340113.

H Company – 338109.

6 Inniskillings now in San Vito.

Trouble was experienced on the right flank and F Company supported by tanks cleared the area and were then established at 344117.

1200 Commanding Officer reports to the brigadier that the attack ordered across the river Moro would be difficult owing to strength of battalion (about two platoons per company) and the difficulty of engaging the enemy with artillery and mortar fire because of the ground. The commanding is ordered to make up best plan he can while situation is being reviewed higher up.

1300 Bridge on River Moro is blown.

Company positions shelled and mortared spasmodically throughout the day.

1315 Intelligence officer and six other ranks of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to recce positions with a view to the battalion taking over from us.

1400 22 prisoners of war brought in. Identified as belonging to 361 Panzer Group (50 Panzer Group) Division.

1730 H Company report three guns firing from about two miles north of their positions. Artillery lay down UNCLE target. Result – extremely accurate. MMGs and mortars brought up to support forward companies. The battalion is now firmly established along the line of the river Moro, although very tired.

1900 Battle patrol go out to area of bridge to observe and shoot any enemy. They spent a quiet night.

2000 Message – battalion to be relieved tomorrow.

6 Inniskillings and two Canadian battalions move up into position on the left flank of the battalion.

T/Captain G Fitzgerald (RUR) joined from x(iv) List.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman John Smillie, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Joseph Morris, London Irish Rifles.

5th December

Brigade HQ.

0010 Divisional report all bridges over River Sangro closed. Movement forward and back stopped.

0500 Bttns reported quiet night.

0830 1 RIrF reported coy positions Bttn HQ 355129, 354126, 349127, 349129, 350130.

0915 2 LIR reported Bttn HQ at 345106 and coys 339107, 341112, 343116, 345107. Strength 22 and 720.

C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment 347100. Bomb line unchanged.

1050 1 Canadian Division report on crossing 345133, 4’ wide and unreliable – probably confused with unmarked tributary and non main river.

1255 6 Innisks locations Bttn HQ 353117. Coys 350118, 353121, 357121.

1415 2 LIR informed of relief by Canadian Division. When relieved to proceed to area 369075.

6 Innisks and 1 RIrF informed of relief. 6 Innisks to go to area 368043 and 1 RIrF 366030 and to recce immediately. C Squadron 56 Recce Regiment to move to area 3606.

1845 D support group 373037.

1910 Foot traffic across Paglieta bridge limited to unit Commanders and above.

1920 1 RIrF reported quiet day, periodic mortaring of forward cots.

1930 254 A/Tk Battery reported concentration area 396046 completed.

1 Canadian Division orders strict economy use of petrol owing to lack of crossings.

2020 6 Innisks reported shelling whilst in forward area, otherwise nothing to report.

2026 Last light Sitrep and intentioned 6 Dec.

2125 38 Brigade Tac HQ closed and joined main Brigade.

1 RIrF.

0200 During the early hrs, two patrols went out under Lt EL Gibbon & Sgt Tristham to recce width & depth  & approaches of R. Moro.  This they did – dimensions 20 x 4, approaches steep with a 12’ slope.  Major HN Holmes to hospital.  Quiet day except for intermittent mortaring of any movement.

1530 At 1530 hrs, a Recce party arrived from the Edmonton Regt, 1 Canadian Div, who were to relieve us during the evening.  Coy dispositions shown to Canadian Coy reps.

2100 Battalion relieved by 2100 hrs & proceeded to old area Rocca by march route.  Casualties Nil & 1 KIA.  Nil & 1 wounded.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier John Johansen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Roland Turrington, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks.

0130 The bttn was established at 334097 and 336087. The enemy put down harassing fire on Apollinari throughout the night and also to the right of Bttn HQ.

1600 Warning order was sent out to coys telling them that relief would take place that night after 1800hrs.

1900 Change over with Seaforths completed and code word ENO sent to Brigade HQ.

1930 Bttn left by route march for area 3604 in the following order S, A, B, C, D, Bttn HQ, A Echelon marching personnel joined bttn as it marched through San Vito.

Lieut Dicker appointed A/Captain, Lieut Schayek awarded MC and CSM Stevenson DCM.

2150 Greatcoats arrived, with the cooks and rations.

The enemy shelled San Vito and river bed causing some vehicle casualties; 15 cwt water truck and staff car damaged by shrapnel. Enemy mortars bombed area spasmodically all day, but without effect.

2330 Bttn arrived at area 3604 and code word Fruit was sent to Brigade HQ.

Hot tea, blankets, greatcoats, and rum was issued.

Lieut Dicker rejoined the bttn from hospital.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Henry Barfoot, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0600 Battalion spent a quiet night except for spasmodic shelling.

1100 Own artillery shell enemy positions on other side of River Moro.

1330 Enemy aircraft bomb bridge area 368074.

2030 Relief of battalion completed and move back to area of bridge 358075 – a position held two days previously.

2030 Enemy continue to shell San Vito-Rocca area.