26th December

Brigade HQ.

Brigade IO left Brigade HQ for new area.

1 RIrF.

1530 Brigade movement order received.

1930 Battalion movement order issued.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks.

Bttn ordered to area Capracotta 2159hrs on the 27th and preparations for this move was made during the day.

0915 Church service in cinema at Isernia.

1100 Advance party left for Capracotta.

2 LIR.

0900 Advance party proceeds to Carpinone.

1030 Leave parties return from Campobasso.

Battalion packs up and prepares to leave.

27th December

Brigade HQ.

1000 Brigade HQ closed at Castelnuovo (H9433).

1100 Commanders’ conference at Main Division HQ.

1600 Brigade HQ opened at Pesche (H 2334).

Bttn 6 Innisks under command 56 Recce Regiment.

2 LIR at Carpinone (H 2632), 1 RIrF at Castelpetroso (H 2828).

6 Innisks.

0400 Bttn roused to complete packing.

0500 Breakfast served.

0630 Bttn em-bused at Isernia and column passed SF (road junction 223327) at 0700hrs and proceeded via Carpione, Sessano, Pescolanciano, road junction 261503, road junction 258517, to Capracotta. This was a very cold journey and the second half was carried out in driving snow, which caused a little difficulty with some of the MT, but all arrived at Capracotta with some pushing over the slippery parts of the road.

1200 Coys were shown their defensive tasks and set to work in improving and strengthening there.

Lieut Blyth rejoined the Bttn from hospital.

2 LIR.

0930 Battalion (less det Campobasso and road post at Motta) left Pietra for Carpinone. Anti-tank platoon attached to 254 Anti-Tank Battery Royal Artillery for training and firing.

1600 Convoy makes good time and arrives in Carpinone in daylight.

28th December

Brigade HQ.

COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

1 RIrF.

1010 Battalion moved in accordance with movement order.

1400 Battalion HQ, HQ, A,B, C Coys reached destination.

1900 D and S Coys reached destinations.

Locations Battalion HQ and HQ Coy Castelpetroso 2828.  A,B,C Coys S. Angelo 3128. D and S Coys S. Maria 3027.

6 Innisks.

Weather still very cold. Movement observed from Bttn OP in Pizzerferrato. 10 (Polish) Commandos sent out a patrol to search woods in the Sangro Valley west of Capracotta, but found no sign of enemy.

Captain Hingston posted to this unit.

Died on this Day:

Lance Corporal Reginald Hammond, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0400 Advance parties from F, H, HQ and S Companies leave for Campobasso.

1300 E and G Companies arrive in battalion area from Campobasso.

1430 Remainder of F Company, H Company and parties from HQ and S Companies to monastery billets in Campobasso. It is hoped for them to have three or four days there.

One platoon from H Company under the command of Lt Searles reports to Army HQ in Vasto for Guard duties.

Died on this Day:

Lance Corporal Alexander Chance, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Frank Adamson, London Irish Rifles.

29th December

Brigade HQ.

Brigade informed they will relieve 11 Brigade on night 30/31 December. Command passed at time to be mutually arranged between 11 and 38 Brigade.

2030 Bttns informed 2 LIR and 1 RIrF move forward into left sector not before 1200hrs on 30 December. 2 LIR O Group and one officer 1 RIrF RV with 11 Brigade HQ at Forli (146437) 1000hrs.

Road post Motta and Vasto guard of 2 LIR and instructors Brigade Tactical School remain at present location.

Orders for return of 2 LIR personnel to Campobasso to be issued. W/T courses at HQ 2 LIR cancelled.

2220 1 RIrF and 2 LIR warned of impending move and to bring one office guide per coy. 20 TCVs reporting to bttn areas 1200hrs on 30 December.

Brigade informed by Division that Belgian troop of 10 Commando moving to Montenero on 30 Dec and will come under command of 38 Brigade.

Orders and details for establishment of Brigade Technical School at Sessano (H 2738).

Brigade 3”mortar range established area Carpinone as attached trace.

1 RIrF.

2100 Verbal warning order for move to area Rionero 1145.

6 Innisks.

Some snow fell and visibility was very poor – Mobile Film Unit came up to Capracotta – Divisional Commander and Brigadier came up to bttn and discussed defences etc. Major BL Bryar appointed Lt-Col in command of 6 Innisks wef 10 December. 2/Lieut Phillips transferred from B Coy and relinquished rank of Captain.

Patrol of one Sergeant and 4 ORs from D Coy with 1 signaller and 1 pioneer was sent to Castel del Guidre (1961). B Coy moved from Vastogiraldi to Capracotta.


1000 Brigadier visits billets in Carpinone.

2000 Warning order received for Battalion Q and O Groups to move to 11 Brigade HQ at Forli for recce of battalion area in Montenero 0545.

Battalion to take over from 5 Northants.

2100 Companies recalled from Campobasso. To report in to Carpinone by 1200 hours 30/13/43.

T/Captain WBB Glasgow (RUR) joined from x(ii) List.

30th December

Brigade HQ.

The battles of the crossing of the Trigno River and the Battle of the Sangro River are attached as appendix.

1400 Brigade HQ closed Pesche (H 2324) and reopened same time at Forli Del Sannio (1443).

1810 Brigade informed by Division that Mortar Platoon and MMG Platoon D Support Group move to left sector and come under command 38 Brigade.

1 RIrF.

0830 CO, IO, Officer rep per Coy left for Brigade conference at Forli 1448.

1000 Conference with reps 11 Brigade. Battalion will take over from 2 Lancashire Fusiliers (2 LF) in area Castel Di Sangro 0853, road junction 0749, Rionero 1145 during night 31 Dec/1 Jan 44.

1130 Coy reps returned to coys with message for O Group to RV at Rionero 1145 at 1700 hrs.

1400 CO and IO arrived Rionero, saw rep 2 LF and saw billets in Rionero.

1700 O Group arrived Rionero.  Orders for take-over from 2 LF.

1800 Coy commanders returned to coys.  CO and IO to Castel Di Sangro to see CO 2 LF.

2000 CO and IO returned to Rionero.

6 Innisks.

Heavy snow all night produced drifts of 10-12 feet and 4 feet was the average depth.

Heavy snow fell all day. Coys spent day strengthening and wiring defences. Diptheria broke out among RA personnel and these troops were placed in quarantine.

Snow reduced visibility to zero and Bttn OP closed down.

2300 Patrol returned from Guidre.

Died on this Day:

Captain Joseph Beglin, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal David Marshall, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0750 Commanding Officer and his O Group move off to Forli.

1200 F and H Companies detachments from HQ & S Companies arrive in Carpinone.

1300 Battalion warned to move to Forli at 1430 hrs. To pass Brigade SP at 1400 hrs.

1415 Battalion embusses and moves off to Brigade SP.

1440 Battalion passes Brigade SP halts on road just below Rionero 1145 until dark. One Troop number 10 Belgian Commando joins Battalion convoy and is under command 2 LIR for future operations.

1900 Battalion arrives in Montenero 0545.

Companies move out of take over from forward companies of 5 Northants and B Company 1 East Surreys.

31st December

Brigade HQ.

0001 2 LIR report change over complete.

38 Brigade took over command left sector.

0530 Sitrep nothing to report.

1540 Last light Sitrep issued.

1725 B Coy 1 East Surreys reported situation quiet, work continuing on Cerro bridge 085393. Snow falling and settling. Visibility poor.

1845 2 LIR reported that at approximately 1600hrs, enemy patrol of approx 40 contacted forward area 0343. Spirited action ensued for one hour. Enemy casualties not known. Own casualties: 1 OR. Visibility very bad. No identification either side. Believed enemy patrol had lost way.

2200 B Coy, 1 East Surreys requested RE repair bridge 096400. 256 Field Company RE arranged party to be at bridge 0800 hrs on 1 January.

1 RIrF.

1000 Battalion movement order issued.

1200 Z for move announced at 1345 hrs.

1400 Head of convoy passed SP 15 mins late owing to failure of TCVs to report to D Coy at proper time.

1430 Sleet turning to snow as convoy advanced into mountains.

1545 Fourth and subsequent vehicles of convoy erroneously turned off towards Forli at road junction 150412 owing to failure of IO (Capt. TB Cammiade) to post a DR at the turning.  Subsequent confusion sorted out by 1700 hrs.

1700 Snowing heavily by now.  Blizzard developing.  Move forward continued by coy groups but road proved impassable to vehicles.  Unit vehicles left on road.  Troops de-bused and marched from one mile south of Rionero.

1900 Blizzard at height.

2300 Battalion takeover complete except for standing patrol at road junction 0749.

6 Innisks.

0300 Another patrol strength one Sergeant and six ORs went to Castel del Guidre.

Lieut Blyth was appointed Adjutant and A/Captain wef 27 December.

A/Major J Kerr transferred from D Coy to C Coy and assumes command.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Stephen Carter, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Thomas Sullivan, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0200 Companies and Battalion established in Montenero.

F Company – Alto 0447.

E Company – Calvario 0346.

G Company – Il Monte 0342.

H & Battalion HQ in Montenero 035829.

0800 Commanding Officer calls O Group to discuss future policy.

H Company commander to plan defence of Montenero will all available troops.

Number 10 Belgian Commando to become mobile reserve and will probably do active patrols as they are experienced in snow warfare and high altitude conditions. Weather deteriorates during the day and heavy fall of snow.

1600 G Company engage enemy patrol of about 40 men in their company area. Engagement lasted about 1 hour but due to bad weather conditions and heavy snow little could be seen. Casualties – 1 killed. One enemy believed killed but body was not found in the deep snow.

1630 Commando patrol of 2 officers and 30 men go out to 063465 and 065476 to protect ration convoy expected through.

1730 Forward companies report high winds extreme cold and blizzard setting in. Snow 2-3 feet.

2200 Two jeeps attempt to get through to Montenero but are bogged in heavy snow drift.

Ration convoy unable to get through to Battalion tonight.

2300 Forward companies report shocking weather conditions. Depth of snow increasing. All shelters and bivouacs broken down by weight of snow.

Died on this Day:

Lance Corporal George Frost, London Irish Rifles.