War Diaries – 6th to 10th December 1943

6th December

1 RIrF.

Spent the day cleaning up & resting.  Recce party under command Major NW Bass sent to Casalbordino – slight delay owing to Sangro bridges being down.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks.

Bttn spent all day in this area owing to move being cancelled. 22 Canadian Bttn moved into same area. The River Sangro became swollen preventing transport from crossing and bttn had to go on short rations.

Rain fell the whole day causing the Sangro to get even deeper.

2 LIR.

0100 Battalion in position in reserve area

Companies in position:

E Company 375081.

F Company 374081.

G Company 372080.

6 Innisks at 368043.

1 RIrF at 366030

Battalion remain in present location all day.

2000 Canadian RASC transport arrives.

7th December

Brigade HQ.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

Brigade HQ closed at 363062 and moved via Rocca, San Giovanni, Fossacesia, Paglieta bridge, Station di Torino, Station di Casalbordino to 542965.

1600 Brigade HQ established 542965.

2355 Warning order for Brigade Group move issued.

1 RIrF.

0900 33 TCVs arrived & Battalion moved to Casalbordino 4894 at 0900 hrs.  Arrived 1800 hrs to find bivouacs erected & every man under cover.

6 Innisks.

0600 Bttn roused and preparations made for the move to Casalbordino.

0930 Bttn em-bused and moved off via Rocca-Fossacesia, coast road to Casalbordino, de-busing at road junction 4594 from where the bttn marched to its area 600 yards east of Casalbordino. Here, a hot meal was served, tents and blankets issued and bttn was made as comfortable as possible.

2 LIR.

0845 Battalion em-buses in transport

0900 Battalion moves off to concentration area in Casalbordino.

1000 Convoy held up for 1¾ hours owing to north bound traffic passing over the Bailey Bridge across Sangro.

1300 Battalion arrives in Casalbordino.

8th December

Brigade HQ.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

1538 Brigade movement order No 10 issued.

2330 Brigade HQ closed 542965 for new location. Route via Vasto, San Salvo, Petacciato, Termoli, Larino, Casacalenda, Colletorto, Casalnuova, Castelcecclo, Castelnuovo.

1 RIrF.

1000 At 1000 hrs, CO left for Castelnouvo 9433, new location, with Padre, Captain H Grayden MC. Orders for Battalion to move.

6 Innisks.

Bttn spent a quiet day. Personnel were allowed into Casalbordino.

1800 Preparations were made for move, tents were struck, blankets rolled and haversack rations issued for midday next day.

2330 Bttn em-bused in area 4594.

2350 Column moved off following the LIR in the brigade convoy.

2 LIR.

Warning order received for battalion to move to division concentration area in Campobasso area.

2345 Battalion embusses and moves off in Brigade convoy.

9th December

Brigade HQ.

Captain SD Kelleher RA ChD posted to this HQ.

1200 Brigade HQ established Castelnuovo (H 9433). Bttns: 1 RIrF Castelnuovo (H 9433), 6 Innisks Casalnuovo (9335), 2 LIR Pietra Montecorvino (9527) and D support group with regiment at Serracapriola.

1 RIrF.

0035 Battalion moved off em-bused at 0035 hrs.  Convoy travelled very well.  Arrived Castelnuovo at 1400 hrs where Recce Party had obtained billets for whole Battalion.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks.

MT columns had a good journey on good roads to Larino, where a halt was made at 0530hrs for breakfast.

0530 Breakfast cooked at roadside.

0730 Column started off again, and this time the journey was on winding roads through hilly country.

Good time was made and the bttn arrived at Castelnuovo 9235 at 1230hrs.

Billets had been recced in advance and everyone was found a comfortable place.

Lieut Griffiths promoted to rank of A/Captain.

Lt-Col Grazebrook ordered to fly to England next day.

Major Maxwell rejoined the bttn.

The bttn was told that the CO was leaving us, having been called home for a special appointment at the war office. Before leaving, he issued a special order of the day, thanking all ranks for their close co-operation in the past. Major Bryar assumed command of the bttn.

2 LIR.

0600 Convoy halts. Breakfast.

0730 Convoy moves off again.

1330 Battalion arrives in new area.

Battalion HQ, G Company and H Company in Pietra (9427)

E Company, F Company and S Company in San Marco (8425)

Billets not good and village itself in filthy condition. 2 i/c recces new billet for Battalion HQ at present established in the castle.

W/Lieutenant EF Daly (RUR) joined from x(iv) list.

10th December

Brigade HQ.

Brigade Command and IO to Divisional HQ for conferences.

Lt-Col N Grazebrook DSO 6 Innisks posted to War Office.

Lt-Col BL Bryar (Kensingtons) appointed CO 6 Innisks.

2000 Brigade informed that 78 Division passed under command of 8th Army 0600hrs 12 December..

1 RIrF.

Battalion settled into new billets.  CO’s inspection & slight adjustment of billet allocation.

Died on this Day:

Corporal Reginald Bird, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks.

Bttn spent day cleaning up and checking admin points.

2 LIR.

1300 Battalion HQ moves to cleaner billets in village. Report from brigade: 11 Brigade and 56 Recce have moved forward into the line on 5th Division front. Battalion warned to move to areas evacuated by 11 Brigade. Battalion rests.