21st February

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

A patrol of 1 RIrF suffered casualties from Anti Personal S Mines in area 6611. A patrol to gully 6707 brought back some interesting articles including a notice in Arabic.

Two troops C/142 RAC (Churchills) came under command into area 625068.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

Brigade Commander was appointed to command ‘Y’ Division.

1200 Lt-Col TPD Scott, 1 RIrF , was appointed to command the brigade during the existence of ‘Y’ Division and arrived at this HQ.

A letter was sent to Bttns re 36 Grenade.

1900 Brigade Commander’s conference was held by Lt-Col Scott. IO outlined the fighting in the south and the following points were then discussed.

  1. Corps commander against having a heterogeneous reserve. Therefore, proposed to adjust positions and bring 1 RIrF into reserve.
  2. 152 Field Regiment being relieved night 21/21 Feb. To make road safe, 2 LIR to lend 6 Innisks carrier section for patrolling.
  3. Possible that diversion would have to be staged to help southern operations. Paratroops would attack Magra. Brigade (with only one Coy unless otherwise ordered) would go for some isolated feature.
  4. Anti Personnel Mines in brigade defence system discussed.
  5. 1 RIrF to send patrol of one platoon into mountains daily.

1 RIrF – GRANDSTAND HILL.

The events and activities of the night are recorded in detail in the Appendix.

0730 Lt-Col TPD Scott assumed command of 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade and Major BH Butler of 1 RIrF. Activity – normal.  The Sergeant of Patrol Magic died at 1 Field Ambulance during the morning.

1900 The CO attended a conference at HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade, the subject of which was the thinning out of the troops on the ground on the Brigade front and the withdrawal of 1 RIrF into counter attack reserve.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant Michael McDermott, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

1000 Conference. A quiet day up to dinner time but roads are wet.

Lt Hanna is taken as IO of force now under command of our Brigadier. Lt-Col Scott, 1 RIrF, now in command of the Brigade. Conference at Brigade for COs at 1900 hrs. CO goes in A/Tk portee. The only vehicle that will get through the mud is a portee. It is decided to have a reshuffle of bttns. It is decided to put A and B back on the Grandstand, C on West Hill and D to remain where they are.

A busy artillery night. Major Black, C Battery 152, is now with us vice Major Knox. Also Major Clarke of 504 Battery 140 Field Regiment. It is the first time that 140 Field have been in action anywhere in Tunisia.

Died on this Day:

Lieutenant Raymond Page, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


 2 LIR.

0200 Patrol ‘Tin’ to recce area farms 646113/642123 – nothing to report.

0230 Recce Patrol ‘Gold’ to 628124 – point 231 662 128 – farm 617112 – nothing to report.



22nd February

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

Patrols had no contact but there was considerable vehicle activity near pt 286.

Brigade Intelligence summary was issued, a description of the German Anti Personnel Mine appeared at Appendix B.

0045 Brigade OO No 12 was issued expressing intention “to carry out certain inter bttn reliefs night 22/23 Feb.”

0120 Received ‘Y’ Division message enjoining vigilance against parachutists.

2130 Order received from ‘Y’ Division about exclusive vehicle movement.


1 RIrF – GRANDSTAND HILL.

The other events of the night are recorded in detail in the Appendix.

0930 Bttn O Group assembled at Bttn HQ and the method of the relief of 1 RIrF was discussed, settled and published. Detail is given in Appendix.

1430 Three JU-87Bs dropped 6 bombs just outside Bttn HQ, the attack being immediately preceded by shellfire HE for diversion (?) and three smoke shells as aiming mark. No damage was done, though one man was slightly wounded by flying debris.

1640 Six JU-87Bs dropped 18 bombs in area 6307, again preceding their attack with HE and smoke shells.

1830 the moves outlined in Appendix started.


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

72 A/Tk Regiment move out without letting us or Brigade know during the night and then return.

1000 Usual conference on patrolling and tying up ends for inter coy moves.

B Coy are warned to move south with Divisional reserve force. There are only two officers in the coy at present and as both are an hours’ run from coy at bttn conference, there is some difficulty. Eventually it is decided to send a RIrF Coy. But not before this coy had started south. The coy is brought back but Coy Commander was forward doing some recce and it was some time later before he arrived back.

1600 Coordinating conference for changeover.

1630 Four enemy smoke shells – probably mortar land plumb in Bttn HQ area – one, within a yard of CO car and one 2 yards from orderly room. Immediately afterwards, the position was dive bombed by twelve planes, but the bombs fell a hundred yards to the east. The Carrier Platoon was also bombed and one fusilier was killed.

It is decided not to move C Coy. The coy of 1 RIrF will now take over West Hill from A Coy and C will remain in the farms on Bou Arada to Goubellat rd. We now have therefore four coys strung out east of rd Goubellat to Bou Arada with one coy RIrF in reserve for immediate counter attack, and the other two RIrF coys further back in reserve and resting.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier John Murphy, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

1030 Battalion HQ warned to move into wadi with HQ Company.

1425 Dive-bombing attacks by 6 Junkers 87 on area 6308. Bombing prefaced by mortar bomb ranging. One man wounded by mortar.

1500 One sergeant and one rifleman from Carrier Platoon kidnapped while drawing water at 633093. Rubber shoes used by enemy found nearby.

1640 Area wadi 6307 dive-bombed by 12 Jus 87. Area ranged by mortars. No casualties.

1900 Battalion HQ moved to Olive Grove 623076. H Company take over gully 6408 from 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and mountain standing patrol 647090. Observation Post at 592093 (Intelligence).

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Albert Fitzgibbon, London Irish Rifles.



23rd February

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

No movement was seen west of the main road but a recce patrol of 6 Innisks took a PW of A.24 at 668067 at 2100hrs.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued. This included a preliminary interrogation report on the PW of A.24 taken night 22/23 and a trace of the Brigade and bttn patrol boundaries and dispositions.

1045 CO of 6 Commando visited this HQ ref a project for 6 Commando to take over patrolling in mountains north of Brigade positions.

1215 Amendment to Brigade OO No 12 was issued.

An order was received from ‘Y’ Division on the defence of rear areas.


1 RIrF – REST AREA.

0215 The moves outlined in Appendix completed without incident or interference.

C Coy 1 RIrF under command 6 Innisks wef this date. So ended the phase 22 Jan-22 Feb, during which 1 RIrF held the strong point of Grandstand Hill


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

1100 Owing to the changeover last night, the patrolling conference was postponed until 1100 hrs. A and B Coys are sending out local recce patrols in front of our old position on Grandstand. C Coy will send out patrol to Gubaia. D Coy under Lt Curphey are to go and recce 286 with possible object of attacking it with a platoon in a day or two. It is discovered that all the A/Tk guns in the farms that C Coy are guarding have disappeared except for one.

These A/Tk gunners come and go without liaising – even with Brigade.

Our own officers found those enemy targets during the day, which we think were successfully engaged. A Coy found a gun position. Lt Dicker.. on Gubaia, and Fusilier May about a coy in Plough Top.


2 LIR.

1900 Recce Patrol ‘Plum’ to 650107 – point 217 659107 – Stop Farm – nothing to report.

1900 Recce Patrol ‘Apple’ to farm 617112 – nothing to report.



24th February

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

An officer’s recce patrol (including an SD officer) went out at 2000 hrs to recce pt 286 and the north end of Barka. It was later learned from a PW that this patrol was captured.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued including an account of L/Sgt McAleer’s exploit.

Brigade Commander went on to recce for Commander ‘Y’ Division south of El Aroussa.

0900 L/Sgt McAleer, 6 Innisks, went out to search for missing patrol and brought back two PWs of A.24 from pt 286.

1115 Enemy planes attacked road area 4198. This was the first case of road strafing reported in the area for about 2 months.

1600 Acting on the results of the interrogation, Platoon 6 Innisks made a successful sweep of pt 286, taking 8 PWs, and inflicting 20-30 casualties. A day patrol of 1 RIrF captured 3 PWs of I/HGJR in mountains to north.

A report of the day’s events appeared at Appendix 65.

An appreciation of enemy on ’Y’ Division front was received from Division.


1 RIrF – REST AREA.

Night quiet – move of Bttn HQ to Wadi 566047 completed without interference.

An account of the happenings of the night is given in the Appendix.

The events of this day are recorded in detail in the Appendix.


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

Lt Curphey, Lt Bokanowski, Special Detachment 5 Corps and 4 NCOs did not return from patrol last night. We are all sorry indeed to lose Lieut Curphey. He was a Canadian sent out for 3 months to gain experience from the Canadian forces in England. He was a born leader.

0915 OC D Coy received a letter from Sgt McAleer to say he had come out to see if he could find any trace of the patrol. It did not seem very hopeful that he would return from this errand.

0945 Sgt McAleer returned with two fusiliers and a machine gun. His report is attached.

The morning was spent investigating these two prisoners. They were of low morale. Talked freely and with the aid of Major Clarke the Gunner Officer who is an official weapons interrogator and our only German speaking officer we were able to find out all the dispositions of the enemy on pt 286. So much so, it was decided to put a platoon of D Coy over 286 this afternoon. It seemed that the morale of the enemy there was low.

A big artillery programme was fixed with 3 batteries of 25 pounders, mediums and heavies – 4.2” mortars and 3” mortars.

1430 Coordinating conference.

1630 Zero. Story of attack attached.

1730 The party was over and was a great success. Eight prisoners were taken and an estimated 30 killed. Own casualties were one wounded.

1830 Brigade Major arrives with half a bottle to celebrate the success and the Brigadier (Lt-Col Scott) rings up to congratulate us.

It is decided that the patrol programme shall be light tonight. He may be laying something up in store for us. CSM Kerr went off for interview re immediate commission during the morning.

Died on this Day:

Sergeant Ernest Reid, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

0140 Fighting Patrol Silver to farm 654129. Contacted enemy and put a machine gun out of action. Our own casualties were 2 wounded and 2 missing.

0140 Fighting patrol ‘Gold’ to Stop Farm – nothing to report.



25th February

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

No movement west of road or east of Grandstand, but a patrol to Farm 654129 was engaged by 2 MGs.

Intelligence Summary was issued. Appendix A was a further account with comments of 6 Innisks action on 24 Feb.

1430 Message was received from ‘Y’ Division that an Arab reported 500 men at 563091.

During the afternoon, Corps Commander and Commander ‘Y’ Division visited bttns. Brigade Commander made a further recce south to El Aroussa.


1 RIrF – REST AREA.

The night was quiet – nothing to report.

The activities and events of this day and overnight are recorded in detail in the Appendix.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier William Crocker, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Michael De Courcey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Max Blundell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Barney Needlestein, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

Usual conference at 1000 hrs to fix patrols.

1530 Nine Stukas dive bombed A Coy’s position. No damage of casualties.

1830 Enemy seen on pt 246 and 218 engaged by artillery.

2040 Trace and Parachute flares to our west.

2110 Plane flew over bttn area from east to west.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Anthony Maguire, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

1530 Twelve JU 87s dive bombed areas 645085 and 655072 and 620090 also bombs on wadi 640111/633/103. No casualties.