War Diaries – 6th February 1943

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA. 

Patrols to Barka, Mehallah, Greenpoint, W Hill, and Birrabal reported no sign of enemy.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued and the following conclusion drawn: “In estimating the results of last night’s patrols, the extreme darkness must be remembered. Therefore, Barka cannot be assumed entirely clearly, though present indications point to this conclusion.”

Information own troops was distributed to Bttns as Appendix B to above summary: “Following the withdrawal from Djebel Mansour and Djebel Allilica, the intention of 6 Armoured Division is to prevent any advance of enemy NW towards Bou Arada.”

During the day, no movement was seen west of the main road. The back areas showed the usual degree of activity.

1530 Brigade Order was issued for move of A Echelon to Olive Grove (5205). For some time it had been felt that the position of A Echelon at 5216 was exposed, an impression which was borne out by the event of 26 Feb.


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

Activity normal. Some enemy movement observed at Farm 640108 and two tanks at Cactus Farm 685087.

1330 CRA 6 Armoured Division lunched at HQ 1 RIrF and told the CO and some of his officers the story of the battle for Djebels Mansour and Allaliqa, which had been taking place south of Bou Arada 6301.

1630 Miss Virginia Cowles authoress of “Looking for Trouble” escorted by Commander, 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade took tea at Bttn HQ and was afterwards shown the ground in Grandstand Hill, occupied by 1 RIrF since 22 Jan ‘43.

6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

1000 CO holds conference ref patrols for the night. Davidson, who is staying out today, is returning via Mehallah. Barka and pt 286 after dark and recce anything he has seen during his watch.

Other points brought out at conference – don’t let routine lead to slackness – don’t be surprised – if attacked by tanks, stay in your hole – what measures have Coy ready for immediate action against tanks – 75 grenades only have them primed when tactical situation demands – case required where dumps of 75 grenades are made.

Major Bunch has busy day as President of 3 Court Martials at Brigade HQ. Fusilier Sandus of this unit is one of the accused and is tried for attempting to desert and W/D M/c and petrol for his own use – he is found guilty.

1800 CO goes to back to Brigade HQ for bath and 24 hrs rest.

During the afternoon, Brigadier brings round Virginia Cowles, the writer and newspaper correspondent, to see the Bttn. She also visits 1 RIrF and 2 LIR.

The fine weather has broken – a drizzly day. We must hope against hope we do not get a downpour or much rain as this gulley will not be inhabitable.

2 LIR.

1400 Patrol ‘Fisher’ to huts 617118 – nothing to report.

0900 Patrol ‘Nelson’ to farm 617112 – nothing to report.