War Diaries – 11th to 15th February 1944

11th February


Advance parties 78 Division HQ arrive in Campobasso. Roads cleared to D Support Group. Most of divisional moves to rest areas displayed by clocked roads. 56 Recce moved up to Agnone.

1 RIrF.

Training. Snow.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – BUSSO.

Weather: snow and sleet, visibility poor, wind strong.

Bttn continued to carry out indoor training, weapon training, lectures etc.

A Coy held a ‘sing song’, a good time was had by all.

2/Lieut Wilkie gave his coy a lecture on mules, which they found interesting.

B Coy held an inter platoon quiz, which caused intense competition.

2 LIR.

0630 Continued thaw during night.

1200 CO’s Office.

1300 Leave parties proceed to Campobasso.

1800 Bttn HQ guard supplied by F Company (Duty Company).

1900 Leave parties return from Campobasso.

Weather:- Thaw continued throughout the day with frequent showers of rain and sleet.

12th February


Training carried out by bttns. Brigade at 12 hours’ notice to move.

1 RIrF.


6 Innisks – BUSSO.

Weather: overcast, visibility fair, wind fresh.

The Bttn carried out training, weapon training, compass instruction lectures etc.

1330 A leave party left for the ‘Gazelle Club’ in Campobasso on short notice.

2/Lieut B Jackson assumes the appointment of a Bttn Sports Officer during the absence on duty of Lieut CD Beard.

Lieut AJ Wilton re-joined this unit and is posted to C Coy.

2 LIR.

0630 Weather dry and frosty.

1200 CO’s Office.

1300 Leave parties proceed to Campobasso.

1800 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Company (Duty Company).

1900 Bttn at 12 hours’ notice to move.

2000 Leave parties return from Campobasso.

Weather:- Dry and bright, no further snow locally no appreciable thaw.

13th February


11 Brigade to Castelnouva area less 2 LF. 36 Brigade remain present locations. Roads still bad and some main roads still partially blocked.

1 RIrF.

Training. Cloudy.

6 Innisks – BUSSO.

Weather fine and cold. Visibility good, Wind light.

Today was declared a bttn holiday and there were no parades.

0930 Voluntary church services were held for C of Es and RCs.

1100 Thirty men per coy went to Campobasso for the day.

1400 A Bttn O Group was held, something in the wind, it looks as if 13 is an unlucky number. We now learn that we are under 12 hours’ notice to move to an unknown destination.

A Coy held another ‘sing song’, and D Coy a concert.

2 LIR.

0700 Weather. No change during night.

1000 Voluntary C of E & RC Church services.

1300 Leave parties proceed to Campobasso.

1800 Bttn HQ Guard provided by S Company (Duty Company).

1830 Regimental concert given in local theatre. Very good show.

1930 Leave parties return from Campobasso.

Sports Conference held by 2 i/c to arrange for participation in brigade boxing competition.

Weather:- Day dry and cold. No appreciable thaw.

14th February


1100 Warning order received for the brigade to move to Alife H2803 the following, under command 38 Brigade: D Support Group 1 Kensingtons, 17 Field Regiment RA, 254 A/Tk Battery RA, 280 LAA Battery RA, 214 Field Company RE, 152 Field Ambulance, 294 Coy RASC, Section Ord Field Park, Pro Section 78 Division, Section 78 Division MBU.

1400 OO order and march table N0 15 issued.

1 RIrF.

1230 Verbal warning order from Brigade for move.  Purpose and destination unknown.  Advance parties ready to move at once.  Main body not to move before 0830 hrs 15 Feb.

1530 Received 38 Brigade 039 warning order for move.

1800 Verbal warning order from Brigade.  Main body moves 1030 hrs 15 Feb.

2045 Received 28 Brigade March Table No 15 (Appendix).

2130 Adv party left for Alife 2803.

2159 Issued March Table No 3 (Appendix).

6 Innisks – BUSSO.

Weather fine and cold. Visibility fair, wind fresh.

The Bttn spent the day packing up and preparing for the move.

1400 A talk was given by the CO to all ranks about the spreading of rumours and the proposed move

1530 A warning order was issued for an advance party.

1700 The Bttn Entertainments’ Officer held a conference, representatives from each coy attended.

1800 A meeting was held by the Sports Officer.

1830 The padre gave instruction in the Italian language.

2045 The advance party under the 2.i.c. left for the new area.

2359 A Bttn O Group was held to complete details for the move and a movement order was issued.

36 TCVs arrived during the day for the move.

2 LIR.

0630 No change of weather during night.

1200 CO’s Office.

1300 Warning order Advance party to rendezvous crossroads at 2300 hrs today and report to Major Holmes 1 RIrF.

1800 CO’s Conference.

2200 34 x 3-tonners arrive from RASC to move.

2215 Advance party under 2 i/c leave Baranello.

Weather:- Dry and cold throughout the day.

15th February


0800 Brigade column moves from Campobasso area to Alife H2803. Location of Division concentration area now changed. Brigade group to go to Villa Volturno N1884 near Capua 1878.

2100 Brigade established except for D Support Group and 152 Field Ambulance still on route. 

1 RIrF.

0900 Verbal instruction from Brigade Major to cross SP half an hour earlier than time stated in written order.

1000 Head past Battalion SP.

1035 Head past Brigade SP.

1500 Head at Brigade DP.  No signs of guides. Enquiry from Provost elicited the information that Division was gone north of R. Volturno near Capua (N1778). Route road junction N2597 – Caiazzo N3086 road junction N2

1655 Head arrived N188801 where Battalion was to concentrate 18812.

1715 Tail arrived. All vehicles except pioneer ammunition truck and HQ Coy 3 tonner. Weather mild and coys had about one bivouac tent for every 3 men.  Battalion at 6 hrs notice.

1945 Visited by Brigade Commander (Brigadier Nelson Russell DSO MC) who estimated our stay in present location at least 4 or 5 days.

2300 Message from Brigade giving their location Vitulazio N1884 and Admin details (Appendix).

6 Innisks – BUSSO.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

0005 Admin Order No 10 issued in conjunction with the Movement Order 14 Feb 1944.

0500 Reveille.

0800 The bttn was em-bused and ready to move, the column started on its way at 0820. It was a long and pretty weary journey and at the last moment our destination was changed.

2 LIR.

0600 Reveille. Morning dry.

0800 Bttn em-bused and lined up for move to new area.

0815 Convoy proceeds past start point. Route via Isernia, Capriatti and Caizzo.

1630 Convoy arrives in new area at 1983 near Villa Volturno. Accommodated in farmhouses and buildings and bivouacs. Original destination was the town of Santa Maria where billets had been arranged by 2 i/c and advance party. At 1400 hrs orders received altering destination to area 1983. Journey without incident.

1800 CO’s O Group. Bttn at six hours’ notice for further move.

1900 Brigadier and Brigade IO visit Bn HQ.

2000 Brigade HQ established at Bellona also 6 Innisk. 1 RIrF at 186806.

Weather:- Day dry but cold, roads clear of snow except in Baranello area. No sign of snow past or present in new area.