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Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 21st to 25th February 1944


21st February

Brigade HQ.

Training and recreation. Little news from the Cassino front and from the bridgehead. No change in our disposition.


1 RIrF.

Platoon training.


6 Innisks – BELLONA.

Weather fine overcast. Visibility good. Wind light.

A Coy went on a coy exercise using 38 wireless sets, with two sets of mortars attached. Other coys carried out section training and platoon schemes.

FFI inspections, road ‘walk and run’, lectures etc.

1120 The new Brigade Commander Brigadier TPD Scott DSO visited the bttn and stayed to lunch, when he was introduced to all officers.

The under mentioned officers have been promoted to war substantive rank of Lieutenant wef today: 2/Lieuts JV Sorrel-Walker MM, LJ Greene, BN Jackson.

CSM RP Whitfield will take over CSM of A Coy on the posting of CSM Stevenson to Rear Division HQ.

A boxing match was held against the 1 RIrF – as usual we lost by 16pts to 14.


2 LIR.

0630 Morning dry and sunny.

0900 Officers lecture by CO with aid of Sand table and model tanks.

Subject “The use of infantry in conjunction with tanks.”

1700 CO’s Office.

1730 CO’s Conference for Bttn Exercise tomorrow. CO and 2 i/c to be umpires. Major Woods MC i/c Enemy. Major Phillips to be CO of bttn for purpose of Exercise.

1800 Bttn Guard provided by S Company.

Weather:- Dry and sunny with moderate breeze.



22nd February

Brigade HQ.

1800 Brigade Commander to confirm at 78 Divisional HQ. Future operation discussed. 11 Brigade to relieve 2 NZ Divisional Cavalry to allow division to concentrate further north.

Attacks by 4 Indian Division and 2 NZ Division on Cassino to go in at 1400hrs on 24 February preceded by 1500 ton bombing raid of Cassino defences.


1 RIrF.

Platoon training.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – BELLO

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind light.

B Coy carried out the same exercise as set for A Coy on 21 February. Other coys went on the range and carried out normal training.

Shrove Tuesday was celebrated by the issue of pancakes in all messes.

The Battle Platoon has reformed under the command of Lieut FJ Walker MM.

A whist drive was held with great success. The padre was disappointed in not winning the booby prize.


2 LIR.

0630 Morning dry and clear.

0715 Bttn Exercise. Forming up point (FUP) at area 192838 H Company on right with F Company in support and G Company on left with E Company in support.

Lateral distances between companies 300 yards. Squadron of Sherman tanks represented by 15 Bren carriers. Object of exercise to practise attack by infantry supported by tanks.

0800 All Companies in position in FUP. TAC HQ in rear of companies.

0810 G and H Companies over start line followed by E & F Companies and TAC HQ.

1100 Exercise ends. Brigadier visited ground during exercise.

1200 CO’s Conference with Officers and Section Commanders to discuss points brought out in Exercise. Points emphasized:-

1) The importance of passing back information when enemy positions encountered, giving exact position, strengths and steps being taken to deal with same.

2) Passing back to Tank Commanders of information as to Anti-Tank obstacles not already known and of any mines observed.

3) Tanks not to be allowed to remain in exposed positions.

4) Whole Company not to be held up by isolated enemy positions, but Platoon or section left to deal with same while rest of Company moves on.

1500 Inter-company football matches.

S Company 4 E Company 1

HQ 2 G Company 1

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Company.

1815 CO’s Office.

1830 CO’s Conference.

Weather:- dry and sunny.



23rd February

Brigade HQ.

Rain during the afternoon and evening. May hamper future operations. Extremely heavy rain during late evening. Training areas allotted to bttns.

Directive on training sent out to bttns by Brigadier.

11 Brigade move to positions south of Cassino. 1 East Surreys take over front line defences.


1 RIrF.

Platoon training.

Died on this Day:

23rd February 1944 – Fusilier Percy Todd, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – BELLONA.

Weather wet. Visibility fair. Wind fresh.

D Coy carried out coy scheme with support group as set for A and B Coys.

Other coys carried out normal training including route marches and road ‘Run and Walk’. Lieut-Colonel BL Bryar relinquishes command of the bttn and Lieut-Colonel HEN Bredin MC takes over command.

Personnel from Ireland and scenes of the bttn including a bathing scene were taken by army photographers.


2 LIR.

0630 Morning dull and cloudy.

0930 RC Church Service at Bellona (Ash Wednesday).

1100 Rain commences.

1200 Lt Colonel Jeffreys visit bttn.

1500 CO’s Office.

1530 CO’s Conference.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by F Company.

Major HEN Bredin MC & Bar promoted local Lt Col and appointed to command 6 Innisks.

Major Heidenstam (1 RIrF) appointed 2 i/c 2/LIR

Weather: raining since 1100 hrs.



24th February

Brigade HQ.

Training and recreation.

Col Bryar, Commander 6 Innisks posted from bttn. Major HEN Bredin MC and Bar, 2.i.c. 2 LIR take over command of the battalion.  Major PCS Heidenstam assumes 2.i.c of 2 LIR.


1 RIrF.

Platoon training.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.


6 Innisks – BELLONA.

Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind fresh.

0900 The CO inspected all billets.

The coys carried out normal training including defence and attack schemes, route marches etc.

1200 A lecture was given to the bttn by the ADMS 78 Division on VD.

1730 A CO training conference is to be held daily while in this area.

1830 A bttn concert is held with great success.

1900 The Brigade Major visited the CO with reference to training with assault boats.

An assault boat training timetable is issued. Training Instructions No 1.

A church army canteen has been opened in Bellona.

The new RSM arrived today, RSM B Slattery, on the departure of RSM Reilly.


2 LIR.

0630 Morning dry and breezy.

1200 CO’s Office.

1230 CO’s Conference.

1400 Inter-Brigade Sports at 1 RIrF. Football ground.

Events 100 yards, 220 yards, 440 yards. 1 mile, long jumps high jump, tug-o-war.

Result. 2/LIR. 24 points. 1 RIrF 23 points, 6 Innisks 22 points.

Brigadier present.

Combined bands of all three bttns gave performance. All events keenly contested but ground very sodden.

1700 CO’s Office. Bttn HQ Guard supplied by H Company.

1800 Weather:- Light showers during morning and afternoon. Heavy rain since 1630.



25th February

Brigade HQ.

1 RIrF practise river crossings in assault boats. Brigade Commander to 78 Division HQ at Mignano 9812 for conference. 36 Brigade recce parties move to Divisional concentration area at Mignano. 36 Brigade to concentrate on 26 Feb in Divisional area. Brigade sports meeting. Result: 2 LIR, 1 RIrF, 6 Innisks. 1 pt difference between each bttn.


1 RIrF.

Platoon training.


6 Innisks – BELLONA.

Weather overcast – showery, visibility fair, wind fresh.

B Coy carried out a pillbox assault using live ammunition. There was one casualty from shrapnel from a PIAT bomb. Other coys carried out assault boat training route marches etc.

1730 The CO’s Training Conference is held.

1740 The Brigadier visited the bttn.

1900 Coys carried out schemes including recce patrols.

Lieut RB Miles is transferred from B to HQ Coy and appointed MTO.

A brigade sports meeting was held in the afternoon, many men and officers attended.

A number of officers and men of the 2nd Bttn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers visited this bttn most of them having been with the bttn before.



 

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