War Diaries – 12th January 1943


Patrols were purely local and no contact was reported.

0100 Commander 1 RIrF was called to brigade HQ and received orders to recce area Bou Arada (6201) taking a Coy Commander to recce for probable attack on Hill 6809.

0155 Paybook and documents of Thomas Windhofer, 12 MG Coy Coy II/HGJR, were received from 2 LIR. A W/T identification was passed and the documents despatched at once to 6 Armoured Division.

Brigade Commander made recce of Medjez area with a view to the thrust NE by 6 Armoured Division.

On this day, there was considerable movement on the Brigade front of armoured cars, trucks and a few small groups of infantry. Farm 662173 continued to be active.

Intelligence summary for 12 Jan was issued, containing an account of Coy 2 LIR 11 Jan (Appendix 25).

1920 Two Coys 1 RIrF moved off from positions 6524 to Bou Arada.


0730 Adjutant returned bringing the information that 6 Innisks had successfully occupied the position and that two Coys 1 RIrF were to be at 2 hrs notice from 1700hrs to move south to take the hill feature 680090 (Two Tree Hill) concentrating first in area El Aroussa and that recce parties should be sent south immediately to a) concentration area for i) Two Coys, ii) the attack on Two Tree Hill.

1100 The CO, OC C Coy and..NCO of Carrier platoon moved off as a recce party.

1200 The recce party called at Brigade HQ, where it was decided to call OC D Coy up to make the recce of the attack with OC C Coy in day light.

1315 OC D Coy joined the party, OC C Coy and NCO of Carrier Platoon had already left to recce concentration areas in El Aroussa.

1445 The entire recce party arrived at 6 Innisks where CO 1 RIrF received orders from Commander 26 Armoured Brigade under whose command D and C Coys were to be. The.. had been changed. Two Coys 1 RIrF  as soon as possible after were to take over 6 Innisks positions and 6 Innisks were to attack Two Tree Hill at dawn 13 Jan. CO 1 RIrF accordingly arranged that D Coy under command C Coy should have also under command two MMG detachments, three detachments 3” mortars and two sections Carriers. He then tied up with CO 6 Innisks the handover and leaving C and D Coys to recce their area as laid in his orders, returned to HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade. D Coy was to take up position area 652078 and C Coy 645080. On re-arrival at Brigade HQ he a) instructed 2.i.c.1 RIrF to move the two Coys as soon as ready b) told him that there would be no concentrating at El Aroussa but that the force would move direct to Bou Arada, where OC C Coy would meet them and guide them to their positions and c) tied up the admin with the Staff Captain now that force was to be under command 26 Armoured Brigade.

1920 The force left Bttn area for Bou Arada.

Capt RM Cunningham posted to D Coy as 2.i.c. Capt JMO Barstow arrived and was posted to command HQ Coy.

6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

A busy day preparing for the attack tomorrow. Zero is fixed for 0545hrs 13 Jan ’43. It is not expected that a great deal of opposition will be met. Six reinforcement officers arrive posted to Coys as shown: Lt Hampson, HQ Coy 2 i.c. Weapons Platoon and Vickers MMGs, Lt Moorhouse to A, Lt Harland to B, Lt Dicker to C, Lt Dawson to D, Lt Uppington to Carrier Platoon.

All Coy and Platoon Commanders look at Two Tree Hill and go around it from C Coy area during the afternoon. Sgt Lloyd the ..Sgt goes out at dusk and recces track that will be the Bttn axis of advance.

CO has strenuous day tying up ends especially with the supporting arms and the heavy artillery programme that is laid on.

2200 CO holds conference for O Group and all supporting arms. This conference lasts for some time. CO went to Brigade for conference at 1800 hrs and does not get back until after 2200hrs. An appalling night. Thunderstorms and tropical downpours and gale. All roads became almost impassable with mud. The wind plays havoc with conference room. The lamps keep going out – blackout is impossible and the maps blow about the room. It is thought owing to the state of the ground, the attack may have to be postponed.

2 LIR.

1800 Lieutenant Lees and Lieutenant Rawlings and a patrol of carriers platoon and E Company go to fetch back wounded from point 663185.

Rifleman Donald Fraser, London Irish Rifles.