War Diaries – 25th January 1943

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

Artillery OP 589081 was raided by an enemy patrol strength 10, and the observing officer killed. On the Brigade front there was some tank movement and random MG fire and light cannon.

Area 6308 was shelled 0345 – 0415 hours.

Farm 672104 was reported quite strongly held. Valentine tank which had been used as enemy OP was destroyed at 661075.

1000 Details of the night’s attack, inclusion conclusion and a “General Picture of 38 Brigade front” are to be found at Appendix 52.

Brigade dispositions on this date are shown at Appendix 53.

1245 6 Armoured Division O.O. No 9 “6 Armoured Division will operate offensively against enemy’s Line of Control to the south.” Para 5 giving the role of the Irish Brigade is given at Appendix 54.

On this day, the Brigade boundary was extended to include F 647047 and 3 Grenadier Guards were ordered to take over this Farm from the French in Bou Arada.

1400 3 RAF Officers arrived for a short attachment to the Brigade. They were distributed to 3 Grenadier Guards, 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF.

1940 There had been considerable discussion since 18 Jan on the possibility of enemy occupying the high ground north west of the Brigade position and a message was received from 6 Armoured Division ordering steps to be taken to prevent this.

2100 An Italian lorry was blown up on minefield 648090 having approached, apparently lost, from north east along the road.  Identification gained was 31 Tank Battalion (Italian). Appeared to be a cook’s lorry.

2130 A deserter from Marsch Bttn A 24 gave himself up in gun lines (6306). He was taken to command post and interrogated by I.O. 3 Grenadier Guards.

2300 Brigade Intelligence Section returned to Farm 553025 and rejoined Brigade HQ.

2350 6 Innisks were ordered to provide standing patrols 649090 nightly.


The events of the night are given in the fullest detail in the Appendix.

Activity normal. Nothing to report.

6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.

0335 A, B and C Coy positions shelled. Cpl Sills and two ORs RE with 4.2” Mortar are killed.

0405 A and B report they are still being shelled, a smoke screen has been put down in front of their position and a tank can be heard.

0650 Mortar Officer reports a direct hit on his Mortar behind A Coy. This is where his two men were killed.

Owing to rain, skid chains were put on all vehicles during the night.

A quiet day. Slight shelling of position during evening.

0930 CO talks to Platoon Sergeants on general and local situation explains line of control 2000 miles long – value of shipping space – necessity of sabotage – patrol time of vital importance – strip  dead and wounded of fighting equipment. He told them that the strength of each side was about equal about 100000 men each but we have more artillery. Told them to look after reinforcements – to keep in their holes during shelling and be safe – patrols must stay out for the time ordered – self inflicted wounds must stop – we have had six cases recently. Up to NCOs to watch for suspicious cases. Rest – necessity of orgnisation. Booby traps use care.

1430 Coy Commanders’ Conference. Tells them Gunner OP was scuppered during the night in the hills behind us – no signaller will validate a message on W/T without authority of an officer – explains position and doings of troops around the Bttn areas – Coys to have tank busting parties always ready. Lt Daly and 4.2” mortar Officer Lt Hagan to re-site 4.2” Mortars and report to CO – Rest must be organised better. It has been decided to start a Bttn rest centre at A Echelon. Baths – see everyone has one in well near D Coy positions.  Bttn must always be prepared to move at short notice – don’t get too dug in and immobile. Coys to have two or three vehicles in Coy area – MTO to truck them during the next 48 hrs.

1530 Staff Captain O’Farrell calls and asks if we have any queries. …used on orders last night will be replaced today.

Corporal Albert Sills, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0400 Enemy shelling. Shells again fall in F Company area – no damage.

1000 1 officer reinforcement (attached Canadian).

2130 16 Platoon H Company proceed to hill 683 to protect C Battery Royal Horse Artillery.

2330 17 Platoon H Company proceed to area 5808 to patrol and stop suspected enemy infiltrations. Two natives in party.

Lance Corporal George Slocombe, London Irish Rifles.